CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Suarez doubles up as Barcelona hit back to upset Internazionale
BARCELONA: Luis Suarez scored a fine double as Barcelona came from behind to beat Inter Milan in the Champions League.
Lautaro Martinez gave Antonio Conte’s Inter a deserved lead and went close to a second, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen expertly keeping out his header.
Suarez levelled with a wonderful volley from Arturo Vidal’s cross.
Then Lionel Messi, on his return from an injury, found Suarez – whose first touch took him past defender Diego Godin – and he blasted in the winner.
Those were Suarez’s first two Champions League group goals in over three years.
Barcelona, who are unbeaten in 33 Champions League home games, are level on four points with Borussia Dortmund, whom they drew 0-0 with in their opening game, at the top of the table.
Earlier on Wednesday, Dortmund won 2-0 at Slavia Prague thanks to two excellent solo goals by Achraf Hakimi, the first two Champions League goals of the Real Madrid loanee’s career.
Liverpool escape to victory
Liverpool held off a stunning fightback by Red Bull Salzburg to get their Champions League defence up and running with victory in an incredible game at Anfield.
The visitors trailed 3-0 in the first half but battled back to 3-3 before Mohamed Salah grabbed the winner midway through the second half.
Liverpool lost their Group E opener to Napoli last month but got off to the ideal start in this game when former Salzburg player Sadio Mane struck inside 10 minutes, sweeping home at the near post.
Andrew Robertson turned in a cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold before Salah poked a third under keeper Cican Stanokovic.
It seemed as though the game was over as a contest 10 minutes before half-time.
But Salzburg, like Liverpool, have scored goals for fun this season – 40 in nine league games – and began their fightback when Hwang Hee-chan got the better of Virgil van Dijk before scoring with a powerful strike.
The visitors reduced the deficit further when Takumi Minamino volleyed in and the away fans erupted when substitute Erling Braut Haaland tapped in an equaliser – his 18th goal of the season.
Salah finally got Liverpool over the line when he latched on to Roberto Firmino’s header and scored with a fierce strike.
Liverpool have not lost at Anfield lost in Europe since 2014, winning 16 and drawing seven of their games before Salzburg’s visit.
This week’s results:
TUESDAY – Group A: Real Madrid 2, Club Brugge 2; Galatasaray 0, Paris S-G 1. Group B: Tottenham 2, Bayern Munich 7; Crvena Zvezda [Red Star] 3, Olympiacos 1. Group C: Atalanta 1, Shakhtar 2; Man City 2, D Zagreb 0. Group D: Lokomotiv Moscow 0, Atlético Madrid 2; Juventus 3, Bayer Leverkusen 0.
WEDNESDAY — Group E: Genk 0, Napoli 0; Liverpool 4, RB Salzburg 3. Group F: Slavia Prague 0, Borussia Dortmund 2; Barcelona 2, Internazionale 1. Group G: Zenit 3, Benfica 1; RB Leipzig 0, Lyon 2. Group H: Lille 1, Chelsea 2; Valencia 0, Ajax 3.
It looked like win number 17 was going to be a formality with the Reds at their clinical best in a devastating first-half display, scoring from three of their four shots on target.
While scoring is undoubtedly Liverpool’s strength, this game once again raised concerns about their defence.
They have kept only three clean sheets this season – against Burnley and Sheffield United in the Premier League and against MK Dons in the Carabao Cup – and against an attack as prolific as Salzburg’s they struggled to cope.
Van Dijk has undoubtedly been a rock for Liverpool but this game perhaps underlined the importance of Joel Matip to their defence as well – the Cameroon international missed the match through injury.
Salzburg rise to the occasion
All talk pre-match about Red Bull Salzburg had been focused on their in-form striker Haaland.
The Leeds-born 19-year-old, son of ex-Leeds United midfield Alf Inge Haaland, had scored 17 goals in 11 games before the game, including a hat-trick in Salzburg’s 6-2 defeat of Genk in their group opener.
Illness restricted Haaland to a place on the bench against Liverpool but, while he is undoubtedly a key player for the Austrian side, they have plenty of goals in the rest of the team.
The visitors were the first to threaten in the opening few minutes when Minamino flashed a shot just wide and there were other chances as well, with Patson Daka hesitating when in on goal, allowing Liverpool to recover.
In the end, they fell just short but the away fans were cheering and singing long after the final whistle. This performance against the Champions League holders will have felt like a victory.
Man of the match – Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Liverpool return to Premier League action this weekend as they host in-form Leicester City on Saturday (15:00 BST).
Salzburg the entertainers – the stats
Liverpool have won their past 12 home matches in all competitions, their best since an 18-game streak between April and November 1985.
Red Bull Salzburg became only the fourth visiting team to score three goals at Anfield in the Champions League (after Barcelona, Chelsea and Real Madrid), and the only one of those four to fail to win.
Since the start of the 2017-18 season, there have been 47 goals scored in Champions League games at Anfield – more than at any other venue.
Since the start of tha, Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino is the only player to have both scored (14) and assisted (10) at least 10 goals in the Champions League.
Salzburg’s two Champions League matches this season have featured 15 goals (9 scored, 6 conceded), more than any other team.
Salzburg’s Hwang Hee-chan has had a hand in five goals in only two Champions League games this season (2 goals, 3 assists).
Liverpool forward Sadio Mane became the sixth African to score 15 Champions League goals, with only Didier Drogba reaching that tally in fewer games (25) than Mane (26).
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp to BT Sport: “It’s better to learn the lessons during the game than talk about it after it.
“I thought we were outstanding in the first 30 minutes, then the Salzburg system changed and we lost the ball so that caused us problems.
“The momentum changed and it was really difficult to get a foot in the game. We had to wait until they had scored the third goal, then we were able to strike back.
“I’m not angry – I saw us play really well and try hard to get back into the game and score a really nice goal. You don’t need to score six or seven goals.
“[Salzburg] are a good side but the first 30 minutes we made it really difficult for them and played outstanding.
“I told the boys they want to enjoy the whole night and they will fight back.
“This is group is really difficult but we wanted the three points and now it’s game on.”
Liverpool have been fined £200,000 – half of which has been suspended – by the EFL for fielding an ineligible player in their third-round Carabao Cup win against MK Dons last week.
Spaniard Pedro Chirivella, 22, who came on as a substitute in the 2-0 victory, did not have international clearance.
The EFL said it “wasn’t appropriate” to expel Liverpool from the competition because of “mitigating factors”.
Liverpool host Arsenal in the fourth round on 29 October.
The EFL said £100,000 of the fine will be suspended until the end of next season.
Liverpool said they “accept the judgement, outcome and punishment”, which they described as “proportionate with the technical indiscretion committed”.
Midfielder Chirivella needed the paperwork from the Football Association after a loan spell at Spanish side Extremadura last season.
The EFL said Liverpool had “sought the assistance of the Football Association” before the season, and had been allowed to include Chirivella on the team sheet for Premier League Two games, the under-23 competition.
An EFL statement read: “The club’s breach was in part due to the challenges it encountered with securing the correct international clearance, and its subsequent ability to include the player on team sheets despite the lack of clearance.