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Liverpool v Midtjylland Match Report, 10/27/20

2 - 0
Diogo Jota (55)
Mohamed Salah (90+3 pen)
Liverpool 2-0 Midtjylland: Jota helps secure hard-fought Champions League win
6:03 PM EDT 10/27/20
Jota cropped
Liverpool had to work hard to see off Midtjylland, Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah getting the goals in a 2-0 triumph at Anfield.

Diogo Jota scored the 10,000th goal in Liverpool's history as they laboured to a 2-0 win over Midtjylland, maintaining their 100 per cent start in Champions League Group D. 

After a woeful first-half display from Jurgen Klopp's side, Portugal forward Jota finished off a fine team move 10 minutes into the second period as he struck home from close range. 

Midtjylland's best chance fell to Brazilian Evander, who saw his shot on the turn flashed wide, while Liverpool missed further opportunities to increase their margin of victory. 

However, a second eventually arrived for the hosts in added time, Mohamed Salah scoring from the penalty spot after he had been fouled by Paulinho. 

Liverpool's victory helped them move top of the table after Atalanta and Ajax played out an entertaining 2-2 draw.

The Premier League team were expected to comfortably brush aside Midtjylland, who suffered a 4-0 home defeat to Atalanta in their opening match. 

But the Danish champions were resolute and organised at the back as a much-changed Liverpool struggled to break them down in a scrappy first half. 

Klopp – who started with attacking trio Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Salah on bench, was animated on the touchline at the apparent lack of intensity from his side, while his frustrations were further compounded on the half-hour mark when Fabinho limped out of the action clutching his hamstring and was replaced by youngster Rhys Williams. 

The Reds improved sufficiently after the interval to secure the points, though, and took the lead when Jota tapped in from Trent Alexander-Arnold's low cross. 

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson had his heart in his mouth when Midtjylland substitute Evander shot wide from a good position before Liverpool made the result safe from the spot. 

Salah, a 60th-minute substitute, was taken down when clean through and, after climbing off the turf, he powerfully converted past goalkeeper Mikkel Andersen.

What does it mean? Reds eventually reach landmark 

Liverpool were far from their fluent best against Midtjylland as they were made to wait until the second period to score their 10,000th goal. 

The Reds had failed to register a single first-half shot on target for the first time in 51 home games in all competitions, since October 2018 against Manchester City in the Premier League, but Jota ended the wait to reach the milestone soon after the break. 

Silky Jota impresses again 

Liverpool's signing of the 23-year-old from Wolves is looking a more astute piece of business with each outing. Jota was Liverpool's most threatening forward player with two shots, making 27 passes at a completion rate of 85 per cent. He has some way to go to oust Liverpool's first-choice attacking triumvirate but has proved himself a willing and able deputy. 

Origi quiet in rare outing 

Divock Origi was handed a chance in attack by Klopp but one of Liverpool's goalscoring heroes of their victory over Tottenham in the 2019 Champions League final failed to catch the eye. He did not manage a single shot on target, completing just 15 passes before being replaced by Salah. 

Key Opta facts

- Jota's goal was Liverpool’s 10,000th scored in their history in all competitions, coming 128 years after their first, netted by Jock Smith in September 1892 in the Lancashire League.
- Midtjylland became the 17th team to  play their first Champions League away game against an English side – with all 17 failing to win.
- Liverpool started without any of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino for the first time in the Champions League since 2015-16.
- Since his debut in October 2016, Alexander-Arnold has registered 35 assists in competitions, with no Premier League defender managing more in that time (also 35 for Andrew Robertson).
- Salah has been involved in 10 goals in as many Champions League group stage games at Anfield (9 goals, 1 assist).

What's next? 

Liverpool are back in Premier League action on Saturday when they welcome West Ham to Anfield. Midtjylland, meanwhile, host Nordsjaelland in the Danish Superliga.