A Fruitful European Night Gives Liverpool Renewed Confidence As They Conquer RB Leipzig away
Last night, the grand Puskas Arena in Budapest welcomed two teams with contrasting fortunes as the Champions League round of 16 took centre stage in Europe.
RB Leipzig, a team flourishing in second place in the Bundesliga and Liverpool, the champions of England, struggling in the pits of adversity, sitting at a lowly sixth in the Premier League.
Having said this, against all odds, a different tournament brought a different result for The Reds as they overcame a determined Leipzig 2-0. This after losing three consecutive games in the Premier League.
With this win, Liverpool also took their record to six games unbeaten in away fixtures against German sides with their last defeat coming at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen way back in April 2002.
Looks like Jurgen Klopp loves knocking over teams in his homeland!
In truth, it’s rather funny how for the same team, England of late has become a nightmare and the European excursion restarted on a positive note.
As I write with renewed hope, let’s see how this Champions League fixture panned last night as the Merseyside Cub enjoyed the sweet taste of victory:
Liverpool show attacking intent from the word go
Contrary to what we have seen in the Premier League, Liverpool looked more focused in this fixture as they attacked from the very beginning.
Against the run of play, Leipzig created their only goal-worthy chance of the first half in just the 5th minute when their attacking midfielder, Dani Olmo headed a cross from Angelino albeit the ball hitting the post and bouncing to safety.
Liverpool’s first opportunity came in the 15th minute when Mohamed Salah tried to lift the ball over Gulasci, but Leipzig were lucky as their keeper blocked the ball with his body to keep the Reds at bay. Mane then minutes later had another opportunity to put the Merseyside club in front, albeit his header going over the target.
The attacking intent from Liverpool did not relent one bit in the first half as chances continued to be created though a goal was not be found.
Salah and Mane prove their worth, yet again!
As the second half began, the deadlock was yet to be broken and as in the first half, the German side created the first play in the 46th minute when striker Nkunku tried to fire his effort past Alisson but the Reds keeper did well to divert the ball off-target.
Leipzig faltered in the 53rd minute when their midfielder Marcel Sabitzer played a loose back pass to his defender only for an ever awake opportunist, Mohamed Salah to intercept as the Egyptian made no mistake in drilling the ball past the The Red Bulls’ keeper to put Liverpool in front.
Another mistake from Leipzig in the 58th minute saw Sadio Mane seize on a second opportunity when the German side’s defender Mukeile erred on a loopy ball, as the Senegalese put Liverpool two to the good in a jiffy.
Leipzig were all but out after these two dents though an injury time strike by Hwang also could not arrest their dejection after the South Korean’s effort went just inches wide of the left post.
As the final 90 saw light of day, the score read RB Leipzig 0 – 2 Liverpool.
Can the Reds capitalise on this positive endeavour?
As a diehard Liverpool fan, I certainly hope so.
Retaining the Premier League title is all but over, but a Champions league glory and a top 4 finish in the League is still a reality. Liverpool need to make this win count and show substance in overcoming their own demons which keep them at bay from consistently triumphing.
With the Merseyside derby next on the weekend, followed by fixtures against Sheffield United and Fulham, gives the Reds the perfect opportunity to get their campaign back on track and take that winning momentum into the reverse fixture against Leipzig in three weeks’ time at Anfield.
Soaring is surely possible, provided the Reds start believing!
Until then, with a victory at last and a belief of more to come, in every endeavour my beloved Reds ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone!’