RATINGS | FC Salzburg 0-2 Liverpool: Keïta on song again to drive Reds into Champions League knockouts

The wins keep coming for Liverpool — this one saw them progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League and continue a perfect start to this tricky December period.

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Thank God we got those two goals so close together in the second half. Up to that point the game had been absolutely terrifying to watch as FC Salzburg attacked like their lives depended on it.

Well, their future in this competition did, and in truth it was sad to see such an exciting and fearless side exit in the group stage, though we wish them well in the Europa League.

In the end Liverpool were just too strong and eased past them thanks to goals from Naby Keïta and Mohamed Salah, and a thoroughly professional performance from all involved.

Keïta and Jordan Henderson were playing the second-successive game together in midfield and both looked just as impressive as they did at Bournemouth at the weekend.


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The victory was mired a little by the injury sustained by Dejan Lovren, though. He is not a key player for the Reds but has been performing well in Joël Matip’s injury-enforced absence, and in a packed December schedule Jürgen Klopp will be hoping he will not be without the Croat for too long.

Don Kopleone was keeping tabs on how the Liverpool players got on at the Red Bull Arena — here’s what he thought.

Starting XI

Ali 8 — Fairly perfect performance from the Brazilian. Quick off his line when needed.

Trent 7 — Showed little of his perceived defensive weakness amongst a few threatening balls forward.

Degsy 7 — Was handed the task of dealing with Erling Braut Håland and performed to standard.

Big Virg 7.5 — You can sense the impressive quality of this Salzburg attack by the fact that Virgil has looked slightly more flustered in both fixtures against them. That said, the Dutchman proved his class on and off the ball, as ever.

Robbo 6.5 — Quieter offensively than he can be, but provided an important role in keeping the Reds solid at the back.

Naby 8 — Given a start in a key Liverpool match for the first time this season, Naby Keïta shone. The Guinean offered creativity from midfield before he headed the opener. Should have earned himself an assist, as well, but Salah hooked wide. Man of the match.

Hendo 8 — Continued a very impressive run of form in the Reds’ engine room.

Gini 7 — Least impressive of the midfield three, but dutiful and tidy as ever.

Mo 7.5 — Hugely wasteful first half, but continued to find spaces and slotted home on his weaker foot from an absurd angle to double Liverpool’s lead.

Bobby 5.5 — His relatively ineffectual run continues. Gave away cheap possession too often again.

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Sadio 7.5 — Sublime for Keita’s goal. The Senegalese could, maybe should, have found himself on the scoresheet as well.

Subs

JoGo 7 — Solid.

Milly 6.5 — Almost found the final ball on a couple of counters.

Divvy N/A — Divocked for a couple of minutes. Game was already won, he didn’t need to score anyway.

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