Liverpool survived an almighty scare from RB Salzburg to edge a seven-goal thriller thanks to Mohamed Salah.
Jurgen Klopp’s side had raced into a three-goal lead inside 36 minutes before Hwang Hee-chan got the Austrian side back into the game before half-time. Quick-fire goals from Takumi Minamino and Erling Haaland threatened to complete a remarkable comeback before Salah settled the tie.
The visitors served an early warning via Minamino’s long-range shot, yet by the ninth minute the Reds were ahead after Mane drove towards goal down the left before playing a one-two with Roberto Firmino and slotting inside the right post.
Robertson doubled the advantage in the 25th minute, finishing a slick move he had started near the halfway line when he swept home Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross from six yards out. Liverpool made it three 11 minutes later and had Salzburg goalkeeper Cican Stankovic to thank as he parried Firmino’s header into Salah’s path and the Egypt forward made no mistake from close range.
Salzburg gave themselves some hope six minutes before the break thanks to a superb individual goal from Hwang, who cut inside Virgil van Dijk before firing home.
The home side made a complacent start to the second half and they were punished when Minamino sent a rasping volley into the ground and beyond Adrian.
That was enough to prompt the introduction of in-form Haaland and he soon had his goal, tapping in from close range for his 15th of the campaign to silence Anfield. But Salah came to the rescue when he latched onto Firmino’s flick-on to have the final say in a pulsating match.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
LIVERPOOL (4-3-3): Adrian 6; Alexander-Arnold 6, Gomez 6, Van Dijk 5.5, Robertson 8; Henderson 6 (Milner 61 6), Fabinho 6.5, Wijnaldum 6 (Origi 64 6); Salah 7.5 (Keita 90), Firmino 7, Mane 7.5 Subs not used: Lovren, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Kelleher
Goalscorers: Mane 9, Robertson 25, Salah 36, 69 Booked: Fabinho
RED BULL SALZBURG (4-2-2) : Stankovic 6 ; Kristensen 5.5, Onguene 6, Wober 6, Ulmer 5.5; Minamino 7.5, Mewpu 7, Junuzovic 6.5 (Ashimeru 78), Szobosziai 6.5 (Okugawa 71, 6); Daka 6 (Haaland 56, 7), Hwang 7.5
Subs not used: Koita, Ramalho, Philipp Kohn, Farkas
Goalscorers: Hwang 39, Minamino 56, Haaland 60
Referee: Andreas Ekberg