Champions League: Liverpool in eye of storm against Salzburg

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 10, 2019, 08.33 PM(IST)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Liverpool is unlikely to have it easy against Salzburg who gave them a mighty scare in a 4-3 defeat at Anfield earlier in the group stage.

The final round of group stage matches in the UEFA Champions League gets underway today. Eight teams are already through to the knockouts, the eight others who will join them will be decided over the next two days.

Holders Liverpool is in a small group of heavyweights in danger of missing out as they travel to Austria to take on free-scoring Salzburg.

Jurgen Klopp's side would have sealed qualification with a game to spare if they had beaten Italian club Napoli two weeks ago but they were instead held to a 1-1 draw that leaves them needing at least one more point to guarantee progress.

Liverpool is unlikely to have it easy against Salzburg who gave them a mighty scare in a 4-3 defeat at Anfield earlier in the group stage.

Ahead of the match, Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp said: "Two weeks ago Salzburg were very happy that they won against Genk and we played a draw against Napoli so they thought now they have the final against us, adding, "Napoli was really happy that night because they got a point at Anfield and thought they only have to play Genk next week in a home game. So two weeks later everybody knows it's a final, so we knew it since two weeks and we are prepared." 

Salzburg is currently third in the group but have the chance to enter the knockouts if they can become only the second team to beat Liverpool across competitions this season.

Liverpool is a point clear with second-placed Napoli favourites to join them in the knockouts.

The Italians managed by Carlo Ancelotti have not won any of their last nine matches though and that gives the Belgians hope of pulling off an upset.

Napoli needs at least a draw to guarantee qualification as well but will miss out if they lose, and Salzburg upset Liverpool.

It's all to play for in Group H with three teams - including last season's semi-finalists Ajax and Chelsea in with a chance of progressing.

Frank Lampard's Chelsea know that only maximum points against the French side Lille at Stamford Bridge will guarantee them a spot in the round of 16.

Frank Lampard, Chelsea head coach said: "I think it would be a good achievement. I mean, I know there are expectations that we should get through a group, I get that."

"But it was a tough group and the slightly young feel to our team, you know, the fact we lost the first game, there are a few difficulties that we've had," he added.

"And I think we've dealt with them very well to get ourselves in this position. But there's still work to be done. So, yeah, we have to win, go out to win the game."   

Group leaders Ajax require at least a draw against Valencia but if the Spaniards were to claim an unlikely win in Amsterdam, then they will be through to the last-16.

A draw will also be enough for the Spanish outfit, but only if Chelsea drop points.