Liverpool could exit the Champions League against Salzburg
A defeat away to Red Bull Salzburg on Tuesday could dump Liverpool out of the Champions League
Last Updated: 10/12/19 5:44pm
Liverpool have set a relentless pace at the top of the Premier League this season, but their Champions League prospects are in jeopardy as they head into the final round of group fixtures this week.
Jurgen Klopp's men travel to Salzburg's Red Bull Arena on Tuesday knowing a defeat could knock them out of a competition they won only six months ago.
Follow the game live in the Sky Sports live blog from 4.30pm, with kick-off at 5.55pm, and read on for all the details on how it came to this - and what could happen next.
What's the situation?
Liverpool sit top of Group D, one point ahead of second-placed Napoli and three ahead of Tuesday's opponents Salzburg, with Genk bottom having only taken one point from their five games so far.
Liverpool are away to Salzburg in their final group game, with the other two sides facing off at Napoli's San Paolo Stadium simultaneously.
Champions League Group D
How did it come to this?
Klopp has been quick to point out that this is not the first time his Liverpool side's qualification hopes have gone down to the last group game, but it is still somewhat unexpected given their domestic form.
Liverpool have only dropped two points out of 48 in the Premier League this season, but they have dropped five out of 15 in the Champions League. There was a 2-0 loss away to Napoli in their opening game and last month they were held to a 1-1 draw by the same side at Anfield.
Liverpool's Champions League results so far
- Sep 17: Napoli 2-0 Liverpool
- Oct 2: Liverpool 4-3 RB Salzburg
- Oct 23: Genk 1-4 Liverpool
- Nov 5: Liverpool 2-1 Genk
- Nov 27: Liverpool 1-1 Napoli
- Dec 10: RB Salzburg ?-? Liverpool
Even the games they have won have not been wholly convincing. There was a 4-1 win away to Genk, but they only beat the Belgian side by a one-goal margin at Anfield, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain firing the winner after Mbwana Aly Samatta had cancelled out Georginio Wijnaldum's opener.
At home to Salzburg, meanwhile, they surrendered a three-goal lead before Mohamed Salah struck his second goal of the game to give them a frenzied 4-3 win. The Austrian side's performance at Anfield - spearheaded by the free-scoring Erling Haaland - showed how dangerous they can be.
What do Liverpool need to qualify?
Liverpool are guaranteed to qualify if they avoid defeat at the Red Bull Arena.
A defeat, however, will put them out of the competition apart from in two unlikely scenarios.
The first is that they still manage to score four or more away goals in defeat, which would put them ahead of Salzburg in head-to-head terms following the 4-3 win at Anfield.
The second is that Napoli lose at home to bottom side Genk in the other game. That would leave Carlo Ancelotti's side on nine points, with Liverpool therefore joining Salzburg in the knockout stages - albeit in second place - on 10 points.
If Napoli draw with Genk and Salzburg beat Liverpool without the Reds scoring those unlikely four away goals, then all three teams would finish on 10 points, with Liverpool crashing out due to inferior head-to-head records against both sides.
What will happen if Liverpool don't qualify?
Fail to qualify for the last 16 and Liverpool will become the first Champions League winners since Chelsea in 2012/13 to exit the competition at the group stage.
But a third-place finish in Group D would not spell the end of their European campaign. Instead, they would drop into the Europa League at the last-32 stage.
Follow RB Salzburg vs Liverpool on the live blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms from 4.30pm on Tuesday; kick-off 5.55pm