Who is Jesse Marsch? The history-making undefeated RB Salzburg boss bidding to stun Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpoolby Jack Kitson / 02 October 2019, 09:33Tweet
Liverpool haven’t lost a Champions League game at Anfield in five years dating back to the tenure of Brendan Rodgers.
The current European champions have yet to suffer a defeat at home in the competition under Rodgers’ successor, Jurgen Klopp, who has triumphed in 10 of his 13 matches on the Merseyside patch, while the Reds’ defence hasn’t been breached in five games on home soil.
That’s the immense challenge facing Red Bull Salzburg and their manager Jesse Marsch when the Austrian champions rock up under the Anfield lights on Wednesday night.
The Sack Race takes a look at the history-making American manager, who has yet to suffer a defeat since he took charge of the club in June.
How’s he getting on at Salzburg?
Jesse Marsch has a simply stunning record since he replaced Marco Rose - who departed to Borussia Mönchengladbach - in the summer.
The Austrian Bundesliga may not be at the same level of some of its European counterparts but Marsch has impressed nonetheless, having accumulated 25 points from a possible 27 to date.
He’s also effortlessly swatted aside Genk in the Champions League - more on that in a moment - plus there’s been a couple of victories in the OFB-Cup.
In fact, LASK Linz manager Valérien Ismaël - who was once Crystal Palace’s most expensive signing - is so far the only manager to prevent Marsch from tasting victory this season following a 2-2 draw last month.
Goals, goals, and more goals
Goals have been the key theme of Marsch’s Salzburg tenure so far. His troops have fired in a staggering 55 goals in just 12 games under his tutorship. That’s one more than Jose Mourinho’s Man Utd scored in the entirety of the 2016/17 Premier League campaign.
In 9 of those 12 games Salzburg have scored 4+ goals, scored 6+ on four occasions, while they’ve also conjured up 7-2 and 7-1 scorelines.
Admittedly Liverpool are a completely different breed compared to the likes of Genk, Hartberg and Parndorf, but on current form Marsch’s men will feel they have the capacity to breach any defence they face.
Why he’s in the history books?
Marsch made history in this season’s opening round of Champions League games after he became the first American coach to manage, and win, a group stage match.
It was in sizzling style too as Salzburg thumped Genk 6-2 with 19-year-old wunderkid Erling Braut Haaland bagging a hat-trick. The hosts were remarkably 5-1 up at the break.
It was a fantastic achievement for the coach, especially considering the notable lack of success his fellow countrymen have had over on European soil.
Remember Bob Bradley at Swansea anyone? Speaking of Bob, Marsch was once part of his U.S. national team coaching staff.
What’s his philosophy?
Marsch sported the shirt of DC United, Chicago Fire and Chivas USA in his playing days, then spent time learning the managerial ropes under Bob Bradley in the US set-up. He became the first-ever head coach of Montreal Impact in 2012, then he took up an assistant position at Princeton Tiger.
Next up was a three-year spell at the New York Red Bulls where he won the MLS Supporters’ Shield and was crowned the Coach of the Year in his first season. He left with the best win rate of any manager in the club’s history: 50.33%.
Marsch ventured into Europe in 2018 where he became the assistant to Ralf Rangnick, one of the great minds of German football, who has helped influence his vision of the game.
In an interview with The Times, Rangnick revealed his preferred philosophy is Gegenpressing, which is, of course, synonymous with a certain Jurgen Klopp.
“Very aggressive, very direct, very good against the ball. I like to try to be a teacher in the way that I coach and that fits well with young players. I like to talk a lot about mentality, about leadership and growth.
“I also like to create an environment where everyone challenges themselves to get better every single day and I have been amazed at the progress here."
What’s he said about Jurgen Klopp?
Marsch will now test his coaching credentials against the newly crowned Best FIFA Men’s Coach: Jurgen Klopp. The German hasn’t lost a Champions League home match since Borussia Dortmund were defeated 3-0 by Max Allegri’s Juventus four-and-a-half-years ago.
“It is a terrible match-up for us in one sense, because all the things we do well, they are better at,” joked Marsch in the interview with The Times, before he added: “We will have to be incredibly good on the day at what we do. We are certainly going there to win.”
If it does turn out to be a miserable night for Marsch, he can always take his mind of it by visiting the city’s famous The Beatles exhibition. “My wife and I are big fans of the Beatles,” the 45-year-old revealed. “We named our third child, who is now 12, Lennon after John Lennon.”