Salzburg manager Jesse Marsch has told his players to approach their clash at Liverpool with confidence, and that “we can’t allow ourselves to be frightened.”
The Austrian champions head to Anfield for the first time on Wednesday night, after a 15-year break from the Champions League in which the Reds won the competition twice.
Liverpool are defending the European Cup this season, and after a 2-0 loss at Napoli last time out will be desperate to respond with a confidence-boosting victory over Salzburg.
Marsch’s side thrashed Genk 6-2 in their Group E opener, however, and will provide a spirited opponent, though the American is wary of the “mythical nature” of the Reds’ stadium.
“Anfield is a special stadium,” he told reporters on Tuesday evening.
“We have to enjoy being here, but it’s important we are totally ready for the match tomorrow.
“We have the opportunity today to get used to the size of the place and its mythical nature.
“We’ll get the atmosphere as well tomorrow. We will absorb all of it, but when we go out onto the pitch tomorrow, we can’t let it impact us.”
Salzburg are undoubtedly the underdogs in this tie, and Marsch appears to be attempting to use this to their advantage, though he believes Liverpool “have no weaknesses.”
“We are expecting a very difficult match,” he continued in his pre-match press conference.
“We have spoken a lot among ourselves of how strong Liverpool are. Position to position they have no weaknesses.
“Fundamentally we won’t change too much. We have a good basic concept. We have to play to our strengths, and we can’t allow ourselves to be frightened, and then we can be dangerous.
“It’s important that we have no fear, play like us and go after them.”
— FC Red Bull Salzburg EN (@FCRBS_en) October 1, 2019
Right-back Rasmus Kristensen described the tie as “definitely the biggest match of my career,” adding that “we need our ‘A’ game if we want to take something here.”
“We’ll do everything in our power tomorrow,” the Dane continued. “Of course we believe we have a chance!”
Much of the focus in the buildup has been on Kristensen’s record-breaking team-mate Erling Braut Haaland, the 19-year-old who scored a first-half hat-trick against Genk and has 17 goals in 10 appearances this season.
Haaland missed the last two Salzburg games through illness, but Marsch insisted the striker is “healthy and ready.”