Austria did not welcome Liverpool warmly. Red Bull Salzburg have been an entertaining side this season in Champions League. With players Erling Haaland and Minamino around, they raised the expectations among Austrian fans. They believed they could tame the champions of Europe. But they lacked something, which Liverpool did not – Relentlessness.

Liverpool were needed to avoid a defeat to ensure a place in Round of 16. For this Liverpool side, the possibility of a defeat against Salzburg was unthinkable. But if one thinks of that eventful night at Santiago Bernabeu last season, where Ajax stunned the defending champions Real Madrid, anything was possible. Jurgen Klopp was well aware of such hiccups.

The match burst into life from word go –  Stankovic was tested by Mohamed Salah when he brought down Dejan Lovren’s raking ball masterfully. Salzburg replied with some frenetic counter as Hwang Hee-chan and Takumi Minamino’s movement was creating headaches for Liverpool’s backline. Alisson made a brilliant double save in the seventh minute to deny each man from close range. Haaland ran into Alisson in the 24th minute after he sprung onto a Minamino pass behind Lovren. Then Salah dragged one wide, while Haaland side-netted one.

The first-half became a high-octane affair where both teams wasted opportunities and the way Liverpool missed chances, it seemed, a hiccup was around the corner. More often they were caught on the counter, which hinted how badly they were missing Fabinho. But the skipper, Jordan Henderson stepped up. He took charge of the midfield and throughout the match ensured, Salzburg’s rapid and inventive movements don’t create enough problems for the Reds.

Surprisingly the first-half ended 0-0 and in the second-half, Liverpool would exhibit their relentless. This is the quality, which has made the Reds a treat for all. They pull themselves up quickly and go for the win under any circumstances.

The second-half started. Stankovic charged out to check Salah near the edge of his box but was too ambitious when Sadio Mane rounded him down the left channel and crossed for Keita to head in. Keita broke the deadlock. The acute tension on the face of Klopp subsided. Salah then danced around Stankovic and scripted a sublime finish from a tight angle to bury his strings of misses in first-half once and for all. Roberto Firmino, Salah, and Mane all went close to a third goal during the closing stages as Salzburg lost the grip over the match.


The 2-0 scoreline just does not tell the whole story of how dominating and relentless Liverpool were in second-half. They could have easily won the match by 6-0 or 7-0. The ball just did not enter the net, which was quite astonishing. One might question the lack of precision from Liverpool forwards, but it would become irrelevant because of the relentlessness of Klopp’s men who know how to win and always play to win.

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