Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits they have not had time to properly assess where World Cup-winner Alexis Mac Allister fits into their side.

The Argentina midfielder has started all seven of the club’s Premier League fixtures since arriving from Brighton in a cut-price £35million deal, but has been deployed in the nominal holding role after the departures of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho to Saudi Arabia left them short in that department.

Mac Allister has shown he is far more effective further forward in one of the attacking midfield positions, and while he has done a job for Klopp, it appears unlikely he is the long-term solution.

He was even substituted at half-time of the win at Wolves, having flown back from Bolivia after the international break after looking well off the pace.

Nevertheless Klopp is satisfied with what he has had from the 24-year-old so far.

“We didn’t even look for his best position yet. We just use him,” he said.

“He is a fantastic player, I love everything about him: super-smart tactically and off the pitch as well, so that is really nice to work with.

“If we as a team defend well, he can play definitely the number six. Did I know that before? I had a guess but I was not sure because I did not know exactly how all the other boys would do defending.

“Because we defend more compact and better than in our bad phases last year, we have small spaces and then it is really good because he sees the situations really well.

“We have a really good footballer and it is really cool but best position? He is too young for me to know it but he is a midfielder, I can tell you that.

“He is a midfielder and I am happy about having him.”

Mac Allister is one-third of a midfield rebuild this summer with Dominik Szobozslai the other mainstay after his £60m arrival from RB Leipzig.

Forward Cody Gakpo, another new signing Wataru Endo – the one genuine number six in the squad – and Curtis Jones have filled the other space in midfield in Premier League matches this season.

However, the gradual emergence of Ryan Gravenberch, a deadline-day arrival from Bayern Munich, points towards the 21-year-old staking a claim to be the third man alongside Mac Allister and Szobozslai, who are destined to be locked in for the long term.

The Dutchman scored his first goal in the 2-0 Europa League victory over Union Saint Gilloise as his integration into the side – he has started three non-Premier League games but has only been a substitute at weekends – continues to grow apace.

For a relative youngster, Gravenberch has a certain presence on the pitch and Klopp expects him to grow further with more experience.

“Raw power – I am not sure a lot of people would have described him in the past like that,” said the manager.

“He is technically incredibly good. The first touch is insane, the speed is top class, really good shooter.

“Yes he came late and yes we play slightly different and yes he needs time to adapt, and that is what we can give him, thank God.

“He is completely happy with that and in the groove; he realises in each training sessions he is treated completely like others, if he starts or not.

“He gets even more information in specific moments. He can see what the other boys do in similar positions, he can watch it, he learns, he is a smart boy, everything goes in the right direction and that is really nice to see.

“He has had assists in the other games and now he has his first goal. Now it is good, long may it continue, he is very important for us.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed Ryan Gravenberch’s “obvious talent” as the midfielder paved the way for the 2-0 win over Union Saint-Gilloise with his first goal for the club.

The Netherlands international, a £34million summer signing from Bayern Munich, made only his third start of the season and after impressing in the first European outing another all-round performance was capped with what he described as “the easiest goal of my career”.

Gravenberch capitalised on an error from goalkeeper Anthony Moris, who fumbled Trent Alexander-Arnold’s shot to present a tap-in for the 21-year-old a minute before half-time.

It was a crucial goal as Liverpool had wasted a number of chances prior to that and although they were rarely in trouble Diogo Jota’s goal in added time at the end of the second half secured a second successive Europa League victory.

“It is really obvious how good he is, the talent he is,” said Klopp of a player who arrived on transfer deadline so has had to be gradually introduced to English football with three Premier League substitute appearances.

“He is enjoying the situation and it is very important the confidence back, that is really good to see.

“We thought he might be able to play 90 (minutes), we wanted to give him 90 but we saw he dropped a bit so that’s why we took him off.”

Jota responded to Saturday’s sending off for two yellow cards – which means he is suspended for Sunday’s trip to Brighton – with his fourth goal of the season.

“How should he deal with it? I knew it would be difficult. That (controversial defeat to Tottenham) is long ago and we are over that and Diogo is over it as well. We are not children.

“From a focus point of view, it was not a problem to focus on the game, in the game it was a problem to keep being focused because that was how it looked a little bit.

“We got a bit sluggish, I didn’t like that too much but that was nothing to do with the last game or the last week. That’s the challenge in football any way.”

Two successive wins puts Liverpool two points clear at the top of Group E and victory over Toulouse, two points behind, in three weeks’ time would put them on the verge of qualification for the knockout stages.

But it was far from the sort of free-flowing performance seen by the side this season as they missed a number of chances and then started to lose their way in the second half.

“(I liked) the start and the result. The goals, the chances we created. What I didn’t like is we lost rhythm after 25 minutes,” Klopp added.

“It’s very difficult to keep rhythm in games like this but it’s important. We should have scored earlier but got the second in stoppage time.

“We should use our chances better more often if we want to be successful in competitions but I’m not angry or concerned, it’s just how it is. We know we have to do better.

“It was a mature professional performance, we got the result we wanted but know we can do better.”

Union coach Alexander Blessin knew his side were up against it before a ball was even kicked but was disappointed they did not gain more confidence from keeping their hosts at bay for almost the entire first half.

“In the end I’m proud of the team, but we saw the strength of Liverpool,” he said.

“I had the feeling that the game changed (after Liverpool’s start) and in those moments you need it to go your way.”

Ryan Gravenberch benefited from an error by Union Saint-Gilloise goalkeeper Anthony Moris to score his first goal for the club as Liverpool laboured to a 2-0 Europa League victory to maintain their 100 per cent record in Group E.

For all the attacking firepower at their disposal – and it was considerable with Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota boasting 248 goals between them – it was a 21-year-old former Ajax and Bayern Munich midfielder who had scored just nine in five years who popped up with the breakthrough at a crucial moment a minute before half-time.

That two of the front three were replaced at the interval was more down to a prepared plan rather than a reflection of their first-half contributions but if either had been anywhere close to their sharpest the game would have been out of sight before Gravenberch’s intervention.

Jota remained on for the whole game and scored the second with a breakaway in added time to ease any late nerves.

Salah’s first Europa League start for the club would have led to speculation about just how much devastation he could inflict, especially after his 16-minute cameo in their first European game produced a goal, an assist and a couple of other chances.

In his 150th game at Anfield he should have added to the 103 he has scored already on this ground as early as the fifth minute.

The excellent young centre-back Jarrell Quansah, deputising for rested captain Virgil van Dijk, won the ball high in midfield and released the Egypt international through the middle but he could not beat the goalkeeper.

It was the beginning of a long list of chances ultimately concluded by Gravenberch’s close-range effort and while Liverpool never looked in any real danger after Gustaf Nilsson had headed over Union’s best midway through the first half until the latter stages the game was more of a grind than it should have been.

Nunez’s 10th-minute rebound goal from Gravenberch’s shot was flagged offside and, on this occasion, UEFA’s VAR officials swiftly made the correct call.

A video replay only increased the Uruguay international’s embarrassment with his next effort, however, as he screwed wide from six yards having opted to go with his right instead of left foot for Salah’s cross after Harvey Elliott had carried ball effortless through the Union midfield.

A weak Salah header straight at the goalkeeper, a Jota penalty claim turned down and a Nunez shot tipped around the near post from Ibrahima Konate’s diagonal pass all followed as chances came and went.

After all just about withstanding all that in-your-face pressure Union were undone from their own attacking corner as captain-for-the-night Trent Alexander-Arnold broke down the left, cut inside on his right foot and drilled in a low shot which bounced in front of Moris.

It was not the most vicious of strikes and the Luxembourg international should have done better than to spill the ball a couple of yards in front of him.

It was all the encouragement Gravenberch needed and he popped home the rebound from close range.

A triple half-time substitution brought an end to the participation of the misfiring Salah and Nunez and also midfielder Wataru Endo as Jurgen Klopp sent on Luis Diaz, Curtis Jones and Alexis Mac Allister – who was made to wait 45 minutes to face his brother Kevin in the opposition defence.

After an early scare when Alisson Becker missed his punch at a corner and almost turned the ball into his own net only for Quansah to sweep up behind him.

Moris tipped over a Jota header and did even better denying Gravenberch a second from a curling shot and even when he was beaten by Diaz his left-hand post came to his aid, while Jones narrowly missed the target with a low shot.

Jota’s goal made the game safe and victory over Toulouse, two points behind, at Anfield in three weeks will go a long way to securing qualification to the knockout stages but Liverpool cannot afford to be so sloppy if they want to enjoy comfortable progress.

Former FIFA referee Duarte Gomes has leapt to the defence of VAR amid the furore surrounding Liverpool's Premier League defeat to Tottenham, calling the technology's introduction "the best thing to happen to football". 

The use of VAR is a hot topic in the English top flight again after Luis Diaz was incorrectly denied a goal in Liverpool's 2-1 loss to in-form Spurs.

Darren England – the VAR official on duty at the time – misunderstood the on-field call to chalk the goal off for offside, inadvertently clearing an incorrect decision.

Liverpool have reacted furiously to the incident, which played a part in their first defeat of the season, with boss Jurgen Klopp suggesting the game should be replayed on Wednesday.

However, Gomes – a retired Portuguese referee who officiated in FIFA and UEFA competitions between 2002 and 2016 – says the ability of those using the technology is the issue, not the technology itself.

Speaking to Stats Perform at the Thinking Football Summit, Gomes admitted officials were still adapting to the technology but said it had already righted "thousands" of incorrect decisions.

"I don't have the slightest doubt that it's the best thing that's happened to football and to referees for decades," Gomes said.

"I know that we have a big, long way to run yet. It's not perfect, far from that. People who work with VAR are also learning and they are focused always on their careers as a referee on the pitch. 

"The process of decision-making was completely different, and then you put them in a room with many screens and tell them to decide in a different way they have to adjust. 

"As with everybody, there are some people who have more competence than others. We are now on that trail to try to be there. 

"Nevertheless, in factual decisions, let's say, for example, offsides or with goal-line technology, I believe that around the world, thousands and thousands of goals have been saved or cancelled correctly after VAR. 

"So yes, it's good for football. It's a Ferrari, you just have to have the right driver to be there.

"I've made many mistakes with the human eye; penalties, decisions, yellow or red cards, things that I missed. VAR could help me a lot. I would have been a better referee if I had it."

Gomes also believes, however, that technology cannot become all-invasive in football, emphasising the need to preserve the emotional nature of the sport.   

"I'm a little concerned about AI in the future, of course also in refereeing matters. I believe it will have an important role," he added.

"Sitting here right now, I don't know if I will have a different way of thinking in 10 years. We are always adjusting, but I believe technology should always help until the point that humans decide.

"Human first, technology after, not the other way around because football is for people. It's played for people, with people, and refereed with people, and that's what gives the emotion.

"If you become very technological, it's very difficult to have an emotional sport and then it will lose many of its values, so yes, technology is always to help, not as a substitute for the referee."

Gomes also feels the rise of social media has had a major impact on the levels of abuse received by officials. In a high-profile incident from last season, Roma boss Jose Mourinho was given a four-match ban by UEFA for angrily confronting referee Anthony Taylor after his team lost the Europa League final.

"I believe it's getting worse because social media gives the right to everybody to criticise, especially the ones who didn't do it with a public voice before," he said.

"Football is a social phenomenon and it's unique because it can put you in a very emotional state, sometimes an irrational state, which is worse. 

"You cannot ask people to be reasonable when they have their emotions so strongly attached to their teams and their competitions. 

"Sometimes you have to let the balloon go down a little bit and then ask them for some tolerance again. Nobody wants to hear the explanation of law one or law two, [but] you have to do it slowly, you have to try and try."

While Alan Smith accepts Liverpool have every right to be hurt by the VAR error which cost them in Saturday's loss to Tottenham, he thinks Jurgen Klopp's team have no choice but to move on. 

PGMOL, the body responsible for match officials in English football, admitted a "significant human error" was committed when the decision to disallow Luis Diaz's first-half strike – which was flagged offside – was not overturned. 

The audio recording of the decision-making process surrounding the incident was made public on Tuesday, revealing VAR Darren England misunderstood the nature of the on-field decision when clearing the check.

Diaz's wrongly disallowed effort occurred when the game was goalless, with Liverpool down to 10 men following Curtis Jones' straight red card. 

Diogo Jota was also sent off in the second half before Joel Matip's stoppage-time own goal handed Spurs a dramatic 2-1 victory, maintaining their flying start to the Premier League season.

Liverpool subsequently said the "sporting integrity" of the game had been "undermined" in a statement, and boss Klopp made further headlines on Wednesday. 

Speaking at a press conference ahead of Liverpool's Europa League fixture against Union SG, Klopp called for the Spurs game to be replayed, labelling the situation "unprecedented".

While Arsenal great Smith has sympathy for Liverpool, he maintains the Reds have no option but to accept they were wronged. 

Speaking to Stats Perform at the Legends of Football event, in aid of Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy, Smith said: "I was amazed when they played on and the offside was upheld.

"It was a lack of communication, big time.

"I can't understand how that happened, but it's not great because it casts a shadow over the game, over VAR especially, and Liverpool are clearly very upset. 

"You can't blame them, but I think you've just got to suck it up and carry on really. It's done. It's done now."

The incident has sparked further debate about the impact and implementation of VAR, but former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein says the technology will become more effective as time goes on, calling for supporters to "stick with it".

"Well, it comes down to two words, human error, and that's going to happen," Dein said. "People have got to understand.

"I'm a great supporter of VAR. Before VAR came in, the referees were making one game-changing error every three games. That's been reduced dramatically.

"You'll see as the years go by. It's still in its infancy. It only came in the World Cup in Russia in 2018. That was when VAR was really introduced. 

"It's going to get better and more efficient as time goes on. I'm a great supporter. You've got to stick with it."

Arsenal Women's manager Jonas Eidevall was also speaking at the event, and he outlined his belief that semi-automatic offside technology – which is used in UEFA competitions – should be adopted by PGMOL.

"With VAR, as long as there is a human element to it, there can always be human errors," Eidevall said.

"If you do the semi-automatic offside technology, you don't really have a human element to that and you get less errors. So I think that's a good example. Goal-line technology is another one. 

"The referees are also going to get better, over time, at working with a system like VAR. That's also very obvious and they will also learn things every season. They want to get things right."

Meanwhile, VAR – and goal-line technology – was a hot topic across the opening weekend of the Women's Super League season, with officials failing to award Guro Reiten a goal despite the ball clearly crossing the line in Chelsea's 2-1 win over Tottenham.

Asked if he expected VAR to grace the league soon, Eidevall said: "Yes, I do. I think that's where the development is heading. I don't know if that's next season or the season after. 

"I think when we do, if we implement it, it has to be the full version. 

"What I don't want to see in the women's game is for them to implement a cheaper version of VAR with less camera angles. That makes it really difficult for the referees to see the situations."

Tottenham celebrated another jaw-dropping 2-1 stoppage-time victory as Joel Matip’s own goal finally broke nine-man Liverpool’s resistance.

Saturday evening’s box office battle pitted together exciting, resurgent sides that had both begun the new Premier League season unbeaten having bounced back from chastening campaigns last term.

Jurgen Klopp’s men were seconds away from leaving north London with a fantastic point after Cody Gakpo cancelled out Son Heung-min’s opener in a match which saw the visitors have two players sent off.

Curtis Jones and half-time introduction Diogo Jota were sent off at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where Spurs finally beat Liverpool at the fifth time of asking.

Just like in their last home game against Sheffield United a fortnight ago, Ange Postecoglou’s men triumphed thanks to a stunning stoppage-time conclusion.

This time it was Liverpool defender Matip providing the key touch, inadvertently turning home Pedro Porro’s cross to spark wild celebrations in the sixth minute of added time.

Jurgen Klopp joked that he used the promise of the captain’s armband to sell Curtis Jones on the idea of playing right-back for Liverpool in Wednesday’s 3-1 Carabao Cup win over Leicester.

Jones was the only player retained from Saturday’s 3-1 win over West Ham, but dropped back from midfield to fill in on the right side of defence in the absence of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez, with Stefan Bajcetic on the bench after playing right-back against LASK last week.

Even with plenty of experience in the side, the 22-year-old Jones took the armband as he adjusted to a new role.

“Yesterday, when I told him he will play right-back, I sold the right-back idea with the captaincy,” Klopp said.

“He was already completely excited when I told him he would play right-back, and the way he executed it was super special, I have to say. Wow.

“We thought about him because we couldn’t play Stefan, we have to be careful with him. Joey will be OK for the weekend (away to Tottenham) but was not OK for today so we have to find solutions and Curtis was always in my mind as a potential solution.

“He enjoys being on the ball and the deeper you are the more often you can get the ball. It was a top performance I have to say for the first time in for him a strange position. I liked that. He’s in a good moment and could probably play each position.

“But we will try to use him as often as possible in his natural position.”

Jones was one of several Liverpool players to earn praise from Klopp after their come-from-behind victory.

Dominik Szoboszlai took the headlines after hitting a superb strike to give Liverpool the lead just five minutes after coming off the bench, completing the turnaround after Cody Gakpo’s goal early in the second half had cancelled out Kasey McAteer’s effort, with Diogo Jota getting a late third.

But Klopp reeled off a list of several performances he was impressed by, including those from Wataru Endo, Jarell Quansah, Harvey Elliott, and Ryan Gravenberch.

“There were super signs, I really like that a lot,” Klopp said. “The boys enjoyed playing it and you saw how they were pressing until the last second. They really enjoyed it and that’s cool.

“Minute by minute, we grew into that game and it was a top performance, to be honest.

“With all the quality of Leicester, we have to admit that as well, super-coached team obviously, super set-up, you can pretty much see, feel and smell the confidence they have because of their situation, so that made life difficult.

“But we kept going and improved during the game as a team clearly but individually as well, a lot of performances stepped up and here we are, and I like that a lot.”

Dominik Szoboszlai’s superb strike helped Liverpool into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup as they came from behind to beat Championship Leicester 3-1.

The hosts were stunned when Kasey McAteer fired the Foxes in front in only the third minute.

But sustained pressure from Jurgen Klopp’s side eventually told as Cody Gakpo levelled before Szoboszlai came off the bench to put them in front with an unstoppable shot in the 70th minute.

Diogo Jota added a third in the 89th minute and it was no less than Liverpool, winners of this competition a record nine times, deserved after they poured forward in response to the early setback, having 27 attempts at goal in all.

McAteer’s early goal remained Leicester’s only shot on target by the final whistle.

Jurgen Klopp had made 10 changes to the side that beat West Ham 3-1 at the weekend to maintain their impressive start to the Premier League campaign but Enzo Maresca, whose side are top of the Championship as they eye an instant return to the top flight, matched him with just as many.

And the in-form visitors silenced the windswept Anfield crowd as a Liverpool free-kick turned into a Leicester goal.

Kostas Tsimikas’ delivery was punched clear and the Greece defender was left in a heap by Marc Albrighton as Yunus Akgun raced clear before slipping the perfect ball into the path of 21-year-old academy product McAteer, who had time to pick a spot for his fifth goal of the season.

A Liverpool response was guaranteed, but Wataru Endo, making his third start since joining from Stuttgart, fired a shot narrowly wide before Harry Souttar blocked Gakpo’s shot after neat passing cut open Leicester’s defence.

The following corner was worked short to find Jota at the far post but the Portuguese forward fell over the ball before Jakub Stolarczyk blocked Ben Doak’s shot as the 17-year-old picked up the pieces.

Doak then went even closer from the next corner, hitting the crossbar on the rebound as Stolarczyk could only parry a shot from Liverpool’s 20-year-old defender Jarell Quansah.

Gakpo thought he had equalised in the 22nd minute as he headed Tsimikas’ free-kick goalwards but Conor Coady – belatedly making his Leicester debut at his boyhood club following injury – scrambled it off the line.

A mistake from Ricardo Pereira led to Liverpool’s next opportunity as helost control inside the area and Harvey Elliott played in Gakpo, but his shot was deflected over.

Liverpool trailed at the break despite having 15 shots to Leicester’s two, but needed only three minutes of the second half to level.

Ryan Gravenberch, making his first Anfield start, fizzed in a pass to Gakpo, who stuck out a leg to control with his back to goal before twisting to find the bottom corner of the net.

Liverpool were firmly on top now and Gakpo should have had a second just before the hour, getting a glancing header on Elliott’s cross but watching it hit the underside of the crossbar and bounce down on to the line before Leicester cleared.

Both managers turned to their benches to strengthen, with Maresca sending on Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall and Patson Daka, while Klopp called on Szoboszlai and Darwin Nunez.

Klopp was the manager to see his moves pay off as within five minutes of coming on, Szoboszlai unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top left-hand corner from the edge of the D.

Liverpool continued to pile on the pressure, and Jota sealed it in the 89th minute as he flicked Quansah’s low cross in off the inside of the post.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hailed the “massive steps” striker Darwin Nunez has made already this season after his key contribution in the 3-1 win over West Ham.

The Uruguay international’s fourth goal of the season – which keeps him level with Mohamed Salah, who netted the opening penalty – was pivotal in turning the match the hosts’ way after Jarrod Bowen’s diving header had restored parity.

Substitute Diogo Jota’s late goal made sure of a fifth successive Premier League victory to move the Reds into second place in the table, but it was Nunez’s all-round display that particularly caught the eye, his brilliant volley the game’s standout moment.

“He has made massive steps in the last few weeks. He is a threat. You all saw the goal, that was probably pretty good, right? That was really strong,” Klopp said.

“Incredible. Everybody is looking at me when I talk about the goals but these eyes – I saw it only once – can’t wait to see it properly back.

“He was always available. It’s super-important for us now that we have a ball player: chip the ball (into him), get it on the chest and play from there.

“That’s how we scored the third goal at Wolves, super-important for us. The defensive work he puts in is probably the main difference.

“He always wanted (to do it) but it was less coordinated. Now that looks much better.

“We have found a way to do it around him, Curtis (Jones) and Dom (Dominik Szoboszlai) help a lot, how flexible they are in that way. It’s really good, absolutely.”

In the end the result was comfortable but for long periods that was not the case as a resilient West Ham always posed a threat and were good at breaking up Liverpool’s momentum.

“It was expected. A difficult game; some very good moments in the first half but we were not enough in control to deny them completely.

“I really thought we played good in different phases, lost some balls we shouldn’t have lost, but we scored our goal which was a super counter-attack.

“When they scored, I was not completely surprised. We should have defended it better, that’s clear. The most important is you stay in the game and that’s what we did in the second half.

“We controlled much better and gave them a proper challenge. We really caused them some problems and we scored some super goals.”

West Ham manager David Moyes, who has yet to win in 20 career visits to Anfield, was frustrated his side could not hold on for longer at 1-1.

“We did a pretty good job in first half. We created a few chances in the first half,” he said.

“We were probably trying to offer them problems and until the penalty I thought we had a really good grasp of the game.

“I thought Liverpool counter-attacked us more than we did to them because we had really good control of the game.

“You might come here and only get three chances and they will get 10 and have to hope they will miss nine and we take two.

“I was disappointed with the second goal. Lots of positives to take but more disappointed with the second and third goal, probably more the third.”

Moyes has also dismissed the chances of re-signing former midfielder Jesse Lingard, who trained with the club after leaving Nottingham Forest as a free agent in the summer, with the player now seemingly destined for Saudi Arabia.

“I am quite comfortable, more than relaxed with it,” he added. “We like Jesse a lot, I just don’t know if we need another player in the position.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists it is too soon to say his “mentality monsters” have returned but he has been impressed by how they have handled adversity so far this season.

The 3-1 Europa League victory over LASK in Austria was the fourth time in six matches this season the team have bounced back from going behind.

However, despite the early setbacks they have yet to concede a goal after the 37th minute and strong second-half performances have seen them turn things around against Bournemouth, Newcastle, Wolves and now the team from Linz.

That has been achieved against the backdrop of introducing an all-new midfield but he is not yet ready to repurpose the tag he bestowed on the side who won the Champions League and Premier League in back-to-back seasons.

“I understand why you are asking me this. It was not long ago I was being asked about us being 1-0 down, 1-0 down, 1-0 down,” he said.

“I understand that this may come up again some time, but this feels completely different.

“When I said that phrase (mentality monsters) at that time, it was not that I planned that way. I just remember watching a game and thinking, ‘oh my God, how did they come back?’.”

“Now it is just that we have changed a few things and turned games around. Staying in a game is a duty and we did that so far which is why we have turned situations.

“Mentality? That is something we will create. What we have now is a mood. This is a spirit we have created because the boys really like playing with each other.

“It is a close group. It is early, that is obvious, and we made 11 changes (against LASK) and when you saw the spirit of the boys at the start it was not like we are on holiday.

“If you saw the dressing room there was a real competitive mood there. I liked that a lot. Again, the boys who came on enjoyed the minutes they got.

“Something is growing but I have no clue how it will go.”

The fact Klopp was able to change the entire team from Saturday’s win at Wolves and still win fairly comfortably is an indication of not only the depth but also the quality he has at his disposal.

It was far from a weakened European team, however, with first-choice centre-backs Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate at the back and almost £100million-worth of attacking talent in Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz up front.

But the major difference was being able to bring summer signings, and two of his new revamped midfield, Dominik Szobozslai and World Cup-winner Alexis Mac Allister plus Mohamed Salah off the bench for the last half hour to see out the game and avoid any late drama.

It means those key players will be fresh for Sunday’s visit of West Ham as they look to make it five successive Premier League wins.

“I made 11 changes. I don’t know what you thought, but maybe some thought it was too much,” added Klopp.

“Everyone deserved to play for what they have shown in pre-season and training. I wanted a team that did not think for one second about Sunday who would go into it and enjoy it.

“Will I do this in every (European) game? Probably not. But we can mix it in a different way.

“For a squad still without Thiago (Alcantara), no Trent (Alexander-Arnold) and no Conor Bradley we can still change 11 times.

“If we have luck – and by luck I mean everyone stays healthy – and we have 23 players like this at this level we can react in all the games we have and we’ll always have a really good team on the pitch. I like that a lot.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp played down his record-breaking 50th European win after the 3-1 victory over LASK in Austria.

His side came from behind for the fourth time in six matches as goals from Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz and substitute Mohamed Salah secured the German’s 50th European victory for the club – surpassing the record he held with Rafael Benitez.

“Let me say it like this, if I still have 50 after the group stage, then even if I’ve still got the most wins in Europe as a Liverpool manager then everybody will hate that,” he said.

“The highest number of wins but everybody will hate it.

“So it’s nice – we have played a lot of games in Europe, but it is good we have won that many and we have frequently qualified for finals.

“No it’s great but probably because the competition now has so many more games than in the past.”

Klopp made 11 changes from the weekend win over Wolves and that contributed to the disjointed, sluggish start.

LASK, in the biggest game in their history, took full advantage as they flew out of the blocks and scored through Florian Flecker’s expertly taken strike from a well-rehearsed corner.

“Tough start, yes. Obviously the first shot on target after a set-piece and we conceded,” the Reds boss added.

“We had very good moments but I saw the boys didn’t feel that. It was not that we could gain confidence from our good moments – we didn’t seem to think we should do that again.

“So we suffered from the less good moments confidence-wise and frustration grew. It makes no sense. Human, but it makes no
sense anyway.

“We showed them (at half-time) two football situations from the first half where we did pretty well. The boys clearly thought there was nothing good in the first half but that was not true.

“We told them they had to get rid of the frustration getting back into the game again, and then we would have a good chance to turn it around, and that’s what we did eventually.

“I’m really, really happy because I said before I knew it would be really difficult, and it was difficult, even if people didn’t believe me. Well-deserved win in the end and that’s it.

“I know that people expect us to fly through this competition. In the group stage it will not happen, in the knockout it will not happen. We have to dig in, dig into it.”

LASK coach Thomas Sageder was disappointed they could not capitalise on their good start.

“We played very brave, we were aggressive and we had a chance to score the second goal but it was only 1-0 at half-time,” he said.

“In the second half we saw how good a team Liverpool were but we fought to the end.”

Liverpool took time adjusting to life back in the Europa League but for the fourth time in six matches this season they came from behind to win 3-1 against LASK in Linz.

It had been 2,682 days since they last appeared in UEFA’s second-tier competition, having played in three Champions League finals and won one, and that adaptation to a new reality took a while to bed in.

The Austrians had no such problem in the biggest game in their history as the visit of Manchester United in 2020, when they were hammed 5-0, happened behind closed doors because of the pandemic.

They were so fired up they predictably took an early lead through Florian Flecker’s brilliantly-taken goal but once Jurgen Klopp’s side came to the realisation the Europa League will be just as tough a task as the competition favourites this season’s familiar trait emerged.

Within the space of eight second-half minutes Darwin Nunez fired home a penalty and Luis Diaz converted from close range and late on substitute Mohamed Salah clinched Klopp’s 50th European victory, the most of any Anfield manager.

Pre-match the German had insisted this was not a competition for handing out “opportunities” but then proceeded to name a completely different side from that which won at Wolves at the weekend.

Not to say that it was weak with first-choice centre-backs Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate at the back and Diaz and Nunez up front but in between was the untried midfield of newest signing 21-year-old Ryan Gravenberch, on his first start, and Harvey Elliott (20) either side of the 30-year-old ‘veteran’ Wataru Endo who had played just 89 minutes for Klopp’s team since his own summer move.

The real excitement was reserved for livewire winger Ben Doak, who became the club’s fourth-youngest player to play in Europe at the age of 17 years and 314 days on his first start.

But while his first real run at the LASK defence saw him glide past Rene Renner to win a corner he was starved of opportunities by a malfunctioning midfield which could not gain any control in the first half and the young Scot was replaced just past the hour.

Stefan Bajcetic’s misjudgement, the 18-year-old midfielder asked to play the Trent Alexander-Arnold hybrid right-back role, in missing a cross led to a LASK corner and the opening goal.

Flecker was picked out on the edge of the penalty area and he took a touch before drilling a shot through a crowd of players past Caoimhin Kelleher as a training-ground move paid off from their first shot on target.

Liverpool were not so clinical as Nunez headed over an inviting Elliott cross before seeing his close-range nod towards goal from Van Dijk’s header at a corner clawed out by goalkeeper Tobias Lawal.

The raucous home crowd cheered not only that but every block, every tackle, every Liverpool corner repelled, every corner won.

Liverpool’s first move of any quality brought the equaliser when Diaz was brought down by Philipp Ziereis, after Elliott, Doak and Bajcetic had combined down the right, and Nunez powered home from the spot in the 56th minute.

It was the signal for Klopp to make changes with summer signings Dominik Szoboszlai and Alexis Mac Allister, two of his new first-choice midfield, replacing Doak and Endo with Joe Gomez giving Bajcetic a break after his first game since March after injury.

They went ahead when Nunez brought down Gomez’s pass from deep, laid off to Elliott who sent Gravenberch racing down the right and his low cross was turned home by Diaz.

If life was not difficult enough for the hosts Mohamed Salah was introduced in the 76th minute and created two chances and had a shot inside his first 60 seconds before weaving himself into a position to poke through the legs of the goalkeeper two minutes from time.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists they are in the Europa League to win it and they arrive in Linz “to compete, not to give opportunities”.

On Thursday the Reds take on LASK as they return to a competition in which their last appearance was the 2016 final defeat to Sevilla in the German’s first season at the club.

Since then Liverpool have won the Champions League and reached two other finals and lifted the Premier League, the Club World Cup, the FA Cup and Carabao Cup.

As it stands the Europa League is the only major trophy Klopp has not won in his near-eight years at Anfield and he wants to add that missing silverware to his honour role.

That means fans who were hoping to see exciting fringe talents like youngster Ben Doak, Harvey Elliott and new signing Ryan Gravenberch may have to wait for now.

“We are here to compete, not to give opportunities,” he said.

“My first year I thought the Europa League was a bit too much for us until we got to the final. We had to fly to Russia, played on a frozen pitch in Sion.

“That was a different squad. We were not ready and we came through somehow. I don’t think we were exceptional until the quarter-final, semi-final.

“It is a different time, a different team. We are better prepared. We enjoy it more to be here because we had no clue at that time what to expect.

“We have to be motivated and we are excited to play in the Europa League. I didn’t watch the Champions League (this week), I didn’t miss the anthem.”

None of the 2016 final squad remain at Anfield with Joe Gomez – who was 18 at the time but out injured – the only current player to have played in the Europa League for Liverpool.

But while there have been significant alterations to the playing staff this summer the core of that trophy-winning band are still together and Klopp’s side are favourites to win the competition.

However, captain Virgil van Dijk brushed off the expectations.

“It’s a reflection of the world we live in at the moment, it’s from one extreme to the other,” he said.

“We have to just stay calm and level-headed, there are so many games to play and twists and turns to happen.

“We know we had a good start but there are so many things still we need to improve. We need to stay calm.

“Everyone else from the outside world will say things but we should not worry and think about it.”

Van Dijk has had to watch from the sidelines for the last two matches due to suspension but he has been impressed with the way his team-mates have gone about their business.

And he is not the only one who has been heartened.

Klopp added: “Virgil is right. He did not play now twice and you can see something is growing.

“We were late (arriving in Linz) today and it wasn’t our fault and we were waiting around and you see they enjoy spending time with each other.”

Sports stars and clubs across the world continue to provide an insight into their lives on social media.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the best examples from September 15.

Football

Jurgen Klopp liked his new club merchandise.

Clubs remembered Graham Taylor on what would have been his 79th birthday.

James Maddison was grateful.

Cricket

The Barmy Army were pleased to see Freddie back.

Golf

Nicolai Hojgaard went close to winning a new car at Wentworth.

F1

The Singapore Grand Prix had unexpected visitors.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insisted the club’s stance would not waver on Mohamed Salah, despite speculation of a potential world-record bid for the forward arriving this week.

The club rejected a £150million deal for the 31-year-old from Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ittihad on Friday and said at the time, they considered the matter closed.

That has not prevented suggestions the Pro League champions are prepared to return with a bid of around £200m but Klopp said even though the Saudi transfer window remained open until Thursday, the position of owners Fenway Sports Group would not change.

“I didn’t realise a little bit of a distraction in the whole week, besides answering questions about it – not from people inside (the club) but people outside,” said Klopp after his side’s 3-0 victory over Aston Villa in which Salah scored the third after Dominik Szoboszlai’s first goal for the club was followed by Matty Cash putting through his own net.

“I have no clue, nobody came to me and told me something could happen or whatever. I’m pretty sure I would have got a call but I didn’t.

“And Mo didn’t look for a second like he thought about anything else other than about Aston Villa, being involved in all the goals.

“He has unbelievable numbers but it’s not a surprise that he has the numbers. And he had chances on top of that and (is) involved in creating and setting up and all these kind of things.

“He’s a world-class player, no doubt about that and I’m really pleased he is in my team.”

Szoboszlai said in a post-match television interview to that Salah wanted to stay.

“You know it is football, everyone is talking. We are really happy that he has stayed,” said the Hungary captain.

“We are of course speaking between each other but he wants to stay, he wants to be here and be with us. We are really happy – we need people in the team like him.”

Klopp was asked whether Salah had conveyed that message to him.

“No. He didn’t tell me, but he didn’t have to. He speaks with his training and performances and behaviour,” he added, after admitting the only downside to the afternoon was a hamstring injury to Trent Alexander-Arnold which was likely to rule him out of England duty in the coming international break.

“We had meetings this week and the meetings were not about what we did in the past, it was about what we will do in the future.

“Mo was with the players’ (leadership) committee and had his moments where he was talking and it was nothing like ‘By the way, this is only until next week’ or whatever.

“He is completely here and if Dom said that, fine. Mo doesn’t have to come into my office and tell me ‘By the way, boss… (I’m not going)’.

“For me it wasn’t a subject for one second, to be honest, besides the questions (from the media).”

Villa were never really in the game after Cash’s 22nd-minute own goal, and head coach Unai Emery admitted – after conceding three in the last half-hour at Newcastle on the opening weekend – he was conscious of getting torn apart at Anfield.

“It is difficult to win here and first half was the key. We had chances, we were not clinical and 2-0 was not really the result we deserved for the first half,” he said.

“Second half we stuck to our gameplan and they scored the third goal and it was match finished.

“We tried to be focused because here, like in Newcastle, we lost the last 30 minutes and we didn’t want it today. I can’t accept to let them have more goals.”

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