Champions League rullar vidare och för Liverpools del är det dags för hemmamatch mot Red Bull Salzburg, en match man behöver vinna för att skaffa ett bra utgångsläge inför fortsättningen. Motståndarna från Österrike kommer från en storseger i den första matchen och har ett norskt storlöfte som bästa vapen. Om det och mycket mer berättar Salzburg-supportern Christoph Bosnjak(@ChriboEn) här:
1. How has the start of the season been for Salzburg?
I’d say the start of the season was very successful for Salzburg. They did well in the pre-season matches against Real Madrid and Chelsea, although they lost both games. They also started very positive in the league with a 2-0 victory in the first round against big rival Rapid Vienna. With seven wins and one draw from eight league games, they are currently number one in the table. And last Wednesday Salzburg reached the third round of the ÖFB-Cup with another win against Rapid Vienna after 120 minutes.
2. You have new manager this season, Jesse Marsch, how has his start been?
In the beginning, the fans were a bit sceptical about him, because Marsch had been working as an assistant coach at RB Leipzig before, a club, which the Salzburg fans don’t really like. Last season, when rumours came up that Marsch might move from Leipzig to Salzburg, there was also a banner from the fans saying, ”No to Marsch”. But, with his sympathetic kind he was able to pull the fans on his side and of course also impressed with a very successful winning streak. He also held his first press conference in German and is constantly trying to improve, which the fans really appreciate.
3. How would you describe the way you play?
Compared to the coach from last season, Marco Rose, the commonly used formation has changed from a 4-3-1-2 into a 4-4-2 with two deep lying midfielders. One plays more offensive and one more defensive. However, a 3-5-2 formation has also been tested, especially in the pre-season games. As in previous years, the goal is to gain possession of the ball very quickly to play fast vertical passes. Compared to Rose, who put more value on ball possession, I would say that Marsch puts more focus on counter-pressing again, which generally plays a very big part of the “Red Bull philosophy”. Marsch said, that one of the first words he learned in German was “Gegenpressing” – counter pressing.
4. Which players are most important to your team?
I would say that Salzburg has a very strong collective and that the bench is full of players who you could easily play in the starting XI. But one player who definitely shines out so far is Erling Haaland. By now, he has already scored 17 goals, made five assists in ten competitive games for Salzburg and against Genk he debuted with a hat-trick. In my opinion, Antoine Bernede, a deep lying midfielder, is also a very important player. Like Haaland, he moved to Salzburg in winter 2019 to acclimatize and to replace Diadie Samassékou, which he did without any problems. However, he broke his tribia in the Cup match against Rapid last Wednesday, so he’ll definitely miss the Liverpool game.
5. You had a big win in your first game of the group stage, how was that game?
For me personally it was great as I didn’t expect such a start in the group. It was a very nice feeling to have already been 3-0 in front after 30 minutes. Of course, a lot of things were good, but it also revealed some of Salzburg’s weaknesses, such as a vulnerability after crosses or set-pieces. And sometimes our right-back, Rasmus Kristensen, had problems with the fast Dieumerci Ndongala. Moreover, the counter-pressing didn’t work sometimes. So, it will be interesting to see how those things will look against Liverpool. But I think the players gained a lot of self-confidence through that game.
6. How do you rate your chances of getting to the knock out stages of the tournament?
Well, the aim of Salzburg is to land on the third place. With another victory against Genk this is pretty realistic I’d say. I think the two games against Napoli are decisive whether Jesse Marsch and his team will even reach the second place or not because, in my opinion, Liverpool will land on the first place anyway. Last season Salzburg won 3:1 against the Italians in the second leg of the Europa League at home, so anything is possible.
7. How do you think you will lineup against Liverpool and what kind of game do you expect?
I’m actually not sure whether Salzburg will line up in the commonly used 4-4-2 formation or in a more defensive one with three central backs. But I am sure that Salzburg won’t hide, and they’ll try to play along without risking too much. Salzburg will most likely try to win balls with their counter-pressing to switch the game very fast, which Liverpool will certainly also try to do. So, it will probably be a game with very high speed and maybe even a lot of goals and duels. As Jürgen Klopp said in a press conference: ”It’s going to be pretty wild.