Champions League - Group E
LiverpoolLiverpool4RB SalzburgFC Red Bull Salzburg3

Liverpool 4-3 Red Bull Salzburg: Holders win seven-goal thriller

By Gary RoseBBC Sport at Anfield
Sadio Mane
Mane played for two seasons at Salzburg before joining Southampton in 2014

Liverpool held off a stunning fightback by Red Bull Salzburg to get their Champions League defence up and running with victory in an incredible game at Anfield.

The visitors trailed 3-0 in the first half but battled back to 3-3 before Mohamed Salah grabbed the winner midway through the second half.

Liverpool lost their Group E opener to Napoli last month but got off to the ideal start in this game when former Salzburg player Sadio Mane struck inside 10 minutes, sweeping home at the near post.

Andrew Robertson turned in a cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold before Salah poked a third under keeper Cican Stanokovic.

It seemed as though the game was over as a contest 10 minutes before half-time.

But Salzburg, like Liverpool, have scored goals for fun this season - 40 in nine league games - and began their fightback when Hwang Hee-chan got the better of Virgil van Dijk before scoring with a powerful strike.

The visitors reduced the deficit further when Takumi Minamino volleyed in and the away fans erupted when substitute Erling Braut Haaland tapped in an equaliser - his 18th goal of the season.

Salah finally got Liverpool over the line when he latched on to Roberto Firmino's header and scored with a fierce strike.

Deadly in attack, indecisive in defence

Liverpool have not lost at Anfield in Europe since 2014, winning 16 and drawing seven of their games before Salzburg's visit.

It looked like win number 17 was going to be a formality with the Reds at their clinical best in a devastating first-half display, scoring from three of their four shots on target.

While scoring is undoubtedly Liverpool's strength, this game once again raised concerns about their defence.

They have kept only three clean sheets this season - against Burnley and Sheffield United in the Premier League and against MK Dons in the Carabao Cup - and against an attack as prolific as Salzburg's they struggled to cope.

Van Dijk has undoubtedly been a rock for Liverpool but this game perhaps underlined the importance of Joel Matip to their defence as well - the Cameroon international missed the match through injury.

Salzburg rise to the occasion

All talk pre-match about Red Bull Salzburg had been focused on their in-form striker Haaland.

The Leeds-born 19-year-old, son of ex-Leeds United midfield Alf Inge Haaland, had scored 17 goals in 11 games before the game, including a hat-trick in Salzburg's 6-2 defeat of Genk in their group opener.

Illness restricted Haaland to a place on the bench against Liverpool but, while he is undoubtedly a key player for the Austrian side, they have plenty of goals in the rest of the team.

The visitors were the first to threaten in the opening few minutes when Minamino flashed a shot just wide and there were other chances as well, with Patson Daka hesitating when in on goal, allowing Liverpool to recover.

In the end, they fell just short but the away fans were cheering and singing long after the final whistle. This performance against the Champions League holders will have felt like a victory.

Man of the match - Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Mohamed Salah
Salah needs just five more goals to surpass Steven Gerrard's record of 21 in the Champions League for Liverpool

What next?

Liverpool return to Premier League action this weekend as they host in-form Leicester City on Saturday (15:00 BST).

Salzburg the entertainers - the stats

  • Liverpool have won their past 12 home matches in all competitions, their best since an 18-game streak between April and November 1985.
  • Red Bull Salzburg became only the fourth visiting team to score three goals at Anfield in the Champions League (after Barcelona, Chelsea and Real Madrid), and the only one of those four to fail to win.
  • Since the start of the 2017-18 season, there have been 47 goals scored in Champions League games at Anfield - more than at any other venue.
  • Since the start of tha, Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino is the only player to have both scored (14) and assisted (10) at least 10 goals in the Champions League.
  • Salzburg's two Champions League matches this season have featured 15 goals (9 scored, 6 conceded), more than any other team.
  • Salzburg's Hwang Hee-chan has had a hand in five goals in only two Champions League games this season (2 goals, 3 assists).
  • Liverpool forward Sadio Mane became the sixth African to score 15 Champions League goals, with only Didier Drogba reaching that tally in fewer games (25) than Mane (26).

Line-ups

Liverpool

  • 13Adrián
  • 66Alexander-Arnold
  • 12Gomez
  • 4van Dijk
  • 26Robertson
  • 14HendersonSubstituted forMilnerat 62'minutes
  • 3FabinhoBooked at 86mins
  • 5WijnaldumSubstituted forOrigiat 64'minutes
  • 11SalahSubstituted forKeitaat 90+1'minutes
  • 9Firmino
  • 10Mané

Substitutes

  • 6Lovren
  • 7Milner
  • 8Keita
  • 15Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 20Lallana
  • 27Origi
  • 62Kelleher

RB Salzburg

  • 1Stankovic
  • 43Kristensen
  • 6Onguéné
  • 39Wöber
  • 17Ulmer
  • 18Minamino
  • 45Mwepu
  • 16JunuzovicSubstituted forAshimeruat 78'minutes
  • 14SzoboszlaiSubstituted forOkugawaat 71'minutes
  • 20DakaSubstituted forHaalandat 56'minutes
  • 9Hwang Hee-Chan

Substitutes

  • 4Ashimeru
  • 7Koita
  • 15Ramalho
  • 23Köhn
  • 25Farkas
  • 30Haaland
  • 37Okugawa
Referee:
Andreas Ekberg
Attendance:
52,243

Match Stats

Home TeamLiverpoolAway TeamRB Salzburg
Possession
Home70%
Away30%
Shots
Home10
Away10
Shots on Target
Home5
Away5
Corners
Home6
Away2
Fouls
Home7
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Liverpool 4, FC Red Bull Salzburg 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Liverpool 4, FC Red Bull Salzburg 3.

  3. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Naby Keita replaces Mohamed Salah.

  4. Post update

    Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Enock Mwepu (FC Red Bull Salzburg).

  6. Post update

    Fabinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Hwang Hee-Chan (FC Red Bull Salzburg).

  8. Booking

    Fabinho (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Fabinho (Liverpool).

  10. Post update

    Majeed Ashimeru (FC Red Bull Salzburg) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  11. Post update

    Joseph Gomez (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Masaya Okugawa (FC Red Bull Salzburg).

  13. Post update

    Foul by Joseph Gomez (Liverpool).

  14. Post update

    Hwang Hee-Chan (FC Red Bull Salzburg) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, FC Red Bull Salzburg. Majeed Ashimeru replaces Zlatko Junuzovic.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Zlatko Junuzovic.

  17. Post update

    Attempt blocked. James Milner (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Mohamed Salah.

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Sadio Mané.

  19. Post update

    Attempt saved. Masaya Okugawa (FC Red Bull Salzburg) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Zlatko Junuzovic.

  20. Post update

    Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Maximilian Wöber.

Comments

Join the conversation

These comments are now closed.

1030 comments

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1PSG22004046
2Club Bruges20202202
3Galatasaray201101-11
4Real Madrid201125-31

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Bayern Munich220010286
2Red Star Belgrade210134-13
3Tottenham201149-51
4Olympiakos201135-21

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City22005056
2Dinamo Zagreb21014223
3Shakhtar Donetsk210124-23
4Atalanta200216-50

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Juventus21105234
2Atl Madrid21104224
3Lokomotiv Moscow210123-13
4B Leverkusen200215-40

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Napoli21102024
2Liverpool210145-13
3RB Salzburg21019633
4KRC Genk201126-41

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1B Dortmund21102024
2Barcelona21102114
3Slavia Prague201113-21
4Inter Milan201123-11

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Zenit St Petersburg21104224
2Lyon21103124
3RB Leipzig210123-13
4Benfica200225-30

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Ajax22006066
2Valencia210113-23
3Chelsea21012203
4Lille200215-40
View full Champions League tables

Top Stories

Explore the BBC