Liverpool took a huge step towards advancing to the quarter-final stage of this season’s Champions League with a 2-0 win over RB Leipzig.
It was the first leg of their last-sixteen clash with the Bundesliga high-flyers and The Reds came away with a comfortable lead and two ‘away’ goals. The game was played in the Puskás Aréna in Budapest, Hungary, due to COVID-enforced flying restrictions into Germany.
Second-half goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané put Liverpool firmly in the driving seat ahead of the second leg which takes place in March.
Speaking at his post-match press conference, Klopp commented on the Liverpool team performance:
“Very – very pleased with the performance obviously. It led to a result, I think to a deserved result. It was a game where you don’t expect big advantages for one or the other team because of the nature of both teams, because both are really well organised, both defend really well, both are used to causing the opposition side problems in the way they want to build the game. I thought that worked out slightly better for us tonight. I know Leipzig pretty well and I know how dominant they can be football-wise, how overwhelming they can be in a game from a physical point of view. That’s what we had to deal with tonight and the boys played a really good game – a really good game. We had a day less to prepare, which we have spoken a lot about, it’s a tricky thing. But we did well, played a good game, deserved the win I think, and forced them to make mistakes with a good formation, with a good attitude, in other phases we played good football. So, yeah, I’m happy with the performance.”
Klopp insisted there is a lot of work for Liverpool still to do if they are to see if the challenge of RB Leipzig in the second leg.
“We are not children anymore, that we now think, ‘OK, now we won that game and now everything is fine again.’ For me, it’s much more important that we played again good football, again. Not the first time in the last few weeks. I understand that and respect that 100 per cent that nobody is really happy with the results, that’s clear. But the football we played, dominating City in a way that happened not often; same against Leicester that happened not often. Stuff like this, we should not forget that. But tonight the result was there – we kept a clean sheet, we scored two goals, we forced the opponent to make the mistakes we made pretty much in the last few weeks, that’s clear. Worked really hard; the boys did again top individual performances but especially how we really worked together and put all that stuff together.
“Because if you would watch Leipzig more often, you would really know their game can look completely different to tonight. They cause you problems. We saw the line-up and we had no idea which system they would play. We had just no idea because with these players on the pitch they could have played six or seven different systems, and played them already. Not only they could, they played them in moments. And whatever they tried tonight, we had an answer. They had chances, yes, of course – that’s normal. But the majority of the time we really had good control in the game and that’s very important. It doesn’t happen a lot against Leipzig.”
Liverpool travelled back to the UK last night and now turn their focus to the Merseyside derby this weekend. The Reds face Carlo Ancelotti’s side at Anfield on Saturday evening in the Premier League.
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