Exciting Liverpool Progress to Europa League Last 16, Brighton Advances to Knockouts

Cody Gakpo’s brace helped Liverpool secure a spot in the Europa League last 16 with a 4-0 triumph over LASK, while Brighton clinched progression with a 1-0 win against AEK Athens on Thursday.

Jurgen Klopp’s squad claimed the top spot in Group E, courtesy of Gakpo’s double, along with goals from Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah at Anfield.

Europa League group winners gain automatic entry into the last 16, while the runners-up compete in a two-legged knockout round play-off against a team finishing third in a Champions League group in February.

“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.”

Brighton advanced thanks to Joao Pedro’s penalty against AEK Athens.

“We want to win it and you’ve got to dream big to achieve it,” Brighton captain Lewis Dunk said of their unlikely European journey.

West Ham secured their knockout round berth after Tomas Soucek scored late to secure a 1-0 win against Backa Topola in Serbia.

Second-placed Freiburg also earned a spot in the knockout round with a dominating 5-0 win over Olympiakos.

There is a three-way battle for qualification from Group C after Sparta Prague beat leaders Real Betis 1-0, while second-placed Rangers drew 1-1 with Aris Limassol.

In other Group stage matches, Atalanta wrapped up the top spot in Group D with a 1-1 draw against Sporting Lisbon, and Rennes’ 3-0 win against Maccabi Haifa took them to the top of Group F.

In the Europa Conference League, crowd trouble marred Aston Villa’s 2-1 win against Legia Warsaw as three police officers were injured in clashes with Polish fans.

The game was played with Legia supporters kept out of the stadium following the pre-match violence, which included flares and missiles being hurled at police.

– Soucek strikes late –

Slavia Prague also secured a knockout round place with a 3-2 win at Sheriff from Group G, and Bayer Leverkusen goes through as Group H winners after beating Hacken 2-0.


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