Jesse Marsch’s Red Bull Salzburg was close to earning a massive point at the home of the defending UEFA Champions League winners on Wednesday. Although the Austrian side would fall 4-3 to Liverpool at Anfield, the former New York Red Bulls head coach praised his team for their overall effort in the loss.
After being down 3-0 after 36 minutes, Salzburg scored a goal before halftime to give them confidence heading into the locker room. Goals from Takumi Minamino and leading scorer Erling Braut Haaland leveled the match at 3-3 in the 60th minute and put Marsch and his team on cloud nine. Mohamed Salah answered back for Liverpool with his second goal of the night, which would stand as the winner, but it was a moment for American soccer fans to be proud of the job Marsch has done with Salzburg so far.
“We had too much respect for Liverpool at the start. That led to a lot of mistakes we should not have committed,” Marsch told the club website following the match. “We regained some confidence with our first goal. After that we did almost everything right. An unfortunate goal from Mo Salah denied us what would have been a deserved result tonight.
“I think the boys are a little disappointed,” Marsch added. “They realized that they went toe-to-toe with Liverpool here. It was an incredible performance from them. If we play like that from the start against Napoli, we have a good chance against them.”
Not only did Salzburg go toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the world, they grabbed confidence going forward that they can stand up against anybody. The Austrian side sits third in Group D with three points from its opening two matches under Marsch in the competition.
Liverpool did not play its best 90 minutes of football, conceding three goals in a 21-minute span to a side the Reds were expected to mow down. Jurgen Klopp’s side is with with Red Bull Salzburg on three points, but hold second place for now due to goal differential. Klopp was disappointed with his team for letting its three goals cushion slip away, but also credited Salzburg for taking advantage of the opportunity.
“We played possibly the best football of our season so far in the first 30 minutes. Then they changed their system and caused us problems,” Klopp said. “Salzburg refused to crack. Most games are over after 3-0. We allowed it to be closer than it should have been.”
“Salzburg were just fantastic. I said before that they are good, and they proved that on the pitch. We left the door open for them and they ran right through it.”
Both teams return to Champions League play on Oct. 23rd in which Salzburg hosts Napoli and Liverpool travels to Genk.