There were a few nervous moments but Liverpool have qualified for the last-16 of this season’s Champions League after running out 2-0 winners at Red Bull Salzburg.
A header from Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah’s incredible finish from a tight angle saw Jurgen Klopp’s men through on a night where they survived a few scares from the home side but also missed a catalogue of chances themselves.
A raucous atmosphere greeted the players as they stepped out and the game got off to the frenetic start everyone predicted with Alisson Becker called into action while Salah fired a shot straight at Cican Stankovic.
Alisson, who made THAT stunning save against Napoli at the same stage last season, then made a brilliant double save on 7 minutes, while Sadio Mane’s curling effort went just wide of the post.
The hosts, who of course needed a win to progress, tested Alisson once more with efforts from Hwang Hee-chan and deadly striker Erling Braut Haaland.
But Liverpool would always have chance on the counter-attack and should have taken the lead on 29 minutes when Keita slid in Salah but the Egyptian could only drag his shot from the right wide.
Salah then gave Keita a chance but the midfielder’s effort went straight at the keeper as the game was somehow goalless at half time.
It looked as though it was going to be one of those nights for Salah as he missed another two glorious chances and Liverpool were nearly punished moments after the second one when Haaland found space but could only find the side netting with his left foot.
But then the breakthrough came for Jurgen Klopp’s men on 56 minutes when Sadio Mane was played through on the left – the Senegalese crossing the ball into the middle with Stankovic in no man’s land, and Keita was on hand to nod the ball home to the relief of all Kopites.
And Liverpool’s place in the last-16 was all-but sealed less than 100 seconds later when Salah finally got his goal and what a goal it was.
Salah capitalised on a defensive error but the chance appeared to be gone when he took the ball round Stankovic as he was basically on the byline when he took the shot but Salah somehow managed to squeeze the ball into the net from the most acute angle.
It knocked the stuffing out of Salzburg and all the chances fell to the visitors after that but Klopp’s men settled for the 2-0 win and they even qualified top of Group E despite Napoli’s 4-0 win over Genk.