Thanks to a goal from Naby Keita and a wonderful solo effort from Mohamed Salah, Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool defeated Jesse Marsch's RB Salzburg on Tuesday night. As a result, Liverpool topped Group E despite Napoli's emphatic 4-0 win against Genk.
The action unsurprisingly kicked off with a sense of aggressive immediacy as the home side looked to test Alisson right from the get go. Virgil van Dijk was needed straight away and had to make a crucial tackle to deny the dangerous Erling Braut Haland.
But Liverpool gave as much it took early on as Sadio Mane also attempted his own effort in the first five minutes, but it went wide from Cican Stankovic's goal. Minutes later, Takumi Minamino came close to open the scoring but Alisson made another block.
After the initial onslaught, things calmed down as the visiting team found its shape and controlling most of the possession. But Salzburg held firm against the three-headed monster that is Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and the aforementioned Mane, who was causing mayhem on the left hand side.
In the 24th minute, Haland had a good chance to take the lead after he sprinted with the ball, entered Alisson's box and made a solid low effort. But the Brazilian keeper was up for the task and picked up the shot.
Minamino was given another great chance but Andrew Robertson blocked his shot and moments later, Salah was given a glorious opportunity but he delivered an uncharacteristic shot that went wide.
Juste before the break, the visiting team could have made it 1-0 after Salah fed Naby Keita, who was one on one with the keeper, but Stankovic came out early enough to deny the Guinean.
The first half ended scoreless but with plenty of entertainment and all it needed was a goal. Liverpool, however, was more than happy to keep it at 0-0 as that was enough for Klopp's side to go through the knockout stage.
The second half began with the same intensity as the first and once again, Salah missed a great chance to make it 1-0 as his effort went over. Minutes later, the Egyptian had another effort but Stankovic saved his side again. At the other end, Haland countered and took a shot from the left wing but it went wide off the mark.
But then Liverpool turned it on as just like that, it made it 2-0. First, Keita took advantage of Mane's cross and scored from close range to make it 1-0, but moments later, Salah had his redemption with an audacious attempt.
After the two-goal cushion, Marsch's side had no choice but to push higher but the Austrian outfit left itself vulnerable to the counter, which is Liverpool's strength, so it had to be wary of a third goal. And that's what nearly happened in the 76th minute when Salah nearly grabbed his brace from close range, but Stankovic stood his ground.
In the end, the result was enough for Jurgen Klopp's side to win Group E. It was another relentless, defiant performance. Jesse Marsch bows out of the tournament but can be very proud of how his team performed throughout the competition.
Here were the lineups for today:
The Champions League draw for next year's Round of 16 takes place on Monday. Next up for Liverpool is a league home game against Watford before heading off to Qatar for the Club World Cup.