Jurgen Klopp praised the performance of his young players as Liverpool qualified for the Europa League knockout stages with a comfortable 4-0 win against LASK at Anfield.
Quickfire goals from Luis Diaz and Cody Gakpo inside the first 15 minutes gave the Austrian side a mountain to climb before Mohamed Salah’s penalty after the break and a second from Gakpo sealed the result.
LASK looked bright in spells as their away support roared them on throughout the game but they lacked the quality to hurt Liverpool, who topped the group thanks to Toulouse’s draw with Union Saint-Gilloise.
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There were nine changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Manchester City last weekend with Caoimhín Kelleher and Jarell Quansah among those to come in, and both players were singled out by their manager.
“Jarell played a super game,’” said Klopp.
“It couldn’t be better news for us. Before this season people said we should buy a centre-half but we knew we had Jarell. Did we know he would show up like this? Not exactly, but we were pretty hopeful.
“The future’s bright. He’s calm on the ball, good in challenges, quick and ruthless in the right moments. Besides Caoimhín with one or two saves he had the most spectacular defensive moments and saved our backsides in some moments.
“We made changes (in the second half) and lost a little bit of rhythm, Caoimhín had to work for his clean sheet but the performance was really good. The thing I didn’t like is that the game should have been put to bed (before half-time) but there were a lot of positives in the game.”
Liverpool also received a boost ahead of the busy festive schedule as youngsters Conor Bradley and Luke Chambers came off the bench for their first appearances of the season following lengthy spells out with injury.
“It’s a pure joy to see them back in training,” Klopp said. “In that age group we have super talents, we saw it again tonight. Really smart, brave, good footballers.
“Luke came back after a long injury and is getting better and better, Kaide Gordon is back after a long injury spell and looks super in training.
“It’s our job to give the boys, not just with words but with actions, opportunities to make the next step. If we can do things like this then we will.”
Liverpool are back in Premier League action on Sunday as they welcome Fulham to Anfield ahead of a week in which they play three games in six days.