Liverpool 4-3 FC Red Bull Salzburg: Reds recover to win seven-goal thriller
Image: Getty Images/Paul Ellis

Liverpool were able to rebuff a sensational Red Bull Salzburg comeback, securing the first three points of their Champions League defence.

Story of the match

Liverpool came into the match on the back of a 2-0 loss to Napoli in their opening European fixture and a victory was already vital for Jurgen Klopp's side. The visitors were coming into this one having scored 58 goals in their opening 12 fixtures this season, including six in matchday one against KRC Genk.

Liverpool began the game with their usual attacking flamboyance with Roberto Firmino and Jordan Henderson linking up well early on. The early pressure told within nine minutes as a fluid move down the left hand side saw Sadio Mane and Firmino play a majestic one-two which allowed Mane to roll the ball past the keeper and secure an early lead against his former side.

The lead was doubled when the exceptional full back duo of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson linked up, the latter putting it on a plate for the Scot to finish off a move he started within his own half. A dominant first 40 minutes was capped off by Mohamed Salah firing in a rebound which the Salzburg keeper could only parry into his path, saving from a deft Firmino header.

Some of that early dominance was undone just before the break as Hwang Hee-Chan scored a brilliant effort, beating Virgil Van-Dijk before firing one into the far corner past a helpless Adrian.

Salzburg came into the second half determined to play their attacking, free-flowing football and that paid dividends as they were able to score twice before the hour mark, completing the three goal turnaround.

The first of their second half goals came through the lively Takumi Minamino, scoring a delightful volley to cap off a brilliant team move. The Japanese forward then turned provider thanks to some indifferent Liverpool defending. The Salzburg no.18 found himself in behind and was able to square the ball to the prolific Erling Braut Haaland, who converted the chance with his first touch of the match.

The Reds were then able to secure the three points thanks to a smart Mo Salah finish, firing the ball past the keeper after another Firmino header. Salah's second proved enough to ensure Liverpool did not come away with only a point from the first two Champions League matchdays.

Takeaways from the match

Poor game management

After blowing away the Austrian outfit in the first 40 minutes, Hwang Hee-Chan's goal should have proved enough of a sign for LFC to come out after the break and consolidate their lead.

Had Jurgen Klopp's side come out after the break and retained possession in order to take the sting out of the match, second half proceedings could have gone another way entirely.

Instead the Premier League side were dragged into an end-to-end thriller which left the game incredibly open allowing both sides to create chances at will. With the likes of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson in midfield and the experience that this Liverpool side possess in Europe, it was surprising to see the men in red not adopt a more conservative second half approach.

Salzburg in the goals

As highlighted earlier, this Salzburg side have real pedigree in front of goal this season and they were not afraid to come to Anfield and continue in that vein.

Coming to the European Champions in one of the most hostile atmospheres in the competition was not enough to stop Jesse Marsch's side from expressing themselves on the biggest stage.

Napoli and Liverpool are deservedly clear favourites to make it out of Group E but this Salzburg side are clearly capable of making it difficult for those two giants.

Matip over Gomez

Joe Gomez was preferred to Joel Matip tonight but the young English defender was unable to prove why he should be selected over the Cameroon international.

Twelve months ago the majority of LFC fans would have been in favour of Gomez partnering Van-Dijk in defence but Joel Matip has clearly established himself as the second centre half this season.

Gomez looked unconvincing against the Salzburg attack and failed to instil the confidence in Liverpool fans that Matip has offered since the injury to Gomez last season.

Stand out player

Mohamed Salah was the difference on the night, scoring the winner as well as his side's third earlier in the piece. The finish to secure his brace was one of a true goalscorer, making a deadly run in behind before calmly dispatching the ball into the back of the net. It was a performance to remind everyone that despite the sensational start to the season his teammates Mané and Firmino have enjoyed, the Egyptian is still very much one of Europe's premier players.