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Liverpool 4-0 LASK: Reds win Europa League group as Mohamed Salah hits 199 goals

199 and counting: Salah will soon hit the 200-goal mark for Liverpool (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
199 and counting: Salah will soon hit the 200-goal mark for Liverpool (Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Liverpool eased into the Europa League knockout stages as group winners with a routine over LASK on Thursday night.

While the loss to Toulouse before the international break raised the distant worry of some jeopardy in progressing from Group E, early goals from Luis Diaz and Cody Gakpo set the Reds back on course.

After taking such an early lead, Jurgen Klopp’s side proved wasteful and were somewhat fortunate LASK lacked any kind of quality in the final third. When they did manage to stretch the Liverpool backline, they fluffed their lines all too often.

Mohamed Salah, who seemed desperate to get on the scoresheet, finally found the back of the net with a second-half penalty. Gakpo had chased down a poor touch to beat LASK goalkeeper Tobias Lawal to the ball and was duly felled before Salah stepped up.

Gakpo added a late fourth, finishing emphatically after a brilliant ball from Trent Alexander-Arnold. With Diogo Jota injured, the Dutchman offered a reminder of his quality ahead of the packed festive fixture schedule.

That spot-kick took the Egyptian to 199 goals for the club, which was perhaps the only truly notable moment of what was otherwise a routine victory.

With Toulouse drawing in Belgium against Union SG, the Anfield giants know they cannot be overtaken on the final matchday.

The fact it means they avoid another game in the competition will be a major positive to Klopp, who can afford to rest players for the trip to Union SG next month for their final group stage game. While he had confirmed he was prepared to take this competition seriously before a ball was kicked, the idea of playing in the round of 32 all while managing a Premier League title push may have made that difficult.

Instead, Liverpool are bound for the round of 16 and a trip to Dublin for the final could well await.