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Chance for optimism in European scenery – Liverpool vs. RB Leipzig Preview

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Liverpool are just 90 minutes away from securing a place in the Champions League quarter-finals, but will RB Leipzig look to take advantage of their poor form?

Liverpool vs. RB Leipzig

Wednesday, March 10, 2021 – 8pm (GMT)
Puskas Arena
Champions League Last 16, Second Leg
Referee: Clement Turpin (FRA)


The Reds are headed back to Budapest, and considering the run of results at Anfield of late, it is probably for the best.

We were handed another blow over the weekend when relegation-threatened Fulham pulled one over on Jurgen Klopp‘s side, resigning them to their sixth successive defeat on home soil.

It was not pretty and it was another game to lock away in the never to be seen again category, but thankfully a change of scenery is upon us with the Champions League.

Liverpool hold a respectable two-goal buffer over Leipzig heading into the reverse fixture which is to be played at the same ground as the first due to Germany’s COVID-19 restrictions.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 7, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It is by no means an insurmountable lead but it is one the Reds are capable of defending irrespective of their recent woes.

A place in the quarter-finals is on the line and with it Liverpool‘s season, with this the last tangible thing left on offer in 2020/21.

A positive result here could do the world of wonders for players and fans alike.

 

Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 20, 2021: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino (L) and Ozan Kabak before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 238th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After seven changes last time out, Liverpool will return to Hungary with options at their disposal.

Ozan Kabak and Roberto Firmino were the two absentees against Fulham due to minor issues and Klopp will at least have one of them back. Kabak was in training on Tuesday, though Firmino remained absent.

And with no new concerns emerging from the weekend, the manager will have a number of choices to make across each department – though there’s no clarification on whether James Milner will be involved after he was also not spotted in training.

Having been rested last time out, Thiago and Curtis Jones will be back in the mix as will Trent Alexander-Arnold.

While Fabinho is in line for a return to the XI after a late midfield cameo, but the ability for Diogo Jota to back up his first 90 minutes in three months remains to be seen.

For Leipzig, on the other hand, Angelino and Marcel Sabitzer are in doubt for the clash.

Possible RB Leipzig XI: Gulacsi; Adams, Mukiele, Upamecano, Klostermann; Haidara, Kampl; Nkunku, Olmo, Forsberg; Poulsen

 

RB Leipzig

24 October 2020, Saxony, Leipzig: Football: Bundesliga, 5th matchday, RB Leipzig - Hertha BSC in the Red Bull Arena Leipzig. Leipzig's Dayot Upamecano cheers after his equaliser for 1:1. Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa - IMPORTANT NOTE: In accordance with the regulations of the DFL Deutsche Fu?ball Liga and the DFB Deutscher Fu?ball-Bund, it is prohibited to exploit or have exploited in the stadium and/or from the game taken photographs in the form of sequence images and/or video-like photo series.

Since the two teams last met over 21 days ago, their trajectory has been on the polar opposite end of the scales.

While Liverpool have withered away and lost three of their four fixtures since, with only one win to their name, the German outfit has gone four from four.

Julian Nagelsmann has seen his side emerge as Bayern Munich’s rivals at the top of the Bundesliga table, with their 12 points placing them just two points behind the leaders with 10 games remaining.

They have scored with relative ease and effectively locked out their opponent since they last met the Reds, scoring 11 and conceding just two – warning enough for a team well and truly off the boil.

 

Did You Know?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 4, 2018: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the first goal with team-mates during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson, Dejan Lovren. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Since 2004/05, Liverpool have qualified from a Champions League two-legged knockout tie when winning the first leg a total of 10 times out of 10.

A 100 percent record when edging into the lead after the first 90 minutes over the last 17 years, not a bad record.

Can the Reds of 2021 make it 11 from 11?

 

Form

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 7, 2021: Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker (L) and Nathaniel Phillips look dejected as Fulham score the opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Lost 1-0 vs. Fulham
Lost 1-0 vs. Chelsea
Won 2-0 vs. Sheffield United
Lost 2-0 vs. Everton
Won 2-0 vs. RB Leipzig

RB Leipzig – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 3-0 vs. Freiburg
Won 2-0 vs. Wolfsburg
Won 3-2 vs. Borussia Monchengladbach
Won 3-0 vs. Hertha Berlin
Lost 2-0 vs. Liverpool

 

Klopp’s View

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp made it clear that there’s no big issue with playing at Anfield, despite recent results, and says this ‘home’ leg – on neutral territory – is simply another chance to find winning form:

“Two things [give me faith]: the team and the moments we had on the pitch. The competition, the quality of the boys and football in general [mean] you always have the chance in the next game.

“That’s already enough, it must be enough most of the time. It’s half time and we have to play the game to give ourselves the opportunity to go through.

“If we play that good then we deserve it and if not, then not. I have no doubts about us tomorrow – not that we will go through but that we will give Leipzig a proper fight.

“There is no guarantee but there’s 95 minutes to use to get closer to the things you want.”

 

TV & Liveblog Info

Liverpool vs. Leipzig kicks off at 8pm (GMT) and will be shown live in the UK on BT Sport 2, with coverage from 7pm.

Ben Twelves will be at the helm of This Is Anfield’s matchday liveblog, providing regular updates on all the action and keeping you entertained from 7.15pm.

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