Tonights Champions League between Liverpool and Salzburg will decide the English team’s fate as they battle for a spot in the final 16.
Although Liverpool find themselves at the top of Group E, only a win will guarantee them a spot in the next round of the Champions League.
Failing to win would put them in a very precarious position as their fate will now lie on the outcome of Napoli’s game against Genk which is to be played at the exact same time.
Should Liverpool lose and Napoli win then Napoli will climb to the top of the table with 12 points. Liverpool and Salzburg will be tied on 10 points however Salzburgs current dominance in head-to-head competition will give them an advantage over Liverpool pushing them up to second place and knocking Liverpool out of the Championship tournament.
The only way for Liverpool to progress under this scenario would be for them to score 4 or more away goals should they lose. This would put them ahead of Salzburg in head-to-head competition and allow them through to the next round.
The only other hope for them to progress should they fail to win or score the required away goals to outmatch Salzburg, would be if Napoli loses in their game against Genk which would leave them at 9 points and allow Liverpool and Salzbur to progress through to the next round.
If Napoli draw in their game against Genk and are unable to score the necessary away goals in a defeat then Liverpool, Salzburg and Napoli will all be sitting on 10 points but as Liverpool would be inferior in head-to-head competitions against both sides, they would find themselves being knocked out.
As both games are being played simultaneously, Liverpool can not afford to aim for anything less then a win if they would like to keep their fate in their own hands.