FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED as Liverpool suffer 1-0 defeat to RB Salzburg

Klopp hints at who will start Community Shield, Nunez is still a work in progress and Man United target Sesko impresses… FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED from Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat by RB Salzburg

  • Liverpool fell to a 1-0 defeat against Austrian side RB Salzburg on Wednesday 
  • Manchester United target Benjamin Sesko scored the only goal of the game 
  • Liverpool started with a largely second string team who struggled in first-half
  • Darwin Nunez couldn’t hit the target but showed he will have a lot of chances 
  • Jurgen Klopp’s side now look ahead to Saturday’s Community Shield 

Liverpool will go into their Community Shield clash with Manchester City on the back of a defeat, after a disappointing display against RB Salzburg.

Benjamin Sesko scored the only goal of the game in a 1-0 victory for the hosts, as Jurgen Klopp’s team selection on the night hinted at who he will start against Pep Guardiola’s side on Saturday,

Sportsmail takes a look at five things we learned from the Reds’ underwhelming performance in Austria. 

Liverpool will go into the Community Shield on the back of a 1-0 defeat to RB Salzburg

Jurgen Klopp would have been disappointed by his side’s display particularly in the first-half

Klopp hints at Community Shield team selection 

It was an interesting starting line-up for Liverpool in what was their last friendly before they play for silverware this weekend.

Jurgen Klopp opted to put a largely second string line-up out against the Austrian side before bringing on many of his big-hitters in the second 45.

Andrew Roberson was brought on just after half-time, while Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz, Thiago, Jordan Henderson, Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold all came on at the hour mark.

The likes of Luis Diaz only played 30 minutes hinting they will start against Manchester City

The Scotland captain as well as those who came on after 60 minutes all appear to be nailed on to start against Manchester City on Saturday, due to their decreased game-time against Salzburg.

One big question will be who plays down the centre for Liverpool on Saturday.

Darwin Nunez played the first 45, while Roberto Firmino replaced him for the second-half.

There is no certainty that the £85million signing will start this weekend’s game, and it could be that Klopp opts to go for his reliable Brazilian given that he played with the other Reds’ stars likely to play against Pep Guardiola’s side.

Nunez still a work in progress

Rarely has a player been judged as quick as Liverpool’s new £85million signing Darwin Nunez.

The Uruguayan striker looked like he was lacking in confidence in front of goal during Liverpool’s opening pre-season friendlies, but then followed that off with a stunning four-goal haul against RB Leipzig.

Nunez got his first start against RB Salzburg, and despite being unable to get on the scoresheet there were positives to take from his performance and he was the sharpest man wearing Red in the first-half.

Liverpool took a while to get going at the Red Bull Arena, but when they did, it was Nunez and Harvey Elliott who were in the thick of the action.

The Reds went into the break 1-0 down but Nunez could easily have scored another hat-trick.

He did brilliantly well to take a ball down under pressure but couldn’t quite get it out of his feet with the defender on the deck before it was taken off him.

Darwin Nunez was the sharpest man in a Liverpool shirt during the first-half on Wednesday

Nunez then had a huge chance after he was found by Isaac Mabaya, hitting the bar with a first-time effort on the turn which sent a Salzburg defender to the floor.

The 23-year-old also linked up well with Naby Keita who played him through before there was a great block by Salzburg defender Bernardo to stop him from having an effort on goal.

It is clear Nunez is still a work in progress and will take some time to fully hit his stride at Anfield but there will be optimism from his last two performances.

In games against both Red Bull sides he has created a lot chances and has been particularly effective with his runs in behind the defence. 

It will be interesting to see though whether Klopp throws him into the line-up against Manchester City on Saturday. 

Nunez (right) is still a work in progress though there are positive signs from his performance

Elliott continues to impress

Having spent the 2020-21 season on loan with Blackburn Rovers in the Championship, many Liverpool fans hoped that Harvey Elliott was ready to make the step-up and be a part of their first-team plans last year. 

After a number of starts at the beginning of last season, his horrific ankle injury against Leeds in September ruined all of that. 

The 19-year-old’s performances during pre-season have definitely supported the argument that he’s ready for first team-football and he has been one of Liverpool’s better performers this month.

Harvey Elliott is putting his case forward as to why he should get more game-time this season

After tearing Crystal Palace apart from the right-hand side earlier this month, he was again very impressive against RB Salzburg.

While Nunez was looking the sharpest player, Elliott was the one trying to make things happen and he too could have got on the scoresheet in the first-half.

Within a minute he set up Isaac Mabaya for a good effort on goal before he perhaps should have done better with his own opportunity not long after.

With the Reds not lacking in options, it will be tough for Elliott to become a regular this season, but he is certainly putting his case forward to get a lot more minutes than he was getting after his ankle injury last season. 

Liverpool’s second string struggle to stake their claim

With the first meaningful match of the season on Saturday, it was a big chance for a number of players to stake their claim as they started against RB Salzburg.

While there were a small handful of those who started who impressed, it will be a surprise to see others in the line-up start on Saturday.

Liverpool were particularly vulnerable in defence in the first-half, with Joe Gomez and Ibrahima Konate given a tough time – not helped by their lack of midfield discipline.

Gomez in particular struggled against Benjamin Sesko during the first-half. 

There was an early sign when he allowed Sesko to have a shot on goal after a poor pass to Liverpool youngster Stefan Bajcetic. 

Joe Gomez had a particularly shaky game against RB Salzburg striker Benjamin Sesko

RB Salzburg missed a golden opportunity to take the lead when Gomez got a headed clearance before Sesko jinked past him. Fortunately for the 25-year-old, Sesko’s shot was saved and rebounded into the path of Fernando who somehow couldn’t hit the target.

Gomez recently signed a new five-year contract with Liverpool and will be hoping to get more regular game-time this season after making just four league starts last season.

The Reds though looked more solid at the back with Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip in the second-half, and again it looks like they will be the main pair going into the new season. 

Naby Keita linked up well with Nunez, but Liverpool looked a lot stronger in midfield when Thiago, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson came on for the Guinean, Curtis Jones and Bajcetic.

Naby Keita linked up well with Darwin Nunez but the Reds were better defensively when the likes of Thiago, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho came on in the second-half

Manchester United target steals the show

It might not have been the night that Jurgen Klopp’s side would have wanted, but rivals Manchester United would have been very impressed by one player on the RB Salzburg team.

Sportsmail this week reported that Erik ten Hag’s side have joined the race for £55million-rated RB Salzburg striker Benjamin Sesko.

The 19-year-old Slovenian who broke into Salzburg’s line-up last season, was a constant menace up front and someone who the Reds struggled to deal with.  

Manchester United target Benjamin Sesko scored the only goal of the game against Liverpool

Sesko forced a mistake out of Joe Gomez and a save from Adrian, which team-mate Fernando should have tapped home on the rebound.

Just minutes later he scored the only goal of the game after sprinting away from Ibrahima Konate, playing a one-two with Noah Okafor and striking past Adrian.

Before the end of the half, he headed the ball to team-mate Fernando who put the ball in the back of the net only to be ruled offside.

Sesko, who is also wanted by Newcastle, came off at the start of the second-half but not before putting in an eye-catching performance against Liverpool.

The Bundesliga side’s English account in response to a post about United’s interest, joked that they now want one billion euros, Bruno Fernandes and mascot Fred the Red for Sesko. 

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