MX23RW : Saturday, June 19 09:39:11| >> :120:4509:4509:
Oct 2, 2019 at 8pm UK at Anfield
Attendance: 52,243
SalzburgRed Bull Salzburg
Mane (9'), Robertson (25'), Salah (36', 69')
FT(HT: 3-1)
Hwang (39'), Minamino (56'), Braut Haaland (60')

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

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Champions League Group E showdown between Liverpool and Red Bull Salzburg, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Liverpool welcome Red Bull Salzburg to Anfield on Wednesday night looking to kickstart their latest Champions League defence after losing their opener in Naples.

A 2-0 defeat to Napoli has left the holders playing catch-up in Group E, and this game promises to be another difficult test against a Salzburg side that hit six past Genk on matchday one.

Match preview

Napoli's Dries Mertens in action with Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk and Adrian on September 17, 2019© Reuters

For a team that has reached the last two Champions League finals and won the trophy for a sixth time in June, Liverpool have a few issues in the competition which need addressing.

Two late Napoli goals at the Stadio San Paolo on matchday one gave the scoreline a slightly misleading look, but it was still a fourth successive away group-stage defeat for the Reds, who have only won one of their last 10 away outings at this stage of the competition.

It is by no means time to hit the panic button yet, though, and Liverpool will be safe in the knowledge that their home form was enough to carry them through to the knockout stages - and ultimately all the way to the trophy - last season.

Three defeats from three on the road were offset by a 100% home record in the 2018-19 group stage, and Liverpool welcome Salzburg to Merseyside having avoided defeat in their last 22 European games on home turf, keeping clean sheets in each of their last five.

The most recent of those was arguably the greatest ever night at Anfield as Liverpool pulled off a miracle comeback with their unforgettable 4-0 win over Barcelona in the semi-finals, and the stadium is sure to be rocking again as Champions League football returns for the first time since that night.

Wednesday's match ends a run of four successive away games for Liverpool across all competitions, most recently a narrow 1-0 victory over Sheffield United on Saturday when they needed a Dean Henderson howler to squeeze past the newly-promoted Blades.

A win is a win regardless of how it comes, though, and that latest triumph maintained their 100% start to the Premier League season with seven wins from seven, maintaining the five-point lead over Manchester City.

Such faultless form will undoubtedly be tested during an upcoming run which sees Jurgen Klopp's side host Leicester City at the weekend before successive matches against Manchester United, Genk, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal after the international break.

Erling Braut Haaland in action for RB Salzburg on September 17, 2019© Reuters

For now the focus must solely be on beating a Salzburg side that announced themselves on the European stage with a 6-2 drubbing of Genk on matchday one, extending what has been a goal-laden start to the season.

The team's tally of 55 goals in just 12 games across all competitions would worry any defence in football, with Salzburg scoring five or more goals in seven of those outings, four or more in nine and at least twice in every game.

Nineteen-year-old Erling Haaland has been the chief goal-getter, notching 17 goals and four assists in 10 games for the club this term including four hat-tricks - one of which came on his Champions League debut against Genk.

The in-demand youngster would be a major miss for the visitors if he fails to recover from illness for this game, then, and would be gutted to miss out himself as he looks to prove that he is the real deal.

Matches like Wednesday's are exactly the type Salzburg will have been relishing having finally ended a run of seven successive eliminations in the qualifying stages, and they will arrive at Anfield with nothing to lose.

Liverpool form: WWLWWW

Red Bull Salzburg form: WWWDWW

Team News

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker goes down injured against Norwich on August 9, 2019© Reuters

First-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker is nearing a return from the calf injury which has ruled him out since the opening game of the season, but he will not be ready in time for this match.

The earliest the Brazilian could possibly make his comeback is the weekend match against Leicester City, with Liverpool hopeful that he will return to full training this week, but he is more likely to be held back until after the next international break.

Xherdan Shaqiri also remains sidelined with a calf problem of his own, while Nathaniel Clyne is a long-term absentee due to a knee injury. Joel Matip is also a slight doubt at centre-back after picking up a knock on Saturday, although if he is left out then it is likely to only be precautionary.

Klopp could decide to go for the experience of James Milner in midfield - as he did in Naples - but there are unlikely to be many major changes with Liverpool needing victory.

The Reds have two former Salzburg players in their ranks, with Sadio Mane on the books between 2012 and 2014 and Naby Keita winning back-to-back Austrian doubles in 2015 and 2016.

Salzburg's primary concern is over Haaland, who is a doubt for this game due to illness. The youngster is likely to start even if he is not 100%, though.

Antoine Bernede and Alexander Walke remain sidelined, but there is better news over the fitness of Marin Pongracic and Hee-Chan Hwang, both of whom returned from injury during Saturday's win over Austria Vienna.

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Mane

Salzburg possible starting lineup:
Stankovic; Kristensen, Ramalho, Wober, Ulmer; Szoboszlai, Junuzovic, Mwepu, Minamino; Hwang, Koita

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We say: Liverpool 3-1 Salzburg

Haaland fired a warning to Liverpool that Salzburg would be "fearless" at Anfield, but that may just be music to the home side's ears. If the visitors try to play their usual attacking game then it is likely to play right into Liverpool's hands as not many teams can match the Reds going forward.

Salzburg's attacking numbers mean that we are backing them to get a goal at Anfield, but they have also failed to keep a clean sheet in their last six games and Liverpool could enjoy themselves in what should be a more open match than they are used to at Anfield.

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Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker goes down injured against Norwich on August 9, 2019
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