Liverpool rediscovered misplaced kind and seized the initiative in opposition to RB Leipzig within the first leg of their Champions League last-16 conflict by cruising to a 2-0 win in a cold Budapest on Tuesday. Clinical early second-half strikes from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, each courtesy of dreadful defensive errors, proved decisive and depart the German aspect going through a formidable job within the return leg on March 10. The win strikes Jurgen Klopp’s males to the brink of the Champions League quarter-finals and likewise ends a run of three straight defeats that has left the English champions 13 factors behind leaders Manchester City within the Premier League.
“It was a game we wanted it was a game we needed tonight,” Klopp instructed BT Sport afterwards.
“Leipzig can be a real monster. The way they play in the Bundesliga they overrun teams, they can be really physical in everything and tonight we controlled them in an exceptional way.
“They had their moments due to the standard they’ve however we managed the sport so tonight I feel we acquired the consequence we deserved,” he said.
The first leg was moved from Leipzig to the Hungarian capital due to Germany’s strict Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Despite the enforced relocation, Julian Nagelsmann’s side, on a four-game winning streak at home where they are second behind Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, started briskly and almost went ahead on four minutes.
Marauding left-back Angelino teed up fellow Spaniard Dani Olmo for a close-range diving header past Alisson but the effort only rattled the post.
Soon after Angelino again exploited space on the left but his left-footed volley skewed harmlessly across the goalmouth.
Instead it was Liverpool, striving to reverse their slump and badly in need of a Champions League lift, who gradually created more chances, often benefitting from loose defending.
First, Salah, busy throughout, forced a block from Leipzig’s Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi on the quarter hour.
Ten minutes later Mane, outjumping Nordi Mukiele, headed a Firmino cross just over after the Brazilian striker and Salah had combined well on the right.
Shortly before half-time, Andy Robertson shaved the crossbar when his lob from distance almost caught out the Budapest-born Gulacsi dashing back after making a clearance outside his box.
Although Leipzig perked up on the restart with Alisson Becker saving from Christopher Nkunku, the German side, were made to pay for two calamitous mistakes early in the second half.
In the 53rd minute, Salah pounced on a sloppy back-pass by Austrian midfielder Marcel Sabitzer and ran unchallenged to smoothly slot past Gulacsi.
Five minutes later, Mane doubled Liverpool’s lead in similar fashion, smartly finishing after Mukiele had scuffed a clearance.
“We made two large errors which might be punished at any stage,” Nagelsmann told DAZN.
“Mistakes occur, we did not play badly and we now have to reside with the consequence, we now have to attain twice simply to take the sport (return leg) to additional time, however we’ll attempt to do our greatest,” he said.
With Swedish playmaker Emil Forsberg sidelined by a knee injury and lacking a talismanic goalscorer, Leipzig rarely threatened to pull one back.
Liverpool were left to cruise to victory, keeping alive their hopes of silverware via Champions League glory this season despite their domestic troubles.
“We had been for 2 years actually good after which this yr we had some issues,” said Klopp.
“That’s completely regular and I’ve no downside with that. It’s simply lots of people most likely anticipated us to slide once more due to the scenario and the boys did not,” he stated.
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