Can we play you every week?
Second-half goals from Mo Salah and Sadio Mane saw Liverpool cruise into the quarter-finals of the Champions League at Leipzig’s expense.
The 4-0 aggregate score reflects the ease with which the Premier League champions won this tie; I was very disappointed with the Bundesliga side. The victory for Jurgen Klopp’s outfit was much-needed and should help to erase the memory of six straight home defeats at Anfield.
The key to Liverpool’s second-leg dominance in Budapest was Fabinho, restored to Liverpool’s midfield and you could see the difference he made in his natural position.
After a few chances for both teams, Liverpool finally broke through in the 70th minute when Diogo Jota fed Salah, who cut across the edge of the penalty area before finishing nonchalantly into the bottom corner. With that goal, the tie was over.
Four minutes later, Mane doubled Liverpool’s lead on the night when he met a Divock Origi cross with a first-time finish.
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
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 10, 2021
Klopp was especially happy with the performances of young central defenders Ozan Kabak and Nathaniel Phillips.
“The two centre halves played an incredible game. The whole last line played an incredible game because that is a tough task against Leipzig with the runs they make from everywhere,” he said afterwards.
“We had to press them, force them to play those slightly uncontrolled balls forward. We defended deep together really well which is important. Everybody had a really good game. It was a good performance.”
Now, could Liverpool finish outside the top four but qualify for next season’s Champions League by winning it!? This season, nothing would surprise me. No team will want to draw them, that is certain. They are still very dangerous, especially over two legs.
Man of the match: Fabinho (Liverpool) – magnificent in his usual holding midfield role.