28 October 2020 02:37
Liverpool moved two points clear at the top of Group D with victory over Champions League rookies FC Midtjylland on a night their defensive problems mounted with the loss of Fabinho to injury. The Brazilian, who has slotted in alongside Joe Gomez in the centre of defence since the loss of Virgil van Dijk to a serious knee injury on 17 October, had to be replaced after suffering a suspected hamstring injury. Starting without influential forwards Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, Liverpool failed to register an attempt on target in the first half. They broke the deadlock after Trent Alexander-Arnold played a neat one-two with Xherdan Shaqiri, the former teeing-up Diogo Jota to tap home in front of an empty Kop. Midtjylland went close to equalising after a clever shot on-the-turn by Brazilian substitute Evander. In the end, Liverpool finished with Salah, Mane and Firmino on the pitch, Salah doubling the lead with a stoppage-time penalty after the Egypt forward was brought down by Paulinho.
With group rivals Atalanta and Ajax drawing 2-2 in Italy, Liverpool have six points from two games, two more than second-placed Atalanta, who they visit next Tuesday. This was Liverpool's first game since August 2015 that none of their famed front three started, yet the Reds failed to manage a single first-half shot on target for the first time in 51 home games. Divock Origi, Takumi Minamino and Xherdan Shaqiri all struggled to make an impact during a flat home performance as Jurgen Klopp looked to rest Mane, Salah and Firmino during a hectic run of fixtures. Liverpool's number three pulled up off the ball and slumped to the ground before being replaced by 19-year-old Rhys Williams, who came on as an 89th-minute substitute in the 1-0 win away to Ajax last week. With Van Dijk set to miss the majority of the season and games coming thick and fast, Klopp will be hoping Fabinho's injury is not serious particularly as Joel Matip is also out injured.
Mohamed Salah has been involved in 10 goals in 10 Champions League group stage games at Anfield (9 goals, 1 assist). 3 Fabinho Substituted for R Williams at 30' minutes 20 Jota Substituted for Firmino at 81' minutes 18 Minamino Substituted for Salah at 60' minutes 40 Cajuste Booked at 32mins Substituted for Kraev at 81' minutes 45 Isaksen Referee: Pawel Raczkowski Match Stats Live Text Post update Match ends, Liverpool 2, FC Midtjylland 0. Full Time Second Half ends, Liverpool 2, FC Midtjylland 0. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the bottom right corner. Post update Penalty Liverpool. Post update Penalty conceded by Paulinho (FC Midtjylland) after a foul in the penalty area. Anders Dreyer (FC Midtjylland) left footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Post update Foul by Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool). Post update Frank Ogochukwu Onyeka (FC Midtjylland) wins a free kick in the defensive half. Post update Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half. Post update Foul by Mikael Anderson (FC Midtjylland). Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Evander (FC Midtjylland) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Post update Foul by Xherdan Shaqiri (Liverpool). Liverpool's right-back produced a moment of peerless quality and creativity to assist Diogo Jota and break FC Midtjylland's resolve as the English champions won 2-0 at Anfield in Champions League action on Tuesday. Alexander-Arnold's excellent give and go with Xherdan Shaqiri earned him space behind the Danish defense for perhaps the first time in the night before the England right-back squared for Jota to slot the ball into an empty net. Anders Dreyer came within inches of a brilliant equalizer when his clipped finish over Alisson hit the side netting before substitute Mohamed Salah won and scored a penalty to earn Liverpool six points from six to start Group D. If there were a game in their fixture list where you would suspect Liverpool could cope without all three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane it was this one. On no occasion in the first half did they or the rest of the Liverpool side manage to test Mikkel Anderson in the Midtjylland goal. Anders Dreyer: On a night where Liverpool had the majority of the ball, Midtjylland were left feeding on scraps but their young forward did all that could be asked with what service came his way.