Champions League Round of 16; Liverpool nose ahead on Salah and Mane away goals
UEFA Champions League’ Round of 16 match reports.
RB Leipzig 0, Liverpool 2 – Tuesday, 16th February 2021 – Puskas Arena, Budapest
Second-half goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane put Liverpool in command as they lead the first leg of the Round of 16 away tie against RB Leipzig at the Puskas Arena in Budapest. Jurgen Klopp’s side were a far cry from the one that have been struggling in the English Premier League with their superior experience and quality ultimately holding them in good stead against a young and error-prone Leipzig side.
Leipzig were the first to pose a serious threat to the Reds’ goals as Dani Olmo went close with a diving header that hit the post. But it was Liverpool who wrested control of the game after that.
The Reds pressed high, not allowing Leipzig any space in the midfield with Mane heading one over from eight yards off a Roberto Firmino pass and Andrew Robertson coming within inches of scoring from a spectacular 40-yard lob after he spotted keeper Peter Gulasciwell well out of the box.
Firmino had the ball in the net minutes later when heading home from a Mane back cross but it was found to have crossed the line as Liverpool went into half-time looking much the better side.
Jurgen Klopp’s men then hit their rivals with a couple of goals to take command of the tie. The usually reliable Marcel Sabitzer essayed a callous ball to Lukas Klostermann that in fact turned out to be a perfect through ball for Salah who galloped through on goal and finished clinically with his left foot in the 53rd minute, taking his tally for the season to 24 goals across all competitions.
The Leipzig defense gave away as right-back Nordi Mukiele misjudged the flight of a long ball forward, allowing Mane to careen through on goal in the same way Salah did five minutes earlier and double the away side’s advantage. Leipzig really did not look like threatening the rival goal in any away while trying to find their way back into the match as they were restricted to a couple of long-range efforts from Angelino and Sabitzer.
The last threat from the German club came when Hwang Hee-Chan clipped his attempt inches wide in stoppage time.
For Klopp’s men, the Budapest win marks a significant march forward towards the quarter-finals and a first step on the road to potentially rejuvenating a flagging season.
RB Leipzig starting XI in 3-1-4-2 formation: Gulacsi (goal), Klostermann, Upamecano, Mukiele, Angelino, Olmo, Sabitzer, Haidara, Kampl, Adams, Nkunku
Subs: Poulsen, Orban
Liverpool starting XI in 4-3-3 formation: Alisson (goal), Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Kabak, Henderson, Jones, Thiago, Wijnaldum, Mane, Salah, Firmino
Subs: Shaqiri, Williams, Oxlade-Chamberlain
Other Round of 16 UCL results from 16th & 17th February
- Barcelona 1 – Messi (27’minutes pen), Paris St. Germain 4 – Mbappe (32’minutes, 65’minutes, 85’minutes), Kean (70’minutes) – Nou Camp, Barcelona
- Sevilla 2 – Fernandez Saez (7’minutes), de Jong (84’minutes), Borussia Dortmund 3 – Dahoud (19’minutes), Haaland (27’minutes, 43’minutes) – Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Sevilla
- FC Porto 2 – Taremi (2’minutes), Marega (46’minutes), Juventus 1 – Chiesa (82’minutes) – Estadio do Dragao, Porto
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