Tonight's meeting between RB Salzburg and Liverpool showcases two talented sides at opposite ends of their respective development spectrums.
Salzburg's young, talented, cosmopolitan squad has won the hearts of many football fans around the globe and tonight, they face the ultimate test against the defending European champions.
🌍 Africa shines brightest
Three African players are expected to take their places in the Salzburg starting lineup tonight. Cameroonian Jérôme Onguéné should take his place in the heart of the defence. Zambian holding midfielder Enock Mwepu was outstanding in Salzburg's 4-1 win at Genk last time out, bagging two assists. His countryman Patson Daka got on the score sheet from a wide attacking role. All three of these African stars are still only 21 and starting to earn reputations for themselves, alongside other promising starlets from Africa developing their games in Salzburg.
Liverpool's stars from the continent, on the other hand, are household names already. Guinea's talented technician Naby Keïta starred for the Reds against Bournemouth on the weekend and will be pushing to start, but such is the competition in Jurgen Klopp's midfield that he may have to be happy with a place on the bench.
Superstar duo Mo Salah and Sadio Mané have become two of the most feared forwards on planet football. Both 27, they're starting to approach their respective peaks. Having conquered Europe, their team is firm favourites to win the Premier League title race in 2020. With Mané and Salah in their attack, Liverpool is a side that every European power would rather avoid in the Champions League round of 16.
🎭 Entertainment guaranteed
Between them, these sides have played 10 matches in the group stages and those clashes have produced a total of 46 goals. Salzburg has scored 16 times, and half of those were struck by 19-year-old Erling Braut Håland. If the Norwegian teen scores tonight, he'll become only the second player in history to net in every single game in the group stages of the Champions League.
A convincing win for Salzburg would give them an outside shot at qualification for the round of 16. It may well be out of their reach this season, but this won't be the last we hear of this side on the biggest European stages.
The reverse fixture ended 4-3 to Liverpool at Anfield, and there's no reason to bet against a similarly thrilling outcome tonight.
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