Liverpool are through to the last-16 of the Champions League as group winners after a 2-0 win away to Red Bull Salzburg. How only two goals were scored in the 90 minutes is anyone’s guess; on another day, Mo Salah alone would have had 5. Top of the Premier League and winning the Champions League group is a pretty perfect start to the season for the Reds.
As for the individual performances, in goal Alisson had a very solid outing. He was needed on a few occasions in the first half and, while he wasn’t required to make any incredible saves, the stops he did make were very important.
In defence, although Salzburg had their dangerous moments, they did not create any clear-cut chances and the back 4 should get a lot of credit for that. Trent and Robertson were not as offensive as they usually might be, perhaps due to the knowledge of Salzburg’s quality on the counterattack. A lot was spoken of Erling Braut Håland before the game, however he failed to have any real impact on the match.
In midfield, Gini Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita started together. All three had good games with Naby Keita arguably the most impressive of the 3. He was brilliant against Bournemouth on the weekend and he continued that form against Salzburg. He helped himself to yet another goal, while his offensive running was something to behold. The way he glides past players so effortlessly is a genuine joy to watch. The Guinean adds something to the midfield that no other player in the squad can and, if he can stay fit for a significant length of time, will be a vital cog in the red machine.
The attack was a bit of a mixed bag. Sadio Mane was electric throughout the entire match, impossible to contain with fouls the only way to stop him. His incredible pace helped create the opener for Naby Keita as he darted away from a Salzburg defender and latched onto his own touch just before the goalkeeper, before dinking a cross onto Keita’s head. Roberto Firmino had a difficult game. He just wasn’t at it for the 75 minutes that he was on the pitch; his touch was off, took too long on the ball on a few occasions and just couldn’t affect the game sufficiently. As for Mo Salah, he missed 3 or 4 absolute sitters, yet also scored a borderline impossible goal to put us 2-0 ahead and virtually seal the match. Thankfully the missed chances didn’t cost us the points and we can instead admire the quite brilliant finish that he did manage to find the back of the net with.
The Man of the Match this time, though, is going to go to Naby Keita. Another goal and another excellent performance after being in the dark for so long. It’s fantastic to see him in this form and I’m sure we all are desperate for him to carry on performing in this manner and, most importantly, staying injury-free.