Champions League - Group D
LiverpoolLiverpool2FC MidtjyllandFC Midtjylland0

Liverpool 2-0 FC Midtjylland: Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah score in Reds win

By Neil JohnstonBBC Sport
Diogo Jota scores for Liverpool against Midtjylland in the Champions League
Diogo Jota scored the 10,000th goal in all competitions in Liverpool's 128-year history

Liverpool moved two points clear at the top of Group D with victory over Champions League rookies FC Midtjylland on a night their defensive problems mounted with the loss of Fabinho to injury.

The Brazilian, who has slotted in alongside Joe Gomez in the centre of defence since the loss of Virgil van Dijk to a serious knee injury on 17 October, had to be replaced after suffering a suspected hamstring injury.

Starting without influential forwards Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, Liverpool failed to register an attempt on target in the first half.

They broke the deadlock after Trent Alexander-Arnold played a neat one-two with Xherdan Shaqiri, the former teeing-up Diogo Jota to tap home in front of an empty Kop.

Midtjylland went close to equalising after a clever shot on-the-turn by Brazilian substitute Evander.

In the end, Liverpool finished with Salah, Mane and Firmino on the pitch, Salah doubling the lead with a stoppage-time penalty after the Egypt forward was brought down by Paulinho.

With group rivals Atalanta and Ajax drawing 2-2 in Italy, Liverpool have six points from two games, two more than second-placed Atalanta, who they visit next Tuesday.

Liverpool labour to three points

Starting with none of their famed front three, Liverpool failed to manage a single first-half shot on target for the first time in 51 home games.

Divock Origi, Takumi Minamino and Xherdan Shaqiri all struggled to make an impact during a flat home performance as Jurgen Klopp looked to rest Mane, Salah and Firmino during a hectic run of fixtures.

Instead, the Liverpool boss was forced to send all three on to ensure Liverpool sealed the points.

The loss of Fabinho is a big worry with the Brazilian having performed well in Van Dijk's absence.

Liverpool's number three pulled up off the ball and slumped to the ground before being replaced by 19-year-old Rhys Williams, who came on as an 89th-minute substitute in the 1-0 win away to Ajax last week.

With Van Dijk set to miss the majority of the season and games coming thick and fast, Klopp will be hoping Fabinho's injury is not serious particularly as Joel Matip is also out injured.

Liverpool defender Fabinho sits on the pitch after sustaining an injury during the Champions League group game with Midtjylland
Fabinho has appeared in central defence in the absence of Virgil van Dijk, who suffered a serious knee injury on 17 October

Rookies give Reds a scare

Danish champions Midtjylland were only formed in 1999 and are playing in their first Champions League group campaign.

Having been beaten 4-0 at home to Atalanta last week, they put up a much better fight against the six-time champions of Europe.

One of European football's feel-good stories, Midtjylland almost took a shock early lead only for Alisson to save Liverpool's blushes to keep out former Brighton player Anders Dreyer following a ball over the top.

Moments before Salah doubled the lead in stoppage time Dreyer went close to equalising, going past Gomez but dinking over Alisson and into the side-netting.

Assist king - the best of the stats

  • Since his Liverpool debut in October 2016, Trent Alexander-Arnold has registered 35 assists in all competitions, with no Premier League defender managing more in that time.
  • Midtjylland became the 17th team to play their first ever Champions League away game against an English side - with all 17 failing to win and 15 losing.
  • Courtesy of his first Champions League goal since December 2016 (for Porto v Leicester), Diogo Jota has now scored in three of his four appearances for Liverpool at Anfield in all competitions.
  • Excluding qualifiers, Midtjylland have lost eight of their 10 away games in European competition (W1 D1).
  • Mohamed Salah has been involved in 10 goals in 10 Champions League group stage games at Anfield (9 goals, 1 assist).

What's next?

Liverpool are back in action at Anfield on Saturday when West Ham are the visitors (17:30 GMT).

Line-ups

Liverpool

  • 1Alisson
  • 66Alexander-Arnold
  • 3FabinhoSubstituted forR Williamsat 30'minutes
  • 12Gomez
  • 26Robertson
  • 23Shaqiri
  • 14HendersonSubstituted forWijnaldumat 45'minutes
  • 7MilnerBooked at 41mins
  • 20JotaSubstituted forFirminoat 81'minutes
  • 18MinaminoSubstituted forSalahat 61'minutes
  • 27OrigiSubstituted forManéat 60'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Wijnaldum
  • 9Firmino
  • 10Mané
  • 11Salah
  • 13Adrián
  • 17Jones
  • 46R Williams
  • 62Kelleher
  • 64Cain
  • 76N Williams

FC Midtjylland

  • 31Andersen
  • 6Andersson
  • 28Sviatchenko
  • 14ScholzBooked at 19mins
  • 29da SilvaBooked at 90mins
  • 40CajusteBooked at 32minsSubstituted forKraevat 81'minutes
  • 38Ogochukwu OnyekaBooked at 25mins
  • 36Dreyer
  • 7SistoSubstituted forda Silva Ferreiraat 72'minutes
  • 11MabilSubstituted forAndersonat 66'minutes
  • 9KabaSubstituted forPfeifferat 81'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Cools
  • 10da Silva Ferreira
  • 15Kraev
  • 16Thorsen
  • 25James
  • 26Vibe
  • 30Ottesen
  • 33Pfeiffer
  • 34Anderson
  • 43Madsen
  • 44Dyhr
  • 45Isaksen
Referee:
Pawel Raczkowski

Match Stats

Home TeamLiverpoolAway TeamFC Midtjylland
Possession
Home63%
Away37%
Shots
Home9
Away5
Shots on Target
Home2
Away1
Corners
Home3
Away2
Fouls
Home11
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Liverpool 2, FC Midtjylland 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Liverpool 2, FC Midtjylland 0.

  3. Post update

    Goal! Liverpool 2, FC Midtjylland 0. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the bottom right corner.

  4. Booking

    Paulinho (FC Midtjylland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  5. Post update

    Penalty Liverpool. Mohamed Salah draws a foul in the penalty area.

  6. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Paulinho (FC Midtjylland) after a foul in the penalty area.

  7. Post update

    Attempt missed. Anders Dreyer (FC Midtjylland) left footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Mikael Anderson.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Trent Alexander-Arnold.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool).

  10. Post update

    Frank Ogochukwu Onyeka (FC Midtjylland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Luca Pfeiffer (FC Midtjylland) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Joel Andersson with a cross.

  12. Post update

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

  13. Post update

    Foul by Mikael Anderson (FC Midtjylland).

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, FC Midtjylland. Luca Pfeiffer replaces Sory Kaba.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, FC Midtjylland. Bozhidar Kraev replaces Jens Cajuste.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Roberto Firmino replaces Diogo Jota.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Trent Alexander-Arnold.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Evander (FC Midtjylland) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Frank Ogochukwu Onyeka with a cross.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Evander (FC Midtjylland) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Xherdan Shaqiri (Liverpool).

Player of the match

Alexander-ArnoldTrent Alexander-Arnold

with an average of 7.68

Liverpool

  1. Squad number66Player nameAlexander-Arnold
    Average rating

    7.68

  2. Squad number20Player nameDiogo Jota
    Average rating

    7.33

  3. Squad number46Player nameR Williams
    Average rating

    7.13

  4. Squad number1Player nameAlisson
    Average rating

    6.98

  5. Squad number11Player nameMohamed Salah
    Average rating

    6.85

  6. Squad number26Player nameRobertson
    Average rating

    6.72

  7. Squad number23Player nameShaqiri
    Average rating

    6.51

  8. Squad number12Player nameGomez
    Average rating

    6.37

  9. Squad number7Player nameMilner
    Average rating

    6.34

  10. Squad number10Player nameMané
    Average rating

    6.30

  11. Squad number5Player nameWijnaldum
    Average rating

    6.29

  12. Squad number14Player nameHenderson
    Average rating

    6.26

  13. Squad number3Player nameFabinho
    Average rating

    5.98

  14. Squad number9Player nameRoberto Firmino
    Average rating

    5.77

  15. Squad number18Player nameMinamino
    Average rating

    5.40

  16. Squad number27Player nameOrigi
    Average rating

    4.66

FC Midtjylland

  1. Squad number36Player nameDreyer
    Average rating

    5.72

  2. Squad number31Player nameAndersen
    Average rating

    5.64

  3. Squad number28Player nameSviatchenko
    Average rating

    5.51

  4. Squad number14Player nameScholz
    Average rating

    5.49

  5. Squad number10Player nameEvander
    Average rating

    5.44

  6. Squad number6Player nameAndersson
    Average rating

    5.43

  7. Squad number9Player nameKaba
    Average rating

    5.38

  8. Squad number7Player nameSisto
    Average rating

    5.35

  9. Squad number29Player namePaulinho
    Average rating

    5.34

  10. Squad number38Player nameOgochukwu Onyeka
    Average rating

    5.33

  11. Squad number15Player nameKraev
    Average rating

    5.29

  12. Squad number11Player nameMabil
    Average rating

    5.18

  13. Squad number34Player nameAnderson
    Average rating

    5.15

  14. Squad number33Player namePfeiffer
    Average rating

    5.15

  15. Squad number40Player nameCajuste
    Average rating

    5.12

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