Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk recently reacted to Ben Doak making his first start for the Reds in their 3-1 UEFA Europa League opener at LASK in Linz on Thursday, September 21.
Doak, 17, has played seven times across competitions for Jurgen Klopp's side since his debut in the EFL Cup win over Derby County in the third round last season. However, the teenage winger made his first start against LASK before he was substituted in the 61st minute for Dominik Szoboszlai.
The Scot started in a much-changed Liverpool lineup, with Klopp making as many as 11 changes from the team that beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-1 in the Premier League at the weekend.
Doak started on the right side of a three-man attack comprising Luis Diaz on the left and Darwin Nunez up front. The Reds conceded early but fought back in the second half to take all three points.
The teenager reacted to his first start and European debut, posting on Instagram:
"First start and European debut. Some good bits, some improvement needed. Time to push on."
Van Dijk, who also started the game, commented on the youngster's post with an emoji. Here's a screenshot of the Reds captain's comment on Ben Doak's post:
The game was Liverpool's first in the Europa League since losing 3-1 to Sevilla in the 2016 final.
"It's good that we have won that many" - Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on reaching European milestone
A much-changed Liverpool side were pegged back early in Linz as Florian Flecker fired LASK in front with a superb strike within 14 minutes.
However, Jurgen Klopp's side improved after the break. Darwin Nunez restored parity in the 56th minute before Luis Diaz put the visitors in front seven minutes later. Mohamed Salah came off the bench to put the result beyond doubt two minutes from time.
It marked Klopp's 50th European win with the club, a first by any Reds manager. The German was understandably elated with the achievement as he said in his post-game press conference (as per Liverpool's website):
"Let me say it like this, if I have still 50 after the group stage then I’m still the most successful Liverpool manager (in this regard), and everybody will hate the fact! (It’s) nice. We played quite a lot of games in Europe."
"It’s good that we won that many, we qualified frequently for finals so of course we should have won games. It’s great but probably it’s because in European competition there are just much more games than in the past. I’m pretty sure that’s it," he added.
Klopp's side return to action in the Premier League this weekend when they take on West Ham United at home on Sunday, September 24. The Reds have won four of their five league games, drawing the other, and are two points behind leaders Manchester City (15).