Match report as Liverpool ease past RB Leipzig to reach the Champions League quarter-finals; Goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane help Liverpool put their Premier League struggles behind them; Jurgen Klopp’s side go into the draw for the last eight and the last four on March 19
Wednesday 10 March 2021 22:26, UK
Liverpool put their Premier League struggles behind them as they beat RB Leipzig 2-0 at the Puskas Arena to secure a 4-0 aggregate win and a place in the Champions League quarter-finals.
Jurgen Klopp’s side, who suffered a sixth straight home defeat at the hands of Fulham on Sunday, continued their difficulties in front of goal during the first half, missing a host of chances.
However, the missed opportunities didn’t prove costly as two goals in four second-half minutes from Mohamed Salah (70) and Sadio Mane (74) secured the Premier League champions’ passage into the last eight.
Victory will come as welcome relief to Klopp and his side, who secured just their third win in nine games across all competitions. Their hopes of winning a seventh European Cup remain on track and they now have the draw for the quarter-finals and semi-finals to look forward to on Friday March 19.
12/13 – In all European competitions under Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool have now progressed from 12 of their 13 two-legged knockout ties (including qualifiers), only failing in last season’s last 16 against Atlético de Madrid. Smiles. pic.twitter.com/CfFFlMaS2O
- How the teams lined up | Match stats
- Champions League last 16 lowdown
How Liverpool put their domestic troubles behind them…
This was Liverpool’s designated ‘home’ fixture but after their Anfield difficulties they were probably grateful coronavirus restrictions forced them to play in Hungary again.
And freed from defensive responsibilities after Fabinho’s inclusion in midfield, Thiago Alcantara showed his desire to create early in the game when he opted to lay the ball off to Salah when played through the middle, but following a poor pass the chance was lost.
Mane then volleyed over, while Diogo Jota’s powerful header was tipped over by former Liverpool goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi as the Reds made a fast start.
The chances continued to come for Liverpool as Salah failed to beat the Leipzig goalkeeper from a quick counter-attack and Mane made a mess of the follow-up header.
Alisson Becker made one save in the first half from Dani Olmo as Leipzig looked to get a grip of the game, but Liverpool should have been ahead in the tie just before the break as Jota was again denied by Gulacsi before the forward fired into the side-netting on the stroke of half-time.
- Champions League news | Results | Fixtures
- Get Champions League from BT Sport on Sky
With the tie slipping away from them, Leipzig sent on striker Alexander Sorloth and the former Crystal Palace striker almost dragged the German side back into the tie, but his header looped onto the crossbar.
However, Julian Nagelsmann’s side failed to build on that as Liverpool eventually found their scoring boots. Having waited more than 11 hours for a goal from open play at home, two came along in quick succession.
Liverpool: Alisson (7), Alexander-Arnold (7), Phillips (8), Kabak (7), Robertson (6), Fabinho (8), Wijnaldum (8), Thiago (7), Mane (7), Salah (7), Jota (7).
Subs: Keita (6), Origi (6), Milner (n/a), Tsimikas (n/a), Oxlade-Chamberlain (n/a).
RB Leipzig: Gulacsi (7), Upamecano (7), Sabitzer (6), Poulsen (6), Forsberg (6), Adams (6), Klostermann (7), Nkunku (7), Mukiele (6), Olmo (6), Kampl (6).
Subs: Sorloth (6), Kluivert (7), Hwang (6), Haidara (6).
Man of the match: Fabinho
A quick passing move from just inside their own half involving Thiago, Mane and Jota teed up Salah to cut inside and slot home with his left foot in the 70th minute.
And four minutes later, Mane made sure there was to be no late drama by converting substitute Divock Origi’s cross from close range to put the smiles back on Liverpool faces.
100 up for Klopp
Sadio Mane scored the 100th Champions League goal in Jurgen Klopp’s 44th match in charge at Liverpool.
Man of the match – Fabinho
Restored to Liverpool’s midfield for the first time since October 17, Fabinho showed exactly what the Reds have been missing.
Used as a makeshift defender following Virgil van Dijk’s injury in the Merseyside derby in October, the Brazilian has done an admirable job trying to hold Klopp’s defence together.
But against Leipzig, he showed exactly why Klopp will try to keep him in the middle of the park from now until the end of the season.
He didn’t put a foot wrong, controlling the game beautifully alongside Georginio Wijnaldum and Thiago Alcantara. He also gave the inexperienced centre-back pairing of Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak the protection they needed to secure a clean sheet to help the Reds keep their dream of a seventh European Cup alive.
Opta stats – Liverpool’s impressive run against German opposition continues
25 – Mohamed Salah has scored more goals than any other Premier League player in all competitions this season (25). King. pic.twitter.com/LgAlLrLkB9
- Liverpool remain unbeaten in their last 12 meetings with German opponents in all European competition (W9 D3) since a 2-4 loss to Bayer 04 Leverkusen in April 2002.
- Liverpool won both legs of a UEFA Champions League two-legged knockout tie while also keeping a clean sheet in each leg for the first time since the 2008-09 last 16 v Real Madrid.
- Only Cristiano Ronaldo (13) has scored more knockout goals in the UEFA Champions League since Sadio Mané’s debut season with Liverpool in the competition in 2017-18 than the Senegalese international (12).
- Since Alisson made his UEFA Champions League debut in September 2017, the Brazilian has kept more clean sheets in the competition than any other goalkeeper (16).
- RB Leipzig have lost back-to-back games in European competition for only the second time (also November 2018), and the first time in the UEFA Champions League.
Liverpool travel to Wolves on Monday Night Football at 8pm – live on Sky Sports Premier League. Meanwhile, RB Leipzig are back in Bundesliga action on Sunday when they host Eintracht Frankfurt (kick-off 2.30pm).
When are the draws for the quarter-finals and semi-finals?
The draw for the Champions League quarter-finals, followed by the draw for the semi-finals, will take place from 11am UK time on Friday March 19. You will be able to follow both draws with Sky Sports.
Champions League key dates
Round of 16 second legs: March 16/17
Quarter-final and semi-final draws: March 19
Quarter-finals first legs: April 6/7
Quarter-finals second legs: April 13/14
Semi-finals first legs: April 27/28
Semi-finals second legs: May 4/5
Final: May 29 (Atatürk Olympic Stadium)
Source: Read Full Article