Liverpool begin their Europa League campaign on Thursday hoping to make a mark having missed out on the Champions League for the first time since the 2016/17 season.
Having tangled with some of Europe’s biggest names during that time, gone all the way to glory in 2019 and reached two other finals, Jurgen Klopp and his players will have been doing their homework on some less-celebrated clubs.
First up is a trip to face LASK. What’s the deal with their Austrian opponents? For starters, why are they shouting their name at us?
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There’s no massively complicated code to crack here. Based in the Upper Austrian state capital of Linz, the team’s full name is Linzer Athletik-Sport-Klub.
They were more commonly known as Linzer ASK and… go on… shorten that a little further for common consumption and you have another team to exist alongside the PSGs, PSVs and AEKs of this world.
A merger with FC Linz in 1997 resulted in the club being renamed as LASK Linz. After a couple of decades and not-insignificant financial turmoil they reverted to LASK, the merger having fallen apart.
In 1965, LASK made history as the first team from outside Vienna to win the Austrian title. It remains their only Bundesliga triumph and was part of a league and cup double.
As recently as 2016/17, LASK were in the second tier but finished as runners-up in the top flight behind Red Bull Salzburg two years later.
In the 2019/20 Europa League they reached the round of 16 before being eliminated by Liverpool’s bitter rivals Manchester United. The following season they were eliminated at the group stage but played out an entertaining 3-3 draw at home to Tottenham Hotspur.
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