Liverpool 4 RB Salzburg 3: Salah seals win after Klopp’s men blew THREE-GOAL lead in Champions League thriller

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CHAMPIONS of Europe?

For 21 minutes, in the most dramatic spell of football since we last had a Champions League game at Anfield, Liverpool were having a laugh.

Mo Salah spared Liverpool’s blushes as he popped up to seal victory over RB Salzburg
Erling Haaland came off the bench to grab an equaliser after the visitors had trailed 3-0 at Anfield
The Egyptian almost immediately went up the other end and fired Liverpool back in front to secure the points
Getty Images

Ultimately, Jurgen Klopp’s team overcame a brave, outstanding recovery from Salzburg who, after going 3-0 down in the 36th minute, looked as though they had all had an extra strong dose of a certain energy drink injected into their veins.

American coach Jesse Marsch and his team of Austrian upstarts scared the living daylights out of a Liverpool team who, if they could, would put a trademark over famous European recoveries, the 4-0 win over Barcelona being the obvious one.

But while Barcelona, with Porto, Bayern Munich, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade before them, having all failed to score at Anfield – the last marksman in the Champions League on Merseyside was Kylian Mbappe of PSG a year ago – Salzburg delivered something remarkable and highly commendable.

Young striker Erling Haaland, only on the bench because he had been sick, scored his 18th goal in 11 games but Liverpool still deserved their win.

But here, there were lessons for Klopp. We had that rare sight of Virgil Van Dijk being taken apart and the rest of his defence was not much better.

After losing the first game 2-0 to Napoli, it was vital Liverpool got the win but there were as many negatives than positives in what was an extraordinary, mind-boggling, entertaining game of football.

It had, after all, been 24 hours since we were last on the edge of our seats for a crazy Euro match.

With 36 minutes gone, Liverpool led 3-0 and Salzburg – playing their first Champions League group match since 1994 – looked hopelessly out of their depth and it threatened to become a humiliation.

It was an absolute certainty that Mane, who made his name at Salzburg before joining Southampton, would score at some time and he took just a few minutes.

Champions League Table

He had a hell of a lot of work to do when receiving the ball from Andy Robertson out on the left but drove past Rasmus Kristensen, played a one- two with Bobby Firmino and delivered a smooth finish to roll the displayed a smooth finish the ball past keeper Cican Stankovic

Mane kissed the Anfield turf after scoring but this celebration was nothing compared to Robertson’s.

It was the sort of trademark clinical finish that a fellow Scotsman by the name of Kenny Dalglish would have been proud of scoring, albeit several decades ago, here at Anfield.

Adrian started the 17-pass move, with Robertson involved at the 12th stage of this work of art. He stormed forward before finding Jordan Henderson, Robertson carried on running and then got across defender Jerome Onguene to deliver the killer finish from close range by guiding the ball into the net. It was only his second goal for Liverpool so no wonder he celebrated the way he did.

Robertson also played a part in the third goal, albeit a smaller one, which saw Stankovic spill a header from Bobby Firmino right in front of Salah who is never going to miss from seven yards.

This was match over, surely.

Salzburg had scored 55 goals in their previous 12 games and despite struggling at the back, had shown a few glimpses they could pack a punch up front.

Yet when Hee-Chan Hwang twisted past Dutch international Van Dijk before smashing the ball past Adrian six minutes before the break, this was surely just a one-off.

But the impressive visitors, whose aim is to at least finish third and land a Europa League place, proved why they should not be underestimated.

The impressive Hwang crossed from the left after a quickly-taken free-kick and Minamino kept his volley down and scored past Adrian.

Smelling blood, Salzburg brought on their young star Haaland who would have been devastated at only being named on the bench.

But unbelievably, on the hour, they levelled and it was so easy and so embarrassing for the home side. Van Dijk and Joe Gomez were all at fault and Minamino squared for Haaland, whose dad played for Leeds and is dreaming of winning the Premier League title with the Yorkshire club.

On nights like this, Haaland proved that maybe anything is possible.

Rather than lose their heads, Klopp’s team – using their experience – stayed calm and became stronger.

Salah reacted quicker than everyone else and the ball bounced nicely for him to hammer the ball past Stankovic for 4-3.

It was yet another thrilling European night at Anfield but with Genk and Napoli yet to visit in Group E, the locals would probably settle for some contests on the boring side.

Sadio Mane gave Liverpool the lead inside the opening ten minutes
AP:Associated Press
Andy Robertson, pictured celebrating with Trent Alexander-Arnold, doubled the advantage midway through the first half
Salah added a third before the break as the Red threatened to run riot
He then popped up to put them back ahead after they had let their three-goal advantage slip
PA:Press Association