Football

Free-scoring Salzburg pose threat to Liverpool’s hopes of progressing

Liverpool travel to Salzburg needing to avoid defeat by the confident Austrian champions to guard against an embarrassing Champions League group-stage exit for the holders tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

Juergen Klopp's men are used to getting through to the knockout stages the hard way.

In the past two seasons, they have needed home wins to secure a place in the last 16 before reaching the final.

However, the spectre of a free-scoring Salzburg, led by the Champions League's top scorer in Erling Braut Haaland, spells trouble for an injury-hit Reds' backline that has consistently leaked goals this season despite streaking clear at the top of the English Premier League.

The Reds recorded a first clean sheet in 14 games in Saturday's 3-0 win at Bournemouth, but lost another centre-back as Dejan Lovren limped off.

Should the Croat miss the trip to Austria, Joe Gomez will be Klopp's only fit partner for Virgil van Dijk in central defence.

"The next game where a clean sheet would be useful is already around the corner, against Salzburg on Tuesday," said Klopp.

That is easier said than done, as Liverpool know from their first meeting with Jesse Marsch's men in October.

The hosts seemed to be cruising to another Anfield win as they raced into a 3-0 lead, but Salzburg hit back to level at 3-3 before Mohamed Salah's winner ensured Liverpool edged a seven-goal thriller.

Salzburg have scored 87 goals in 24 games in all competitions this season, 28 of which have come from Norwegian Haaland in just 21 appearances.

Salzburg need to win to make the last 16.

A point would be enough for Liverpool to progress, but they need to win to secure top spot in Group E ahead of Napoli, who host Genk. - AFP.

Football