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Mohamed Salah's Goal Lead Liverpool to Win vs. FC Salzburg in 2019 UCL Match

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 2, 2019

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02: Mohamed Salah of Liverpool celebrates with Sadio Mane after he scores his sides fourth goal during the UEFA Champions League group E match between Liverpool FC and RB Salzburg at Anfield on October 02, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Liverpool earned their first win of the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League by defeating Red Bull Salzburg 4-3 on Wednesday at Anfield.

Mohamed Salah scored the winner in the 69th minute to help Liverpool avoid what would've been a shocking capitulation. The reigning European champions led 3-0 after the 36th minute but saw Salzburg draw level after goals from Hwang Hee-chan, Takumi Nimamino and the equaliser from Erling Haaland in the 60th minute.

With Anfield still reeling from Salzburg's comeback, Roberto Firmino headed the ball through to Salah, who finished from close range to seal the victory. 

It was an uncharacteristic defensive breakdown from the Reds, who have allowed only five goals through seven Premier League matches. Their record in the Champions League has been just as good, at least in terms of avoiding heavy defeats.

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

3 - Liverpool have conceded three goals in a home Champions League game for the first time since October 2014, when they lost 3-0 to Real Madrid. Stunned. https://t.co/yE3Pbr9SXS

Squawka Football @Squawka

Hwang Hee-chan is the first player to score against Liverpool at Anfield in the Champions League since matchday one of the 2018/19 season. Their run of five straight clean sheets has finally come to an end. https://t.co/lBQHPUJ1K2

Minamino helped spark Salzburg's turnaround and was a big reason why they looked like a different side in the second half. The Japanese attacker was a handful for Liverpool throughout the final 45 minutes, both with his movement and creativity on the ball.

Simon Hughes @Simon_Hughes__

Understandably, lots of pre-match talk about Haaland (who came on as a sub and scored). Lots of talent in this Salzburg team, though. Hwang and Minamino the stand-out performers tonight.

Minamino scored Salzburg's second goal in the 56th minute and then set up Haaland's equalizer. His pass across the six-yard box left Haaland with a tap-in.

The Norwegian striker can't stop scoring. He already has 11 goals in eight Austrian Bundesliga fixtures, and he notched a hat trick in Salzburg's 6-2 demolition of Genk to open the group stage.

Haaland was battling an illness in the days leading up to the match, which left his status up in the air. He entered as a 56th-minute substitute and needed little time to make an impact.

B/R Football @brfootball

36': 0-3 61’: 3-3 Erling Haaland completes the comeback 😱 https://t.co/TgaE5vmNDp

Liverpool dropped their UCL opener 2-0 to Napoli, a score that's somewhat deceiving. The match was level until Dries Mertens scored from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute. Fernando Llorente added a second in injury time.

The Reds were clear favorites against Salzburg and showed exactly why early on. Sadio Mane got the first goal in the ninth minute before Andy Robertson doubled Liverpool's lead in the 25th minute.

Then came Salah's first goal to give the home side what appeared to be an unassailable advantage.

Perhaps Liverpool's brilliant start led their players to lose a bit of edge thinking the job was done.

In addition, Salzburg already entered with a mindset they had nothing to lose. Their manager, Jesse Marsch, called coming into Anfield on a European night "mission impossible." Getting a goal back before halftime was exactly what Marsch needed to motivate his players for the second half.

With the result, Salzburg slip to second in Group E on three points. Liverpool are level on points with the Austrian champions but sit in third on goal differential.

         

What's Next?

Liverpool have a tricky fixture against Leicester City on Saturday in the Premier League. They return to the Champions League on October 23 against Genk. Salzburg face Rheindorf Altach on Saturday in the Austrian Bundesliga and meet Napoli in their next European meeting.

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