Jesse Marsch was gracious in defeat as his Red Bull Salzburg side ran Liverpool very close in a thrilling Champions League clash on Wednesday, describing Jurgen Klopp’s side as a ‘top, top team’ when speaking to Bild.
The Austrian giants became only the fourth team in the Champions League era to score three goals at Anfield during a remarkable night on Merseyside. Inspired by former Salzburg star Sadio Mane, Liverpool raced into a 3-0 lead on the half-hour mark but the visitors came roaring back, scoring three times either side of half-time to leave Klopp and co stunned.
Fortunately, Mo Salah was the hero, digging the reigning Kings of Europe out of a hole of their own making and condemning Salzburg to the most valiant of defeats.
Marsch was understandably disappointed to end up with nothing but he still found the energy to praise a Liverpool side who showed plenty of character to respond after a dramatic collapse.
“We had a lot of respect for this opponent, they are a top team. But maybe it was too much respect,” said the 45-year-old, who channelled his inner-Klopp by sprinting down the touchline when Salzburg scored their third.
"After 2-0 we changed the system to a diamond in the midfield. Then they scored a third. But I still had the feeling that we were able to find our moments. The goal before the break was really important to us.
"I'm really proud of the team. We have to learn from this defeat.”
If Salzburg perform like this in their four remaining group stage matches, don’t bet against Austria having a representative in the knockout phase of the Champions League this season.
And Marsch's admission that he was confident of 'finding moments' will surely concern Klopp, whose previously impenetrable Liverpool side are starting to look a little vulnerable at the back.
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