The last two seasons, Liverpool headed into the final game of the group stages with their Champions League future in doubt. This season it’s the same, though as group leaders and needing just a draw to ensure they advance isn’t the worst position for them to be in.
Meanwhile for opponents Red Bull Salzburg, in third and playing at home needing a win to advance, manager Jesse Marsch says there’s no pressure—because nobody really expects them to beat Liverpool, the tournament’s defending champions, at the end of the day.
“Liverpool in the last two years needed a result,” Marsh noted. “We see it as an opportunity for us to go into the game with a relaxed attitude. Our stadium had so much energy against Genk and Napoli, so it would be good if we can make it uncomfortable for them.”
Salzburg are underdogs, it’s true, but they’re also right to be confident—underdogs who know that they pushed Liverpool to the limit at Anfield in a match that ended 4-3 for the hosts and who will go into the game feeling as if they have nothing to lose tomorrow.
And for whoever fails to get the result they need on Tuesday evening, their European journey won’t be over, with the top three sides in Group E—Liverpool on 10 points, Napoli on nine, and Salzburg on seven—are assured of at least a place in the Europa League.
“Liverpool have great players, but we have to just play our usual football,” Marsh added. “They’ve so good in the pressing game so we have to be good on the ball—but that’s our game. It’s important for us to play free and determined, to be aggressive and press.”