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Liverpool 2-0 Midtjylland: 5 Talking Points as Reds make it two wins out of two| UEFA Champions League 2020-21

Liverpool secured a 2-0 win over Midtjylland to move top of Group D in the 2020-21 Champions League.
Liverpool secured a 2-0 win over Midtjylland to move top of Group D in the 2020-21 Champions League.
Vaibhav Joshi
ANALYST
Modified 28 Oct 2020, 05:03 IST
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Second-half goals from Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah helped secure a 2-0 win for English champions Liverpool over Danish title-holders Midtjylland in Matchday two of the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League

A low-key first half saw Midtjylland miss a good chance but create little else, while the Reds were similarly unable to put together any threatening moves of their own. Four yellow cards, three for the away side and one for the hosts, and one shot on target combined, told the story of the half.

The hosts came out in the second half looking more purposeful and broke the deadlock ten minutes later, thanks to a well-worked goal. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Xherdan Shaqiri played a neat one-two on the edge of the Midtjylland penalty area before the young full-back squared for Diogo Jota to tap the ball in at the far post.

Despite bringing on their first-choice front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino soon after taking the lead, Liverpool were unable to kill off the game. In fact, it was the Danish side that took the initiative and almost levelled in the 90th minute, but Anders Dreyer’s chipped finish went agonisingly wide of the post.

Barely a minute after the visitors' missed chance, Liverpool went up the other end and won a penalty after Salah was fouled in the box. The Egyptian promptly dusted himself off to slam home a confident spot-kick to seal the win for his side.

The win moves Liverpool top of Group D with two wins out of two, after Atalanta and Ajax played out a 2-2 draw in the group’s other fixture. With Liverpool being far from their best but getting the job done in the end, here are the five major talking points from the game.


#1 More defensive worries for Liverpool

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Liverpool lost Fabinho to an injury early in the first half.
Liverpool lost Fabinho to an injury early in the first half.

Losing Virgil van Dijk to an injury in a hotly-contested Merseyside Derby was a huge blow for Liverpool, as the Dutchman’s immense presence in the heart of the defence has been an integral part of Liverpool's recent success.

Fortunately for the Reds, Van Dijk's centre-back spot has been filled in admirably by Fabinho, who has switched seamlessly from his usual midfield role into central defence.

However, the fact that the Brazilian suffered an injury in the match and had to be taken off for youngster Rhys Williams after just half an hour would have caused Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp much concern.

The Reds boss would be hoping that Fabinho, who did walk off the pitch without any assistance, would be able to shake off the knock, as an injury to another one of his defenders is the last thing he may want to deal with.


#2 Mitdjylland fade away after an encouraging start

The Danish side passed up two excellent chances to score.
The Danish side passed up two excellent chances to score.

Although it is Jurgen Klopp’s sides who have famously been associated with a high-energy playing style and a high press, it was Midtjylland who assumed the offensive from the first whistle against Liverpool.

The visitors’ attacking intent seemed to catch the hosts off guard as they took some time to grow into the game. That allowed Midtjylland to carve out a few decent openings.

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In fact, the away side had a glorious chance to take the lead in the first few minutes of the game that they should have done much better with. However, a timely one-on-one interception by Alisson Becker kept the deadlock from being broken.

Buoyed by that chance, Midtjylland kept up their high press throughout but found attacking opportunities hard to come by as Liverpool found their rhythm and gradually grew into the game.

As their goal-scoring opportunities dried up, the Danish side's frustration started to grow, and the away side finished the first half with three bookings for over-zealous tackles.

They had to wait till the 90th minute for their next big chance, one that was unfortunately missed by the same player who fluffed the earlier opportunity just seconds before Liverpool went up the other end to score the second goal of the game.

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Published 28 Oct 2020, 05:03 IST
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