Jesse Marsch - celebrates Salzburg's goal vs. Liverpool
Action Images / Reuters

Marsch's RB Salzburg keep Champions League hope alive after Genk win

Jesse Marsch's RB Salzburg team has turned heads in the Champions League this season, and their most recent result kept hopes alive that they could continue to make waves in the knockout stage.

Salzburg beat Genk 4-1 two weeks ago in group stage action, with young scoring sensation Erling Braut Haland scoring the late capper in the road rout.

The victory left Salzburg in third place in Group E, behind European giants Liverpool and Napoli, but with one matchday to play they still have hope of advancing to the knockout stage next year. RB Salzburg are on seven points, with Napoli on nine and Liverpool on 10.

Salzburg will need to beat Liverpool on Tuesday, and win the goal difference tiebreaker in the head-to-head matchups between them and Liverpool (currently +1 to Liverpool after the first meeting) or if that is even, win the goals scored tiebreaker in head-to-head matches against Liverpool (Liverpool lead 4-3 after one game), or if that is even, win the away goals scored tiebreaker in head-to-head matches against Liverpool (Salzburg have three away goals in one game), if Napoli beat Genk in their final group stage game.

However, if Napoli tie Genk, Salzburg still need to beat Liverpool and win a deciding tiebreaker against the Reds because they would lose the first tiebreaker on 10 points with Napoli, head-to-head points. If Napoli lose to Genk, Salzburg could still advance along with Liverpool, but would still need to defeat European champions to climb above the Italian side in the standings.

Essentially, if Salzburg beat Liverpool and Napoli fails to beat Genk then Marsch's men will be through. Or if Napoli does win, then Salzburg will have to beat Liverpool by a better scoreline than 4-3, so any one-goal win in which Liverpool scores fewer than four away goals.

At the very least, Salzburg have guaranteed at minimum qualification to the Europa League knockout stage, so they will be playing in a European competition in February either way. But Marsch, in his first season with RB Salzburg and the first American manager in the Champions League, could both potentially knock out the defending champion and take Salzburg to the Champions League knockout for the first time in club history.