There was no shortage of attacking talent on show at Anfield on Wednesday but one man caught the attention of many.
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Erling Braut Haaland dominated the headlines in the build-up to Liverpool v Salzburg but it was another striker who stole the show as the visitors almost pulled off a miraculous comeback at Anfield.
The reigning European champions were 3-0 up and flying when Hee-Chan Hwang burst into the box in the 39th minute. A clever cutback on to his right foot, which completely foxed UEFA Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk, and a driven finish past Adrián handed Salzburg an unlikely lifeline going into the break.
It was the 23-year-old's second UEFA Champions League goal of the season, having netted Salzburg’s third in their 6-2 opening win against Genk, and his sixth in all competitions.
Eleven minutes into the second half at Anfield, Hwang was in the thick of things again, whipping in a cross for Takumi Minamino to volley in Salzburg's second.
Erling Braut Haaland was promptly introduced to continue his fairy-tale rise with an equalising goal after three minutes – his fourth strike in the competition and 18th in total this campaign. Hwang, once more, was key in the build-up.
"Absolutely crazy, he was brilliant today," Haaland told UEFA.com. “He’s so important to the team.”
After a failed loan stint at Hamburg in the 2. Bundesliga last season, scoring just twice in 20 appearances, the South Korean international is now thriving on the biggest stage under American Jesse Marsch.
With bundles of energy, wonderful dribbling skills and pinpoint passing, Hwang is perfectly suited to Marsch’s high pressing, quick counter style, and has quickly formed a formidable partnership with fellow forward Haaland.
"We obviously understand each other very well," Hwang, who moved to Austria from his homeland in 2015, told UEFA.com.
Indeed, six of Hwang’s ten assists this campaign have been for the Norwegian star, including two of Haaland’s three against Genk. The first showcased his bullish determination to win the ball in the final third, the second was a low cross into the box – both strikes served up on a silver platter.
A perfect night it was not, however. "We have mixed feelings," Haaland told UEFA.com "We did well to come back, but we’re disappointed to have lost."
Commitment to the cause
"If we can do it, wonderful. If not, then let’s fail in the most beautiful way," were Jürgen Klopp’s words ahead of Liverpool’s famous comeback against Barcelona in last season’s semi-finals. It was a mantra embraced by Salzburg on Wednesday, even if there was no happy ending this time.
But don’t think defeat will turn Salzburg off course as they continue to navigate their way through Group E. “We will continue to attack and run hard,” Hwang promises.
Additional reporting from Matthew Howarth at Anfield