Liverpool returned to Champions League action and the change of scenery proved just the tonic with an impressive away-leg win against Leipzig in Budapest.
RB Leipzig 0-2 Liverpool
Champions League Last 16, First Leg
Puskas Arena (Budapest)
Tuesday, 16 February 2021
After three straight league defeats, a return to Europe with the Champions League last-16 provided Jurgen Klopp‘s side with a welcome change of focus.
The first chance fell to Leipzig, with the ‘home’ side hitting the post through Danny Olmo’s header after five minutes, but it was Liverpool who dominated the opening half an hour and grew into the game.
There was a good chance for Mohamed Salah, which was saved by former Red Peter Gulacsi, while there were half-chances for Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.
Liverpool were looking improved from recent times and when Mane was put through and Gulacsi came out of his goal, Andy Robertson almost chipped the ‘keeper from 30 yards out – the backpedalling Gulacsi ending with his head through his own net!
Soon after, the Reds had the ball in the net when Firmino headed in but the ball was adjudged to have gone out before Mane had poked it back for his teammate.
The first half ended goalless, but it was a 45 which Klopp and his players will have been pleased with.
Half time: RB Leipzig 0-0 Liverpool
- Salah nets 7th goal in last 7 games
- Alisson gets 50th LFC cleansheet
- Return leg takes place in 3 weeks
The deadlock was broken early in the second half when Salah capitalised on a mistake by Klostermann. It was a clinical finish, taking him to 24 goals in all competitions for the season – beating last season’s total already.
It also provided a vital away goal for the Reds, despite the match being played at a neutral venue in Budapest.
Within five minutes it was 2-0, with a similar goal seeing Mane this time take advantage of another mistake from Leipzig, this time from Dayot Upamecano.
It was a superb away performance from the Reds, controlling the game and tempo. A 2-0 win away from home in Europe is always the ideal professional result.
The cleansheet will be massive for the confidence of Alisson and Liverpool’s defence, especially for new signing Ozan Kabak who looked very good throughout.
The return leg is due to be played at Anfield on March 10, but could yet be moved outside of England due to Germany’s pandemic travel restrictions.
For now, attentions return to domestic matters, with the Merseyside derby at Anfield on Saturday night.
TIA Man of the Match: Mohamed Salah
Referee: Slavko Vincic (SVN)
Attendance: Behind closed doors
RB Leipzig: Gulacsi, Mukiele (Orban 64′), Klostermann, Upamecano, Adams, Sabitzer, Kampl (Hwang 73′), Angelino, Haidara (Poulsen 64′), Olmo, Nkunku
Subs not used: Martinez, Konate, Sorloth, Samardzic, Kluivert, Halstenberg, Hartmann, Henrichs
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, Henderson, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Thiago (Oxlade-Chamberlain 72′), Jones; Salah (N. Williams 90′), Mane, Firmino (Shaqiri 72′)
Subs not used: Kelleher, Adrian, Davies, Phillips, R. Williams, Tsimikas, Clarkson, Cain, Origi
Next Match: Everton (home, Saturday 20 March)