Liverpool win to seal quarter-final spot

Only Cristiano Ronaldo (13) has scored more knockout goals in the Champions League since Sadio Mane’s debut season in the competition in 2017-18 than the Senegal international (12)

Liverpool gave their flagging season a timely boost by beating RB Leipzig to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

The English champions have seen their hopes of retaining the league title they won last June all but ended by a shocking run of recent domestic form, which includes defeat in each of their last six games at Anfield.

But their quest for a second European crown in three seasons remains very much alive thanks to a more confident and composed display in what was technically a home fixture but played at the same venue as the first leg – Budapest’s Puskas Arena.

For 70 minutes, Liverpool were extremely wasteful in front of goal, but sealed the tie when Mohamed Salah cut inside and finished low shortly after Leipzig substitute Alexander Sorloth had struck the bar with a header.

Sadio Mane made absolutely sure with a neat finish from Divock Origi’s superb cross.

Jurgen Klopp’s side will find out their last-eight opponents when the draw is made on Friday, 19 March.

Salah and Mane offer hope of salvation

The rapid, shocking decline in domestic form suffered by Klopp’s side of late means that lifting the Champions League trophy is beginning to look like their more likely route back into the competition next season.

Six home defeats on the spin have sent Liverpool tumbling down the table to eighth, seven points off fourth place.

During that run they have looked a shadow of the side that utterly dominated the English top flight in 2019-20, with much-publicized injuries and resultant shuffling of a settled side stripping it of cogency and confidence.

Wednesday’s display was a welcome step in the right direction for the Reds.

The central defense retained an unavoidable rookie feel, but in front of it the presence of Fabinho alongside Thiago and Diogo Jota in attack gave Liverpool greater solidity, fluency and attacking threat.

That said, they could make their lives an awful lot easier by taking a few of the multitude of chances they create.

Salah, Mane and Jota all had big opportunities to put the tie to bed before half-time, but were either denied by Leipzig keeper Peter Gulacsi or missed the target altogether.

Salah was especially at fault, seeing a shot saved after breaking clear before later firing over from close range following Trent Alexander-Arnold’s neat pull-back.

They were fortunate that the German side – such prolific scorers in the Bundesliga – were equally profligate.

Hampered by the absence of the injured Angelino, Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann spent the second half sending forwards on to the pitch from the bench, including Justin Kluivert, son of former Dutch striker Patrick, but to no avail.

The fight left them at the moment Salah’s low shot hit the back of the net, with Mane taking advantage soon after.

The duo’s return to goalscoring form was timely in the context of this game but even more so for the translates of the Reds’ season as a whole, which is still there to be salvaged.

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RB Leipzig

  1. Squad number1Player nameGulácsi

  2. Squad number22Player nameMukiele

  3. Squad number5Player nameUpamecano

  4. Squad number16Player nameKlostermann

  5. Squad number44Player nameKampl

  6. Squad number14Player nameAdams

  7. Squad number25Player nameOlmo

  8. Squad number7Player nameSabitzer

  9. Squad number18Player nameNkunku

  10. Squad number9Player namePoulsen

  11. Squad number10Player nameForsberg

  1. Squad number8Player nameHaidara

  2. Squad number11Player nameHwang hee-chan

  3. Squad number19Player nameSørloth

  4. Squad number21Player nameKluivert

Line-ups

Liverpool

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Alisson
  • 66Alexander-arnold
  • 47Phillips
  • 19Kabak
  • 26RobertsonSubstituted forTsimikasat 90 ‘minutes
  • 6Thiago alcántaraSubstituted forKeitaat 71 ‘minutes
  • 3Fabinho
  • 5WijnaldumSubstituted forMilnerat 82 ‘minutes
  • 11Salah
  • 20JotaSubstituted forOrigiat 71 ‘minutes
  • 10ManéSubstituted forOxlade-chamberlainat 90 ‘minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Milner
  • 8Keita
  • 13Adrián
  • 15Oxlade-chamberlain
  • 17Jones
  • 21Tsimikas
  • 23Shaqiri
  • 27Origi
  • 28Davies
  • 46R williams
  • 53Davies
  • 76N williams

RB Leipzig

Formation 3-1-4-2

  • 1Gulácsi
  • 22Mukiele
  • 5Upamecano
  • 16Klostermann
  • 44KamplSubstituted forSørlothat 45 ‘minutes
  • 14Adams
  • 25OlmoSubstituted forHaidaraat 72 ‘minutes
  • 7Sabitzer
  • 18Nkunku
  • 9PoulsenSubstituted forHwang hee-chanat 60 ‘minutes
  • 10ForsbergSubstituted forKluivertat 60 ‘minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Orban
  • 6Konaté
  • 8Haidara
  • 11Hwang hee-chan
  • 19Sørloth
  • 20Samardzic
  • 21Kluivert
  • 23Halstenberg
  • 33Martínez
  • 39Henrichs

Live text

  1. Match ends, Liverpool 2, RB Leipzig 0.

  2. Second Half ends, Liverpool 2, RB Leipzig 0.

  3. Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Foul by Naby Keita (Liverpool).

  5. Attempt missed. Konstantinos Tsimikas (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left following a corner.

  6. Substitution, Liverpool. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Sadio Mané.

  7. Substitution, Liverpool. Konstantinos Tsimikas replaces Andrew Robertson.

  8. Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Christopher Nkunku.

  9. Offside, Liverpool. Andrew Robertson tries a through ball, but Divock Origi is caught offside.

  10. Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Foul by Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool).

  12. Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Dayot Upamecano.

  13. Attempt blocked. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Naby Keita.

  14. Amadou Haidara (RB Leipzig) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Foul by James Milner (Liverpool).

  16. Attempt missed. Divock Origi (Liverpool) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Naby Keita.

  17. Substitution, Liverpool. James Milner replaces Georginio Wijnaldum.

  18. Attempt missed. Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Christopher Nkunku.

  19. Offside, Liverpool. Trent Alexander-Arnold tries a through ball, but Sadio Mané is caught offside.

  20. Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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