Liverpool drop early Europa League team news hint as Klopp faces Salah chat

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Liverpool might have hinted at a full senior debut for Ben Doak ahead of their Europa League opener against LASK. The 17-year-old attacker is highly rated by Jurgen Klopp and could earn a breakthrough in Europe this season. 

Doak has signed a new long-term contract with Liverpool, the Premier League club announced on Tuesday. The timing of the announcement might suggest that the former Celtic starlet is set to play a role against LASK. 

Klopp is widely expected to make changes for the Reds’ visit to Austria. The German will likely face a tough chat with Mohamed Salah if he is dropped, especially after the Egyptian reacted badly to being substituted against Chelsea in August. Salah has made it clear repeatedly that he prefers to play and he’s only ever missed one European match for the club – the famous 4-0 win over Barcelona for which he was injured.

Doak has impressed for Liverpool’s U18s and U21s, earning him six senior appearances for the Anfield outfit. The Scotland U21 international, who also played twice for Celtic’s first team, most recently featured as a substitute for the frustrated Salah against Chelsea. 

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Liverpool boss Klopp remained coy on whether his young stars would feature against LASK. The Reds also have the likes of Harvey Elliott, Stefan Bajcetic and Jarell Quansah pushing for a start. 

“If there will be kids involved that depends on the level the kids can show in that moment. We have real talent there, but it is not experimental,” Klopp said ahead of the trip. 

“I think if we don’t get hit by an injury crisis then we should have enough players to field Thursday and Sunday a top team, and that’s pretty much the idea. Then we will see how we build a squad…

“So we will see, but we have good kids. That’s the benefit of the [recent] international break, when you have all these kids in training. We had 16-year-old boys here, and they are incredibly good, incredibly talented.”

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Doak, signed by Liverpool from Celtic in 2022, admitted playing with the Liverpool first team is a ‘dream’. “I hit the ground running in pre-season and I have kept training with the Liverpool first team,” the teenager recently told the Daily Record. 

“Obviously, although you do need games in your career, but you don’t really need matches at Liverpool when you are training every day with players like them because you are going to get better regardless. I am working with some of the best players in the world at the club. My aim is just to try and get as many minutes as I can.

“But let’s be honest it’s a dream for me, isn’t it! It’s the kind of thing you fantasise about as a kid. I used to watch these players when I was 12 or 13 winning Champions Leagues. Now I am training and playing with them. I am just trying to get up to their level.”

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