LIVERPOOL head to Austria on Tuesday night needing to avoid defeat to progress to the knockout stages. European football fanatic Jonny O'Sullivan (@libero_the) picks out his favourite fancies.
Salzburg v Liverpool | Tuesday 10th December 2019, 17:55 | BT Sport
Liverpool head into their last Champions League group-stage game needing to avoid defeat against a Salzburg side who have truly captured the imagination in the competition thus far.
The Austrian hosts, who may not have been everyone’s cup of tea given the club’s ownership, have been a breath of fresh air. Salzburg have made a group, which looked like simply a battle of between Napoli and Liverpool, entertaining and have showcased arguably the player of the competition so far – Erling Braut Haaland.
At home in the competition Salzburg absolutely bopped Genk off the park, winning an impressive 6-2 and were unlucky in their 2-3 defeat against a Napoli side who have been excellent in the Champions League this campaign.
Salzburg will also be buoyed by their impressive showing at Anfield. Even without starting their young hitman, the Austrians scored three goals and almost snatched a draw after being 3-0 down at a place where the likes of Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Manchester City have crumbled in the past couple of years.
Liverpool also live off a myth that they are defensively sound – their 3-0 win against a toothless Bournemouth brought them their first clean sheet since 28th September. If you attack the Reds, you can wreak havoc to a defence clearly missing the unsung Joel Matip.
For all the superlatives you can throw at Trent Alexander-Arnold's technique and crossing ability, he is a huge weakness defensively and if attacked can be massively exposed.
Salzburg have a potent attack which cannot be overlooked. They have scored Over 1.5 Goals at home in their last 11 matches in all competitions, scoring five or more in six of those matches. Of course, some of those matches are against teams far inferior to Liverpool, but to rack up these numbers can still be considered supremely impressive.
Salzburg have nothing to lose in this match and will look to be going out fighting if this is the end of their Champions League fairytale. Haaland is also looking on joining a select few players to have found the net in all six Champions League games.
Haaland has scored 28 goals in 21 games so far this season, including his eight goals in five matches in Europe's most prestigious competition. It would be no surprise to see the wonderboy slot his 29th goal in all competitions on Tuesday evening.
It’s 29/20 for the Norwegian striker to score and make history and that seems too good to turn down. Who does not want to back the ultimate fairytale football story?
In what should be an utterly thrilling night in Austria, all eyes will be on the hosts to see if they can cause a massive upset and knock the current holders off their perch, causing a huge dent in their near-flawless season.