Liverpool will be guaranteed a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League if they avoid defeat in their final match of the group stage away to RB Salzburg at the Red Bull Arena in Austria (12.55pm ET Tuesday).
Liverpool lead Group E on 10 points, ahead of Napoli on nine, Salzburg on seven and Genk on one. They are in a strong position to advance. Victory would see them do so as group winners, while a draw would confirm their progression but probably only in second place.
The Champions League holders are not, though, in a position of total comfort ahead of the final round of fixtures. If Napoli meet expectations by defeating Genk at home in Tuesday’s other match, most configurations of defeat would see Liverpool eliminated and Salzburg go through in their place.
That is because of the first set of tiebreakers for teams who finish level on points, as the two teams would if Salzburg secure victory. The tiebreakers relate to the head-to-head record between the teams in question. A win for Salzburg would see the teams tied in terms of points from their direct encounters, meaning that goal difference would come into play, followed by goals scored and then away goals scored.
Liverpool raced into a three-goal lead when the sides met at Anfield in October, only for Salzburg to strike back to level the scores at 3-3 by the hour mark. Mohamed Salah’s goal not long after proved decisive as a pulsating encounter ended 4-3 in Liverpool’s favor.
That result means that if Salzburg are victorious on Tuesday, they are highly likely to advance. Any one-goal win from 1-0 up to 3-2 would leave the two teams tied on points, goal difference and goals scored over their two encounters, with Salzburg’s three away goals at Anfield giving them the edge. A 4-3 win would leave the teams tied on all head-to-head measures, but see Salzburg progress through their better overall goal difference in the group.
Liverpool remain the favorites in the online betting with USA bookies, but Salzburg have shown enough during their fixtures to date to suggest that they are very much capable of giving Jurgen Klopp’s side a good run for their money. They thrashed Genk home and away, and while they lost at home to Napoli, they did secure a 1-1 draw away in Italy. They have played open and attacking football that has provided plenty of entertainment alongside solid results.
Liverpool will certainly have to be wary of the attacking threat posed by teenage starlet Erling Haaland, the son of the former Leeds and Manchester City midfielder Alf-Inge Haaland, who has scored eight times across Salzburg’s five matches in the competition. Hwang Hee-Chan and Takumi Minamino are other potential danger men.
The reality is that even away to a team who have proved their ability to cause Liverpool problems, Klopp’s side should have enough quality at both ends of the pitch to secure their passage to the last 16. Although their European campaign has featured a draw and defeat against Napoli, they have overcome almost all comers in the Premier League. Saturday’s 3-0 win away to Bournemouth was their 15th in a 16-match unbeaten run to begin the season.
Their front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane (who like midfielder Naby Keita is a former Salzburg player) will be looking forward to playing against a team who will try to impose themselves upon Liverpool and so leave space in behind to be exploited in transition.
Our Preview’s RB Salzburg vs Liverpool Predictions & Betting Picks Verdict
In the likely scenario that Salzburg elect to play their natural front-foot game, Liverpool have the superior attacking talent to outscore them. Liverpool also have a proven ability to play a more cautious, counter-attacking style if Salzburg do try to turn the match into a grind before opening up later on in search of a decisive goal.
It won’t be easy, and there are sure to be some nervous moments, but Liverpool can confirm their place in the knockout rounds as group winners by taking all three points from what will probably be an entertaining and high-scoring encounter. These are the RB Salzburg vs Liverpool predictions against the sportsbooks for this Champions League match preview:
- On the “Match Result and O/U 2.5 Goals” market with Bovada Sportsbook, bet on “Liverpool & over 2.5 goals” @ enticing odds of +135.