HERNING, DENMARK (AP) — Mohamed Salah eclipsed Steven Gerrard as Liverpool’s top scorer in the Champions League by netting after 55 seconds — another club record — in a 1-1 draw against FC Midtjylland yesterday.
Salah pounced on a loose back-pass by Alexander Scholz to run through from near the halfway line and poke the ball through the legs of the goalkeeper for his 22nd goal in the Champions League.
Already qualified as Group D winner, Liverpool rested a number of key players — though Salah played the whole game — and Midtjylland capitalised by taking the game to the English champions in the second half.
After Evander struck the crossbar with a fierce shot, Scholz earned Midtjylland the second point of its first ever group-stage campaign by converting a 62nd-minute penalty following a foul on Anders Dreyer by Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher.
Both teams had goals disallowed in final minutes, Midtjylland for offside and Liverpool for a handball against Sadio Mane. It was not the best advert for video technology, with long delays over three second-half goal incidents contributing to eight minutes of stoppage time.
The awarding of the penalty was contentious, with referee Francois Letexier having blown for a free kick for offside as Dreyer was brought down. VAR advised the official to go to the pitchside monitor and the Frenchman subsequently awarded a spot kick from which Scholz scored.
Midtjylland finished in last place, five points behind Ajax, which lost 1-0 to Atalanta on Wednesday as the Italian side joined Liverpool in the last 16.
Jurgen Klopp selected Liverpool’s youngest Champions League starting line-up, with an average age of just 24 years and 26 days, though Salah (28) and Fabinho (27) were in it. While Fabinho was replaced at halftime by Billy Koumetio, who became Liverpool’s youngest player in the European Cup or Champions League at the age of 18 and 25 days, Salah stayed on until the end.
It was a surprising decision by Klopp considering Liverpool has three games in a seven-day span.
Trent Alexander-Arnold was captain for the night and became the club’s third-youngest skipper, and its youngest in a European game.
Another academy graduate, Leighton Clarkson, made his European debut having previously only featured in two domestic cup games last season.