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Liverpool star Ryan Gravenberch’s daring decision pays off as Reds survive LASK scare

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Liverpool star Ryan Gravenberch's daring decision pays off as Reds survive LASK scare

Jurgen Klopp’s side were given a tough time in Austria on Thursday night.

Liverpool were forced to come from behind to notch a 3-1 win over LASK and get their Europa League campaign off to a winning start. Jurgen Klopp was a relieved man on the touchline as his much-changed side eventually came up trumps, with Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah rendering Florian Flecker’s early stunner little more than a memorable consolation.
With three points on the board for the Reds, Express Sport takes you through four key talking points from their European opener..

All eyes were on the Dutchman as Klopp handed him his first start for the Reds. Before the game, the Liverpool boss said that it was time to let the former Bayern Munich midfielder ‘out of his cage’ after signing for £34million this summer.

Shortly after his arrival on Merseyside, Gravenberch made the daring decision to refuse a call-up to play for Netherlands U21. It didn’t go down well with everyone, but the youngster was keen to hit the ground running at his new club.

And it’s just as well that he made the gutsy call. Despite several sharp touches, Gravenberch’s ring rust was obvious in the early exchanges, and it was clear that he is not yet on the same wavelength as his team-mates.

He was then rewarded for his hard work by making a good run into the channel and crossing in for Luis Diaz to put the visitors ahead. After a rollercoaster performance, Klopp will hope that an injury scare in the closing stages is not too serious.

Darwin Nunez was given only his second start of the season against LASK, with Klopp hoping that the Uruguayan would call on his taste for European football, having scored four in his past five continental games prior to kick-off.

Nunez eventually made it five in six by drawing Liverpool level from the penalty spot, but it could have been an even better night for the 24-year-old, who spooned one header over the crossbar early on and saw another palmed away by the goalkeeper from point-blank range.

Klopp may think twice

On paper, the trip to Austria should have been a walk in the park for Klopp and his Liverpool side. The German knew it, too, making no fewer than 11 changes from the weekend’s Premier League win over Wolves.

The selection shake-up very nearly backfired, however, as the Reds were behind until well into the second period. An unbeaten streak dating back to April 1 was almost ended in unlikely circumstances, and Klopp may think twice about making wholesale changes for the remainder of his side’s Europa League group-stage matches.

Doak proves his manager right

Teenage sensation Ben Doak was given his first competitive Liverpool start on Thursday, becoming the fourth-youngest player to represent the Reds in Europe. Before the game, Klopp said that the 17-year-old is terrific in one-on-one situations, but still has plenty to learn in other areas of his game.

And so it proved, as Doak came racing out of the blocks against LASK, jinking past defenders and firing in dangerous low crosses. But it was far from a faultless performances. The youngster was occasionally too slow to get the pass or shot away, and his effectiveness dried up as the game wore on before he was withdrawn in the second half.

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