Champions League: Salah spares Liverpool’s blushes as Red Bull rattle the holders
Hard work begins now for Chelsea after their away win at Lille
Uefa Champions League group E Liverpool 4 FC Red Bull Salzburg 3
Red Bull Salzburg almost pulled off one of the great European comebacks only to run out of energy late on as Liverpool had the last word in a rollercoaster encounter.
Champions League holders Liverpool had eased into a 3-0 lead at Anfield in the group E clash but the Kop fell quiet as the Austrian side stormed back in the second half to level the tie.
But showing the spirit of champions, the Reds restored their lead on 69 minutes in another pulsating night of football under the lights at Anfield.
“We opened the door and they were running through,” admitted Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. “It was a very important lesson for us.”
Alarmed at the ease with which Salzburg were able to come back, Klopp was nonetheless proud of the way his players responded to the audacious Austrians.
“We showed character,” said the German. “I was not surprised about that, which is why I was not overly concerned at 3-3 because I knew we would have chances again.”
Liverpool were on cruise control as the game headed towards half-time with goals from Sadio Mane, Andrew Robertson and Mohamed Salah giving them a comfy three-goal cushion.
But complacency crept in and Red Bull Salzburg got one back shortly before the break through Hwang Hee-chan’s crisp strike.
The visitors then scored ten minutes after the restart with Takumi Minamino’s volley and substitute Erling Braut Haaland then made it 3-3 on the hour mark.
Needed new wings
Nine minutes later Salah restored order to Anfield but it was a reminder to the Reds of what can happen when a team takes their foot off the gas.
“At 3-3, our guys put a lot into it and they were a bit tired and the energy of the stadium picks up,” reflected Salzburg boss Jesse Marsch.
“We learned when you come to a place like Anfield it is not just the opponent; it is the entire experience.”
The result means Liverpool are second in group E, a point behind pool leaders Napoli, who were unable to repeat their heroics of a fortnight ago when they beat the Reds, and were held to a goalless draw at Genk.
Uefa Champions League group H LOSC Lille 1 Chelsea 2
Chelsea put last month’s home defeat to Valencia behind them with a vital 2-1 away win in Lille.
The Blues took the lead through Tammy Abraham but the French side levelled on 33 minutes thanks to Victor Osimhen. The scores remained tied until 13 minutes from time when Willian volleyed home Callum Hudson-Odoi’s cross.
Chelsea now sit third in group H after Ajax romped to a 3-0 win in Valencia, and manager Frank Lampard knows the importance of beating the Dutch side when they visit Amsterdam later this month.
“Ajax have set their stall out in the group,” he said. “There is a long way to go in the group... [but] this gives us confidence and points. Now the hard work begins.”
Champions League results
Matchday two results
- Group A: Real Madrid 2 Club Bruges 2; Galatasaray 0 Paris Saint Germain 1
- Group B: Red Star Belgrade 3 Olympiakos 1; Tottenham Hotspur 2 Bayern Munich 7
- Group C: Atalanta 1 Shakhtar Donetsk 2; Manchester City 2 Dinamo Zagreb 0
- Group D: Juventus 3 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 0; Lokomotiv Moscow 0 Atlético Madrid 2
- Group E: KRC Genk 0 Napoli 0; Liverpool 4 FC Red Bull Salzburg 3
- Group F: Slavia Prague 0 Borussia Dortmund 2; Barcelona 2 Inter Milan 1
- Group G: RB Leipzig 0 Lyon 2; Zenit St Petersburg 3 Benfica 1
- Group H: Lille 1 Chelsea 2; Valencia 0 Ajax 3
Matchday three fixtures
Tuesday 22 October
- Group A: Club Bruges vs. Paris Saint Germain (8pm); Galatasaray vs. Real Madrid (8pm)
- Group B: Olympiakos vs. Bayern Munich (8pm); Tottenham Hotspur vs. Red Star Belgrade (8pm)
- Group C: Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Dinamo Zagreb (5.55pm); Manchester City vs. Atalanta (8pm)
- Group D: Atlético Madrid vs. Bayer 04 Leverkusen (5.55pm); Juventus vs. Lokomotiv Moscow (8pm)
Wednesday 23 October
- Group E: FC Red Bull Salzburg vs. Napoli (8pm); KRC Genk vs. Liverpool (8pm)
- Group F: Inter Milan vs. Borussia Dortmund (8pm); Slavia Prague vs. Barcelona (8pm)
- Group G: RB Leipzig vs. Zenit St Petersburg (5.55pm); Benfica vs. Lyon (8pm)
- Group H: Ajax vs. Chelsea (5.55pm); Lille vs. Valencia (8pm)
All matches are live across the BT Sport network.