MX23RW : Monday, January 20 22:10:09| >> :600:3651917:3651917:
Dec 10, 2019 at 5.55pm UK at ​Red Bull Arena
Attendance: 29,520
SalzburgRed Bull Salzburg
0-2
Liverpool
FT(HT: 0-0)
Keita (57'), Salah (58')

Preview: Red Bull Salzburg vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday night's crucial Champions League Group E clash between Red Bull Salzburg and holders Liverpool, including predictions, team news and lineups.

It is all to play for when Red Bull Salzburg welcome Liverpool to the Red Bull Arena on Tuesday night, with both sides knowing that victory could seal their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Holders Liverpool lead the way in Group E heading into the final matchday and only need to avoid defeat to progress, but a win for Salzburg would likely see them leapfrog the European champions via the head-to-head rule.


Match preview

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp before the match on December 7, 2019© Reuters

For the second season in a row, Liverpool's hopes of still being in the Champions League in the new year have gone down to the final game of the group stage.

Last term saw them beat Napoli at Anfield to secure their progress and ultimately enable them to go on and lift the trophy for a sixth time, and their task this time around is easier on paper - simply avoiding defeat will be enough, while a victory will guarantee top spot.

However, Liverpool will be wary of underestimating a Salzburg side that gave them a major scare with a three-goal comeback in the reverse fixture, and those strikes at Anfield mean that any win for Salzburg by a better scoreline than their own 4-3 defeat would see the Austrian outfit finish above Liverpool.

Defeat could still see the Reds progress, although they would likely need an unexpected favour from Genk when they take on Napoli for that to be the case.

Liverpool are a team firmly in a winning habit, though, and they will be eager to keep that going as the games continue to come thick and fast in a hectic December fixture schedule.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their third goal on December 7, 2019© Reuters

Jurgen Klopp has rotated heavily in the first two games of the month and things could hardly have gone better so far, with a 5-2 Merseyside derby thrashing of Everton being followed up by another three-goal triumph over Bournemouth on Saturday.

Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of the one-sided match at Dean Court was a first clean sheet in 14 games and only their fourth across all competitions this season, all of which have come away from home.

Improved defensive solidity would be a timely boost against a Salzburg side that has scored 16 goals in their five group games so far and plundered a whopping 94 in 25 outings across all competitions.

Salzburg's league exploits have still not been quite as impressive as Liverpool's, though, with the Reds eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table - and 14 above champions Manchester City - having won 15 and drawn one of their 16 games this term.

It is in the Champions League that they have had most of their troubles, falling to their only defeat of the campaign at Napoli before drawing against the Italian outfit in the return fixture, while Salzburg themselves caused them plenty of problems at Anfield.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scores their fourth goal against Red Bull Salzburg on October 2, 2019© Reuters

The Reds did at least beat Genk on matchday four to end a run of four successive away defeats in the group stages of the competition, although they have still only won two of their last 11 such games and have lost seven of their last 12 European outings outside England.

There is hope for Salzburg, then, and there is no doubt that Tuesday's hosts have made an impact on the competition having finally ended their long wait to reach the group stages.

On seven consecutive occasions Salzburg were beaten in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League before this season, which is their first in the competition proper since 1994-95.

The Austrian outfit finished third in the group on that occasion and are favourites to suffer the same fate this time around, but victory over the reigning European champions would be some way to book a place in the knockout rounds and they would certainly be there on merit too.

Erling Braut Haaland celebrates scoring for Salzburg on October 23, 2019© Reuters

Genk are the only team Jesse Marsch's side have been able to beat in the group stages so far, though, and they lost 3-2 at home to Napoli on matchday four - their first home European defeat in 20 games but one which could prove costly.

Salzburg have never beaten Premier League opposition before but know that they must end that duck if they are to stand any chance of reaching the knockout rounds, which would also be a first for the club.

Toppling a Liverpool team in such relentless form will of course be a big ask, but Salzburg are also a club with a winning habit having won 18 of 25 across all competitions this season.

The significant goal threat they possess means that they can never be ruled out of any game either, so they will fancy their chances of causing an upset on Tuesday even if most will have them as big underdogs to get the win they need.

Salzburg Champions League form: WLLDW
Salzburg form (all competitions): DWDWDW

Liverpool Champions League form: LWWWD
Liverpool form (all competitions): WWDWWW


Team News

Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Liverpool against Napoli in the Champions League on November 27, 2019.© Reuters

Klopp was quick to play down concerns over the injury picked up by Dejan Lovren during Saturday's win at Bournemouth, suggesting that it was nothing more serious than cramp, and the Croatian has been included in the squad to travel to Austria.

A similar issue kept both Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana out of that match and, while Wijnaldum joins Lovren in the travelling party for this one, Lallana remains out and Lovren could be left on the bench as a precaution.

Should that be the case then Joe Gomez will partner Virgil van Dijk at the heart of the defence with Joel Matip still sidelined, while Trent Alexander-Arnold will return to the starting lineup after being left out at the weekend.

Klopp made no fewer than seven changes for the trip to Dean Court and could continue his recent rotation plans, with former Salzburg player Sadio Mane among those hoping to come back into the side.

Another Salzburg alumnus Naby Keita was on the scoresheet in a rare start at the weekend and will hope to have done enough to keep his place, although Xherdan Shaqiri is among those pushing for a recall.

Erling Braut Haaland is expected to join that list of former Salzburg players at top clubs in the future, with the 19-year-old having scored 28 goals in just 21 appearances this season, including netting in every Champions League game and registering five hat-tricks.

The in-demand youngster is by no means Salzburg's only goal threat, though; Patson Daka has 13 goals in 16 league games, while Hwang Hee-Chan and Takumi Minamino were both on the scoresheet at Anfield.

Sekou Koita, Patrick Farkas and Antoine Bernede are absent for the hosts, but goalkeeper Cican Stankovic is now back available after overcoming a thigh injury.

Salzburg possible starting lineup:
Stankovic; Kristensen, Onguene, Wober, Ulmer; Mwepu, Junuzovic, Szoboszlai, Minamino; Daka, Haaland

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane


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We say: Salzburg 2-3 Liverpool

Salzburg games almost guarantee goals, and with Liverpool far from convincing at the back so far this season this could be a high-scoring affair. There is some top-class attacking talent on show and ultimately we are backing the reigning champions to have the experience and knowhow to get the result they need to secure top spot.


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Who will win Tuesday's Champions League clash between Salzburg and Liverpool?

Salzburg
Draw
Liverpool
Salzburg
0.0%
Draw
0.0%
Liverpool
0.0%
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool22211052143864
2Manchester CityMan City23153564273748
3Leicester CityLeicester23143648232545
4Chelsea2312383930939
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd239773627934
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2381053430434
7Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd238962522333
8Tottenham HotspurSpurs238783631531
9Crystal Palace237972226-430
10Arsenal2361163032-229
11Everton2385102633-729
12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2385102234-1229
13Southampton2384112942-1328
14Burnley2383122638-1227
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2367102631-525
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham2265112634-823
17Watford2358102034-1423
18Aston Villa2364132944-1522
19Bournemouth2355132036-1620
20Norwich CityNorwich2345142345-2217

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