Why they reign supreme within the Champions League.
The pressure was on in Salzburg and Jürgen Klopp’s team responded with a performance appropriate European champions to preserve their dreams of a 3rd consecutive final look and a come to Istanbul, it was far from easy against the Austrian champions. Liverpool made it appear so.
The Premier League leaders claimed 1st place in group E with a victory built on the experience of champions, resolute defending and good execution from their front line.
Salzburg contributed to an enthralling finale but from the moment Sadio Mané created the breakthrough for Naby Keïta the guests assumed absolute control.
Mohamed salah, guilty of several earlier misses, struck an exquisite second 100 seconds later and Klopp’s team cruised into the knockout section they thrive upon. Liverpool have reached the final of every European competition they have played in beneath Klopp, never losing a two-legged European tie with him.
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Victory looked routine by the time Mané missed Liverpool’s final likelihood of the night however it had been a tense affair till Keïta struck. Alisson and Virgil van Dijk had to be at their authoritative best as Jesse Marsch’s team started with the belief they could qualify with napoli at the expense of the European champions.
From the bravery to play through and around Liverpool’s press to intricate one-touch moves around the visitors’ penalty area, the hosts opened with the arrogance of youth and the belief of domestic champions.
Alisson made six saves in the first half – only one within the second – with the most impressive arriving when the Salzburg playmaker Takumi Minamino back-heeled Hwang into area and he looked to get from shut range, having twisted within Jordan Henderson.
The Brazilian created a fine left-handed stop and also denied the eye-catching Enock Mwepu twice, Hwang again and Haaland before the break. the contest was completely compelling as a result of it flowed end to end and, despite Salzburg’s swagger in possession, it was Liverpool who crafted the clearer openings. Fine goalkeeping from Cican Stankovic and poor finishing by salah ensured Liverpool were unbroken waiting for the breakthrough.
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The game opened at a agitated pace with more area activity within the initial quarter-hour than all of many contests. Liverpool’s 1st excellent opening arrived from the direct supply of a Dejan Lovren ball down the center.
The Salzburg central defender Maximilian Wöber, a weak link, misjudged the flight and allowed salah a clean run on goal. The Egypt international took the shot early however Stankovic stood up well to form a crucial block.
Salah had no excuse for failing to beat the goalkeeper next time, however. Keïta burst into area vacated by Wöber once the Austrian overcommitted.
As Salzburg defenders closed in the Guinean released salah free inside the area however, with only Stankovic to beat, he dragged a first-time shot horribly wide.
The Liverpool forward almost made amends on the stroke of half-time with a delightful pass into the overlapping run of Keïta. Stankovic was again to the rescue, racing out quickly to smother the midfielders shot and breathing a sigh of relief once the rebound stricken Keïta’s chest and sailed out for a goal-kick.
It was a mark of champions that this didn’t disturb Liverpool or salah. 2 goals in 2 minutes, each involving Stankovic speeding from his line unnecessarily and wonderful finishes, turned a hard night into a triumphant one for Klopp’s team.
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The Salzburg keeper may have been over-confident following earlier events but beyond question was the quality of Liverpool’s goals. The opener arrived moments once Joe Gomez had replaced the injured Lovren.
Trent Alexander-Arnold swept the substitute’s pass over to Andy robertson, who touched on to Mané. in a flash the Senegal international darted past jerome Onguéné into the area and, as Stankovic stormed off his line, he clipped an inch-perfect cross from the left for Keïta to go home.
Salzburg’s hopes fragmented within seconds. Henderson sprayed a hopeful ball behind Onguéné for salah to chase.
Salah easily beat him too it but his initial touch took the ball towards the byline. No matter.
He simply curled a deft end goal wards and forgot the previous misses as his hardest chance of the night nestled inside the way post. an outstanding finish and Liverpool coasted into the knockout stage from that point on. they remain the team to fear in Europe.