Jesse Marsch emphasised during his half-time speech at Anfield in October “this is not a f*cking friendly match, this is a f*cking Champions League match”, this time, this isn’t just a Champions League fixture but a once in a lifetime opportunity to inflict unwanted history on the champions of Europe at the Red Bull Arena.
Following Red Bull Salzburg’s 4-1 thrashing of Genk in Belgium and Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Napoli at home, Group E is finely balanced as only three points separate first and third. Due to the 3-2 defeat to Napoli at home, the Italians can not be knocked out unless they lose to Genk, therefore, Salzburg must win either 1-0, 2-1 or 3-2 to secure qualification to the knockout stages and condemn Liverpool to becoming the second-ever holders to be knocked out of the group stage in the modern era – the first being Chelsea in 2012.
Liverpool sit atop of the Premier League unbeaten after 16 matches, eight points ahead of Leicester City. In all competitions this season, the only blemish on their record is the defeat to Napoli on matchday one and at the weekend, Jürgen Klopp’s side defeated Bournemouth 3-0 to secure their first clean sheet since September 28, but they will face a different kettle of fish in Salzburg as the Austrian side boasts the third most prolific attack in the Champions League with 16, behind Tottenham Hotspur (17) and Bayern Munich (21).
While Die Roten Bullen have the special formula to find the net, they are yet to find it for how to protect their own as the hosts possess the worst defensive record for a team that can still qualify. With a front three of which two finished in the top five for the Ballon d’Or (Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané), Liverpool will be looking to take advantage of any defensive mishaps and avoid a shock result.
In the previous meeting back in October, Salzburg stunned Liverpool to become only the fourth team in Champions League history to score three at Anfield, coming from 3-0 down. Jesse Marsch will aim to build upon these foundations with the aim to come out victorious on Tuesday and although Salzburg are deemed the underdogs in this fixture, don’t write them off as anything can happen on a European night in Wals-Seizenheim.
Date: Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Kick-off: 18:55 (CET)
Venue: Red Bull Arena
Referee: Danny Makkelie (NED)
Broadcasting: BT Sport 3 (United Kingdom)
02.10.19: Liverpool 4-3 Red Bull Salzburg
Red Bull Salzburg
Wolfsberg 0-3 (A) | St. Pölten 2-2 (H) | Genk 1-4 (A) | Admira 1-1 (A) | Tirol 5-1 (H)
Crystal Palace 1-2 (A) | Liverpool 1-1 Napoli (H) | Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 (H) | Everton 5-2 (H) | Bournemouth 0-3 (A)
Red Bull Salzburg
Injured: Antoine Bernède (shin), Sékou Koïta (stomach)
Absent: Patrick Farkas (illness)
Injured: Nathaniel Clyne (cruciate ligament), Joël Matip (knee), Fabinho (ligament), Adam Lallana (knock)
Red Bull Salzburg
Stanković – Kristensen, Onguéné, Wöber, Ulmer – Mwepu, Junuzović – Minamino, Szoboszlai – Hwang, Håland. (4-2-2-2)
Alisson – Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson – Wijnaldum, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain – Salah, Firmino, Mané. (4-3-3)
Jesse Marsch: “Our stadium had so much energy against Genk and Napoli. It’ll be good if we can make it a bit uncomfortable for Liverpool and our fans can help in that!
Liverpool have great players, but we just have to play our usual football. It’s important that we play free and determined football.”
Erling Håland: “We have nothing to lose. We’ll go out there, smile and enjoy the game.
It’s a dream to play matches like this. I’m living my dream.”
Jürgen Klopp: “We knew that first because we knew immediately after the Napoli game we have a final, and we have to make sure we are prepared for a final.
But it’s still a job to do, Salzburg are really strong. But, good news, we are strong as well and that’s what we have to show tomorrow night.”
Red Bull Salzburg 2-1 Liverpool