Jurgen Klopp admitted to being “tense” ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League Group E clash with FC Salzburg, but as it turned out, he had nothing to worry about in a 2-0 win.
There was to be no humiliation in the Austrian Alps as Liverpool marched on in pursuit of a sackful of trophies this season. Having weathered the first-half storm against Salzburg to ultimately coast to victory, Liverpool secured their place in next Monday’s
Round of 16 draw as one of the seeded group winners. Almost half a season has been played, and Liverpool are suddenly looking like a team that could sweep the board in terms of silverware.
As runaway Premier League leaders, Liverpool are favourites to win their first league title since 1990, while the reigning European champions will enter the Champions
League knockout stages as the team to beat in Europe, too.They already have the UEFA Super Cup in the bag following the penalty shoot-out win against Chelsea in Istanbul earlier this season and are favourites to return from Qatar as FIFA Club World Cup winners later this month.
If their youth team can pull off a shock by winning their Carabao Cup quarterfinal at Aston Villa on December 17, while the seniors are in Qatar, Manchester City’s domestic Treble last season might begin to look insignificant in comparison.
Nobody would sensibly suggest that Liverpool will win every competition they enter this season, but they are certainly the dominant force in Europe right now, and beating
Salzburg in Austria offered a reminder of their ability to get a result when it matters.“What a team. What an effort,” Klopp said. “It was a tough game, but we had so many sensational performances.
“This kind of attitude, it’s great. A tricky one, but we did it. “I couldn’t have more respect for what Salzburg are doing, but I love it, really love it, that my team are smart, they listen and put in a shift like that.” Having navigated a difficult group to qualify, Liverpool now enter the stage of the
competition that they have come to master over the past two years. Due to that experience, no team will be favourites in a two-leg tie against Liverpool in the knockout stages.
The advantage of playing at Anfield may have become a cliche, but the incredible performances against Barcelona last season and City the year before underline the unique power Liverpool gain when playing in front of their own fans.