Liverpool demonstrated resilience as they rallied from an early setback to secure a 3-1 victory against LASK Linz in their inaugural Europa League Group E match on Thursday.
The match marked Liverpool's return to Europa League action, with their last campaign dating back to 2015-16 when they lost 3-1 to Sevilla in the final. However, the English side faced a stern challenge in the opening half from the determined Austrian hosts, who have now made their third appearance in the Europa League group stage.
LASK Linz, currently occupying third place in the 2022-23 Austrian Bundesliga, surprised Liverpool by taking the lead in the 14th-minute courtesy of an impressive strike by winger Florian Flecker, who connected with a corner and beat Liverpool's goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher.
Liverpool had an opportunity to level the score in the first half when Darwin Nunez attempted a close-range header, but the effort was thwarted by a vigilant save from LASK's goalkeeper Tobias Lawal.
After the halftime break, Nunez found the net for Juergen Klopp's team, calmly converting a penalty awarded to Liverpool when winger Luis Diaz was fouled inside the penalty area.
Diaz extended Liverpool's lead in the 63rd minute, capitalising on a superb cross into the box by Ryan Gravenberch. Substitute Mohamed Salah sealed the victory with a well-placed low strike just two minutes before the final whistle.
In another Group E encounter, last season's quarter-finalists, Union Saint-Gilloise, managed to salvage a 1-1 draw against Toulouse at home.
Bayer Leverkusen made a strong start, scoring twice within the first 16 minutes, ultimately defeating Swedish champions Hacken 4-0 on their home turf. Meanwhile, AS Roma, the runners-up in the 2022-23 season, secured a 2-1 win against Moldova's Sheriff Tiraspol, with Romelu Lukaku contributing a goal.
Panathinaikos, who finished second in the Greek Super League last season, triumphed 2-0 over the 2020-21 winners, Villarreal.
Stade Rennais midfielder Ludovic Blas wasted no time in finding the back of the net within the first minute, paving the way for his team's comfortable 3-0 victory over the visiting Israeli champions, Maccabi Haifa.