Predicting Liverpool’s starting XI to face LASK

After four wins on the spin in the Premier League, Liverpool prepare to start their European campaign away to LASK this Thursday.

A trip to Austria for their first outing in the Europa League since losing the 2016 final is not the way Jurgen Klopp and co would like to keep off continental proceedings in 2023/24, but the Reds are in for the ride now so they might as well enjoy it.

After all, it's a ride that comes with opportunities for more great European nights and another trophy.

As the team with the highest UEFA coefficient in the tournament this season, Liverpool are seen as big favourites to make it across the Irish Sea to Dublin for the final in May.

Even Klopp seems to have caught Europa fever, promising that he will pick a 'top team' on both Thursdays and Sundays, rather than resting stars and giving the kids a runout mid-week in order to save energy for domestic affairs.

READ MORE: LASK vs Liverpool – Match Preview

The Reds have a pretty clean bill of health ahead of the trip to Austria, meaning Klopp can put his money where his mouth is with his selection this Thursday.

Let's take a look at how Liverpool could line up against LASK.

Options at the back

Kostas Tsimikas

Finally, Klopp has actual choices to make with regard to his backline.

Liverpool will be able to play captain Virgil van Dijk for the first time since facing Newcastle on 27 August. Not only is the Dutchman's extended ban now complete, but it wouldn't have impacted his ability to feature in a European competition anyway.

Ibrahima Konate got minutes at the end of Liverpool's win over Wolves as he continues his comeback from a hamstring injury and could be in contention here, though Trent Alexander-Arnold is unlikely to be rushed back, with the visit of West Ham on Sunday a more likely return date.

READ MORE: Who are LASK? Opposition analysis ahead of Liverpool's Europa League opener

Joe Gomez is, therefore, set to continue his role at right back, with Jarell Quansah – fresh from an impressive showing in his first senior start at the weekend – vying with Joel Matip to be the other centre back.

Kostas Tsimikas could get his first start of 2023/24 if stand-in captain Andy Robertson is rested following his late heroics at Molineux.

Klopp's comments this week about fielding a strong Europa League lineup could mean Alisson will start over Caoimhin Kelleher, who is yet to play a minute of 2023/24.

Gravenberch debut?

Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones

The midfield is perhaps the area most likely to see serious rotation, with options aplenty for Klopp to consider and Thiago the only known injury issue.

Stefan Bajcetic is fit again after making his debut for the Spain Under-21 side during the international break (albeit at centre-back) and could well come in at the base of the midfield for his first Liverpool appearance since March, though Wataru Endo is another possibility for that role.

Harvey Elliott, who has impressed in cameos so far in 2023/24, could take the place of Dominik Szoboszlai, while Ryan Gravenberch could get his first start for Liverpool, having only entered the field against Wolves in the final moments.

Curtis Jones, who became only the third academy graduate since Steven Gerrard to make 100 Liverpool appearances, is also in contention.

18-year-old Bobby Clark may be one to watch out for in the Europa League this year and, but he won't feature on Thursday having played for the Under-21s in the EFL Trophy this week.

Doak or No-ak?

PRESTON, ENGLAND - Monday, August 7, 2023: Liverpool's Ben Doak during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and SV Darmstadt 98 at Deepdale. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Europa League has been optimistically viewed by many fans as the competition where 17-year-old Scotland starlet Ben Doak will be unleashed. Whether the exciting winger – who penned a new long-term contract this Tuesday – is thrown straight in at LASK is something only Klopp knows. Even if Doak doesn't start, he should get time off the bench.

READ MORE: What Ben Doak's impressive Scotland Under-21s debut might mean for Liverpool

Beyond that, it's likely to be any two from the usual five.

It was subs Darwin Nuñez and Luiz Diaz who came on and helped change the game for Liverpool against Wolves on Saturday, having initially been benched following their late arrivals back from international duty in South America. Their dynamism against a side more ready to soak up pressure and play for a point may be preferred to the talents of Cody Gakpo and Diogo Jota, while Mohamed Salah just might be rested with some pretty crucial-looking games on the horizon.

Predicted Liverpool starting XI to face LASK:

(4-3-3) Alisson; Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Bajcetic, Elliot, Gravenberch; Doak, Nuñez, Diaz.

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