Manuel Veth –
Salzburg vs Liverpool – Tuesday, December 10, 18:55GMT/19:55CET – Red Bull Arena, Salzburg, Austria
It might be the most anticipated game of matchday 6. Austrian champions FC Salzburg host Liverpool. A win and the Austrians will advance.
“I like our chances,” Salzburg head coach Jesse Marsch said on Monday. “I think we played well in the tournament. We were flexible, disciplined and played very well for a young team in their first Champions League season. We can play with freedom of confidence tomorrow.”
Marsch has in many ways written history at this tournament. The 45-year-old is the first coach from the United States to coach in the Champions League. “I feel the support from back home,” Marsch said on Monday. “But this isn’t about me. It is all about the club, the city and the people.”
For the 45-year-old, it will be all about a clear match plan against Liverpool. “Our match plan is always the same,” Marsch said. For the American key is to play a high press, be disciplined and defend well. Those are the key elements of Salzburg’s game anyhow.
Overall, the American seemed relaxed about the game. “Liverpool needed a result the last two years too,” Marsch said. “We see it as an opportunity for us to go into the game with a relaxed attitude.”
Liverpool are indeed in the pole position to advance. A win on Tuesday and the Reds will advance. The situation, however, is more complicated should Liverpool lose the game. That would put them and Salzburg on ten points.
Napoli are currently on nine points but hold the tiebreaking head-to-head. Should Liverpool lose their game they would only advance if Napoli also lose. Liverpool without a doubt have put a greater emphasis on the English Premier League this season. The Reds have not won the league title since 1990 and are eight points clear at the top of the table.
With that in mind, Liverpool might not have a total focus on the Champions League at the moment. At the same time, the Reds are always favourties and are expected to get the result they need on Tuesday in Salzburg.
Salzburg vs Liverpool – Players to look out for:
Erling Haaland #30 – Salzburg
There have been plenty of speculations regarding Erling Haaland in recent weeks. The Norwegian striker is second in Champions League scoring behind Robert Lewandowski. “I just focus on my job, playing football,” Haaland said on Monday. “To enjoy what I do every day and go into it with a clear mindset. My job is to focus on Salzburg to be here as a player,” Haaland pointed out. “It isn’t a new theme for us,” Marsch said about the transfer speculations. Salzburg are very much aware that it will be difficult to hang on to Haaland beyond January. “We just focus on the now,” Marsch said looking at Haaland, who nodded and smiled about the commend.
Sadio Mané #10 – Liverpool
Salzburg’s aggressive counter-press will be demanding for Liverpool’s entire lineup. But the high press and focus on a positive game plan will also create plenty of opportunities for the Reds. Liverpool’s Sadio Mané, in particular, seems predestined for a game like the one on Tuesday. Always dangerous and willing to win the ball anywhere on the pitch the Senegalese striker made his first steps at Salzburg before moving to England. As a result, Mané knows what to expect and how to counter Salzburg’s aggressive style of football.
Salzburg vs Liverpool – Match Stats
- Salzburg have registered 16 goals in their first five group games – only Group B qualifiers Bayern München (21) and Tottenham Hotspur (17) have scored more.
- Salzburg were unbeaten in 19 European home games, winning 15, until the defeat by Napoli on Matchday 4.
- The Austrian club have never beaten Premier League opposition, home and away, in five previous attempts (D1 L4), losing the last four matches.
- Liverpool have won eight of their last 11 European fixtures (D2 L1) but have lost seven of their last 12 UEFA competition matches outside England.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Salzburg vs Liverpool – 2-2
Salzburg vs Liverpool – Lineups
Stanković – Ulmer, Pongracic, Wöber, Kristensen – Minamino, Camara, Okugawa – Hwang – Daka, Haaland
Head Coach: Jesse Marsch
Alisson – Robertson, Lovren, van Dijk, Gomez – Milner, Keïta, Henderson – Mané, Firmino, Salah
Head Coach: Jürgen Klopp
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others, contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC, and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.