Virgil van Dijk has praised the performance of Ben Doak, after the young Scottish winger made his European debut against LASK.
Doak became Liverpool’s fourth-youngest European player, starting the Europa League fixture at the age of 17 years and 314 days. Playing in the right-wing position usually occupied by Mo Salah the youngster didn’t set the world on fire, but looked assured enough and suffered mostly from a lack of attacking options to play through.
“It was a big night for him,” said Van Dijk. “It was never going to be easy, it was a difficult pitch, but he could have set up at least two goals in the first half where he went past his man like no one was there but unfortunately nobody was on the end of it.
“I am pleased for him and I’m also very excited for him and the future that’s coming.
“You’ve seen in the last couple of weeks, if you watch closely it’s a fantastic group to be part of.
“We have a lot of quality, a lot of younger players, players who are getting new roles and they are enjoying that as well.
“But at the end of the day football is about results. Everybody wants to play their best football each and every game, but sometimes you have to find a way, like we did at Wolves (coming back from conceding first again to win 3-1).
“On Thursday it was after we conceded a set-piece, we showed that we stayed calm and found a way as well.”
Dubbed “The Scottish Messi” Doak has looked an exciting prospect in the handful of games he’s played for the Reds, skillful with both feet and confident to take players on, although his end product still needs working on.
Fans would have hoped to have seen more of the teenager since his 2022 arrival from Celtic, but the player’s opportunities have been cut by a series of niggling injuries.