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'Fantastic four'

Updated on: 02 December,2023 07:55 AM IST  |  London

Boss Jurgen Klopp lauds team effort after Gakpo nets brace, while Diaz and Salah score one each as Liverpool hammer LASK 4-0 to power into last 16

'Fantastic four'

Liverpool’s Cody Gakpo (left) celebrates with Mohamed Salah after scoring their side’s second goal against LASK during the UEFA Europa League Group E match at Anfield, Liverpool, on Thursday. Pic/Getty Images

Cody Gakpo’s double fired Liverpool into the Europa League last 16 as they routed LASK 4-0, while Brighton advanced to the knockout round with a 1-0 win at AEK Athens on Thursday. 

Jurgen Klopp’s side sealed top spot in Group E thanks to Gakpo’s brace and goals from Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah at Anfield. 

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Toulouse settle for a draw

Second-placed Toulouse’s 0-0 draw against Union Saint-Gilloise in the other group game means Klopp can rest players for his team’s last remaining pool stage fixture. 

Jurgen KloppJurgen Klopp

Europa League group winners go through to the last 16 automatically, while the runners-up play in a two-legged knockout round play-off in February against a team who finish third in a Champions League group. 

“The most important thing is that we’re at the head of the group and that won’t change so that’s good,” Klopp said. 

“There was some good football, but this game should have been put to bed before half-time. We didn’t do that, but it’s fantastic to win 4-0.” Klopp made nine changes from the side which drew with Premier League champions Manchester City last Saturday, with Salah and Kostas Tsimikas the only players to keep their places. Rising to meet Joe Gomez’s cross, Diaz netted his first goal at Anfield since August as his header raced past LASK keeper Tobias Lawal in the 12th minute.

Pedro scores for Brighton

Unlike Liverpool’s rich history in continental competition, Brighton are competing in Europe for the first time and the Seagulls’ adventure will continue into the New Year thanks to Joao Pedro’s winner in Greece. Damian Szymanski fouled Joao Pedro in the 55th minute and the Brazilian striker picked himself up to slot home the penalty. 

AEK’s fate was sealed when they were reduced to 10 men in the 85th minute when Mijat Gacinovic earned a second booking for a foul on Joel Veltman.

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