Liverpool have a great chance to get ahead of their rivals in the hunt for Erling Braut Haaland. The 19-year-old caught everyone’s eye on Tuesday night.
The Norwegian scored a first-half hat-trick for RB Salzburg in their 6-2 win over Genk. It was, quite incredibly, his 17th goal in nine games for the Austrian club.
Haaland also made headlines in the summer when he bagged nine times in one Under 20 World Cup game. There’s little doubt he knows how to hit the back of the net then.
But this was his first appearance at the top level and he shone beyond belief. He’s the first teenager to score a Champions League hattrick in the first 45 minutes, for one thing.
The BBC immediately ran an article asking if we were “witnessing the emergence of European football’s latest superstar”. His manager at Salzburg believes he will “definitely going to become one of the best strikers in the world.”
All in all, this is a player teams will want to check out and one you want to be at the head of the line for.
And Liverpool are right there.
That’s because RB Salzburg are in Liverpool’s group and the Reds will face Haaland twice this season. That immediately gives Liverpool an advantage over their rivals in the race for this superstar.
It’s one thing watching from the stands, another entirely when your own players can tell you how good he is. When you can see what he does to them, you’ll know his level.
And so if Haaland really is special, Liverpool will know before the end of the year. It’s an advantage that may give them the necessary edge if there’s a race next summer.