Salzburg (Austria) (AFP)
Double blow for Liverpool: Champion of the Champions League, shaken for 45 minutes, finally enforced his status on Tuesday in Salzburg (2-0), winning the qualification for the round of 16 and the first place in his group .
A draw was enough for the Austrian club to obtain a historic accession to the knockout stages of C1, but after this defeat he will have to settle for third place in the group and a sixteenth-final Europa League.
For the first time this season in the Champions League, the Reds have not conceded a goal. Not the kind to play the small arms, they have also made a point of ensuring the advantage of the field in the return match in the eighth, associated with the prospect of a less raised opponent in the draw on Monday.
We were curious to see how the holder was going to negotiate this game looking like a round of 16 return.
The Reds could not be quite serene, their surprisingly low statistics in the group stage before the match - only 2 victories over the last 11 games away from Anfield for 6 losses and 3 draws - no pleading not in their favor.
Their defensive fragility since the beginning of the season, added to the firepower of the Austrians, either.
And the men of Jürgen Klopp have actually suffered!
The diamond-shaped 4-4-2 set by Jesse Marsch, allowed powerful Erling Braut Haaland and fast Hwang Hee-Chan, backed by Matsui Minamino to challenge the red rearguard and press for the loss of the ball .
Best attack of the hen, Salzburg may regret not having materialized the few dangerous actions of the first period when 9 shots found the frame on both sides.
It must be said that goalkeeper Alisson was excellent.
Not hesitating to turn sometimes libero out of his surface to clear long openings in the back of the defense, he was also imperial on his line, intervening with a firm hand in a face-to-face. -face with Hwang in the 7th minute, then blocking a powerful Haaland strike in the 24th.
- Unclear Salah -
But almost as much as the risk of conceding a goal, it is the inability of Liverpool to score on his huge opportunities that has raised the tension among supporters of the Reds.
Mohamed Salah showed a very unusual lack of precision, striking the goalkeeper (5th), missing the frame after a perfect shift of Sadio Mané (29th), sending in the sky a new offering of the Senegalese (48th), or not being able to dribble the goalkeeper of a hook too short, on a caviar of Roberto Firmino (50th).
The beginning of the second period was harder for the Salzburgers, no doubt psychologically suffering to see that their incredible debauch of energy of the first act had not borne fruit.
And it is still Mané that came the action that has definitely rocked the match, concluded, as a symbol, by a former Salzburg Naby Keita.
The Senegalese infiltrated on the left of the box, pulling the goalkeeper towards him before getting to straighten the ball from a perfect dive center, taken over by Keita at the price of an impressive relaxation (0-1). 57th).
Exactly 100 seconds later, Salah forgot all his failures in the game by dribbling the goalkeeper out again on the adventure and getting to slide the ball into the small net opposite in an unlikely angle (0-2, 59th) .
Not only did the Liverpool club not take a goal, but it also made it clear that if it cariole leading the Premier League, defending its C1 trophy will also be one of its priorities.
© 2019 AFP