Premier League • England

Jurgen Klopp proved correct as Liverpool suffer narrow pre-season defeat to RB Salzburg

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool press conference July 2022

Liverpool slumped to a 1-0 friendly defeat in Austria to Red Bull Salzburg despite Jurgen Klopp bringing on the cavalry in the second half.

Jurgen Klopp handed a start to Darwin Nunez, while 17-year-olds Stefan Bajcetic and Isaac Mabaya started in defence. New signing Fabio Carvalho started on the left with Harvey Elliott on the right as Liverpool were subjected to a physical encounter.

Klopp had been proved correct.

“The season in Austria started already so they are obviously at a completely different stage to us. We will feel that,” he said ahead of kick-off.

“Today we play after full training yesterday, two sessions, because we have a game at the weekend as well. We cannot forget that completely but we have to ignore it kind of as well because we prepare for the full season.”

Klopp’s young Liverpool team started brightly with Nunez just failing to get in a shot after being fed by Naby Keita.

Adrian, deputising for the injured Alisson, then came way out of his goal and failed to reach the ball, but fortunately Fernando was offside.

Carvalho was causing problems early on and he was whacked twice by Ignace Van der Brempt, who was booked.

Nunez then saw a long-range header easily fielder by the keeper Nico Mantl.

Benjamin Sesko failed to capitalise after Joe Gomez had put Stefan Bajcetic under pressure. But the Slovenian could only fire over.

Sesko fires Salzburg ahead

Nunez then controlled a difficult ball but failed to get the ball out of his feet in a decent position. And on 25 minutes the Liverpool new boy cam even closer with a shot on the turn which clattered the bar.

Salzburg, whose season has started, came even closer moments later after Sesko got the better of Joe Gomez. Adrian managed to make the save with his foot, but somehow Fernando missed the rebound with Ibrahima Konate on the line.

But just after the half hour mark the hosts were ahead when Sesko escaped from Konate and played a one-two before firing past Adrian.

Roberto Firmino, a half-time sub, led a higher pressing line in the second half.

Tyler Morton and Andy Robertson also came on with Nunez, James Milner and Naby Keita going off.

With an hour gone, Klopp rang the changes with Luis Diaz, Fabinho, Thiago, Virgil ban Dijk, Joel Matip, Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Salah all arriving.

Before that Curtis Jones came close, but the new arrivals saw the Reds up the tempo. And Diaz should have levelled after a neat move involving Thiago and Henderson.

Klopp furious

With 15 minutes remaining Salah was denied at the near post after a charge down the right wing. And Firmino saw a shot saved as the Reds dominated possession.

Diaz did have the ball in the net moments later, but he made his run too soon and was offside.

Alexander-Arnold then forced a fine save from Mantl with a shot from range. Then Firmino almost converted the corner, but again Mantl was there to deny the Reds.

Alexander-Arnold managed to get away and fire the ball across the face of goal. But nobody could apply the final touch and the chance went begging.

Klopp was visibly frustrated and he was furious when Diaz was not awarded a penalty in the dying seconds. In truth the referee appeared to get it right as Liverpool tasted defeat just three days ahead of the Community Shield.

Liverpool starting line-up: Adrian; Mabaya, Konate, Gomez, Milner; Bajcetic, Keita, Jones; Elliott, Carvalho, Nunez. Subs: Hughes, Mrozek, Davies, Fabinho, Van Dijk, Thiago, Firmino, Salah, Henderson, Diaz, Robertson, Matip, Phillips, Alexander-Arnold, Van den Berg, Morton.

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