For 40 minutes, Liverpool showed exactly what a Champions League-winning side should look like. Ruthless, precise and fast-paced, visitors FC Salzburg appeared to be out of place as the Reds made it one, two and then three-nil.
However, the Austrian champions carried an offensive threat throughout, and when Hee-Chang Hwang pulled a goal back shortly before half-time, Anfield was reminded that this game was not yet won.
Come the second half, this reminder was really hammered home. An open, end-to-end game broke out — more reminiscent of what we were used to seeing at the start of Jürgen Klopp’s reign — but the Central European side were the more clinical. Quickly, the scores were level.
Nevertheless, once the Austrians had equalised, Liverpool regained their focus, and it was Mohamed Salah who found the winning goal. With the home side managing to see the game out, this time.
But who impressed (or otherwise)? I was, once again, on ratings duty.
Adrián 6.5 — It would be harsh to fault the Spaniard for any of the goals Liverpool conceded tonight, however he was fortunate when one misplaced pass bounced out for a goal-kick.
Trent 8 — After a disappointing display with the ball at his feet on Saturday, Trent re-discovered his scintillating delivery, assisting Andy Robertson’s second, before the Scouser’s corner should have been converted by Sadio Mané.
Joe 5 — I wrote paragraphs heaping lavish praise upon our young centre-half last season, but since his return from injury Joe Gomez has been undeniably poor. Today he was at fault for arguably all three goals as a result of questionable positioning.
Big Virg 6.5 — A poor display by his lofty standards still renders him the best central defender on the pitch. The Dutchman looked less in control than he is most games, particularly during the crazy spell early in the second half, when Salzburg turned the game around.
Robbo 7.5 — Unbelievable burst forward when scoring the first, and the Scot was generally superb before the break. The Austrian side threatened down his left-flank in the second half, though.
Hendo 7 — Offered greater attacking threat than sometimes, including a superbly-weighted pass which led to Robertson’s goal. Left Fabinho somewhat isolated defensively, though.
Fabs 7 — Controlled the first forty-five. Was given a huge task second half when he seemed to be the only man in the Liverpool midfield.
Gini 6.5 — I could almost cut and paste what I wrote for Hendo’s notes. Better than normal in terms of progressing the play, but caught out upfield on occasion, as well. Should have scored when set up by Mané.
Mo 8 — Two goals, the second of which could well prove to be a crucial one in the context of this group. Played a number of delightful flicks.
Bobby 7.5 — Another delightful first-half display, but the Brazilian was quiet in the second period. His pass for Mané to start the scoring was perfectly weighted.
Sadio 9 — Unbelievably good first goal after driving inside, delivered the cross that led to Liverpool’s third, and terrorised his man before laying on a gilt-edged opportunity for Wijnaldum. Unplayable. Man of the Match.
Jimbo 6.5 — Hardly noticed his coming on, did the unspectacular but solid job expected of him.
Div 6.5 — Looked dangerous for a few minutes, but then uncomfortable when Salah’s goal meant our focus changed to seeing the game out.
Naby N/A — was very involved in the few minutes he had.