By Oliver Yew, Sky Sports News
Liverpool overcame a difficult night in Austria to book their place in the last 16 of the Champions League as Group E winners thanks to a 2-0 victory at Red Bull Salzburg.
Last season’s Champions League winners started the game needing to avoid defeat to book their spot in the knockout stages, and while they were tested during the first half by Salzburg’s vibrant attack, the Premier League side’s defence held firm.
Liverpool created chances of their own during what was a frantic opening 45 minutes, but they had to wait until the second half to break the deadlock, with Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah both scoring in the space of 100 seconds.
The goals knocked the wind out of Salzburg as Liverpool eased through the final 30 minutes and into Monday’s last-16 draw – which takes place in Nyon at 11am, UK time – as group winners, despite Napoli’s 4-0 win over Genk.
How Liverpool passed their Salzburg test
The game started in frantic fashion as Liverpool were looking to avoid the unwanted record of becoming the first Champions League winners since Chelsea in 2012/13 to exit the competition at the group stage. Twice Virgil van Dijk thwarted the hosts in the opening couple of minutes before Mohamed Salah forced Cican Stankovic into a smart save at his near post.
Salzburg continued to cause Klopp’s men problems as Hee-Chan Hwang forced Alisson Becker into action, but Liverpool also looked a threat on the counter-attack as Sadio Mane failed to hit the target from the edge of the penalty area.
Liverpool, who started to get a grip on the game, created another opening for Mane in the 20th minute and on this occasion the Senegal international hit the target. But Stankovic parried the ball away before Keita’s shot was blocked and Alexander-Arnold struck wildly over the crossbar.
Salah then spurned another glorious chance. After being teed up by Keita’s squared pass, the Egyptian forward dragged a left-footed shot wide of the near post.