our hearts are broken as the dream we longed for didn't come true. our heads are still held high though as we are extremely proud. confident too as our incredible european journey is continuing in the europa league and promises to have plenty more highlights in store.
We were ready and waiting to seize the moment! The game began at a truly frantic pace as Haaland and Hwang pushed Virgil van Dijk into showing his full defensive talents right from the start. It was Salah who had the first dangerous moment in the 5th minute of play, but Stankovic got the better of him.
The first half was defined more than anything by its hecticness. It felt like every time our boys touched the ball, our fans voiced their frenetic support. Hee Chan Hwang took the opportunity to charge into the box and play the ball across to Minamino, who was denied by Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson.
Our full throttle football left plenty of space for Liverpool to use in the first half too, with Sadio Mane posing a constant menace to our defence. Our Red Bulls seized the chance to shine in the high-pressure occasion and surged forward in fluid movements whenever possible. Domi Szoboszlai and Taki Minamino totally bossed the mighty Liverpool midfield. For all our good work, we lacked the end product though. As the clock ticked down, the challenges became more intensive and possession constantly swapped hands. Clear cut goal chances somehow remained elusive though.
In the last minute of the first half, Naby Keita almost gave LFC the lead only for Cican Stankovic to be the hero and keep us level 0-0 at half-time.
WOW! The second half started with as much intensity as the first. The fans had barely had time to digest their half-time snacks when Salah got a big opportunity. Stankovic raced off the goal line like lightening and pulled off an incredible save by diving at the feet of the Egyptian. Haaland was then suddenly alone in front of Alisson and if he had taken one touch less, he may just have been able to make more of the shot.
Then the unthinkable happened! Not once but twice! Firstly Sadio Mane left everyone behind and Cican Stankovic was tempted away from his line as the ball was chipped across to Naby Keita, who just had to head in (57'). Just a minute later, Stankovic was forced off his line again. This time Salah took the ball past him and rolled it across and into the net from the tightest of angles (58'). We were stunned, and the LFC fans roused out of their nervy slumber.
It was now truly all our nothing stuff! Jesse Marsch brought our speedy star Patson Daka onto the pitch. That suddenly gave us more options up front, and Taki had a chance when being picked out from a Patson cross. Liverpool were given more chances to break at the other end, with Mo Salah looking as dangerous as ever.
As tough as it is to admit it - there was no real life left in the game. We were 0-2 down with no prospect of mounting an incredible comeback. The Reds kept possession to blank expressions from our wonderful fans. It was clear that Liverpool were not Champions League winners for nothing. Coolness, cleverness and class are all things they have in abundance.
Our endless heart and courage allowed us to save face tonight but couldn't take us all the way to glory. The disappointing defeat makes us proud though as our incredible European journey takes us back into a competition we know and love, the Europa League.
We are very disappointed, as we played really good football, and we probably couldn't have played any better than in the first half. At the moment the disappointment is dominating, but in a couple of days we will be very proud.
It was a bit like a heavyweight boxing contest. We fought really hard, but they fought back. In the end they got two more punches in. That's how close the margin is between victory and defeat in the Champions League.
I couldn't possibly have more respect for Salzburg. They were incredibly strong, especially in the first half. We struggled with their intensity, and it was important that we were tactically disciplined and won the match with our concentration.
Daka for Junuzovic (68'), Okugawa for Haaland (75'), Ashimeru for Szoboszlai (89')
Not available for action
Bernede (shin bone), Farkas (health problems), Koita (stomach muscle injury)