Liverpool in the QF hat after comfortable win
Goals from Salah and Mané capped off an impressive performance from the English Champions, against a lacklustre Leipzig who offered very little.
With Liverpool’s dismal run and Leipzig’s perfect run since the first leg, this tie looked far from over for Klopp’s men who thankfully for them, had two away goals in their favour.
The Red’s started bright, forcing the German side back. An early chance fell to Sadio Mané who volleyed over after being beautifully picked out by Gini Wijnaldum.
After weathering an early storm, Leipzig managed to create their first chance down the left flank with Nkunku. In need of a goal, Leipzig flooded the box with white shirts and a smart save was required by Alisson, to deny Dani Olmo.
Despite their opponent's threat on the counter, Liverpool continued to try and extend their lead. This time Jota found himself with a free header from a corner, but could only sting the hands of the former Liverpool goalkeeper Gulácsi.
With the presence of Fabinho back in the midfield, Thiago had the freedom to express himself higher up the pitch and pick out the killer passes that he was brought to Anfield for. He played with a lot more confidence tonight and this was clear to see after he found Salah with a ‘karate kick’ pass who fired straight at the keeper.
Chances piled up for the ‘home side’ with Alexander-Arnold finding himself free on the right who squared it to Mo Salah who once again wasted another chance. As the first half progressed, questions began to arise on whether Liverpool would come to rue these missed opportunities.
Despite having most of the ball in the first half, it was a rarity for Leipzig to find themselves in the Liverpool box. The German side tried to punish the Reds before half time and a ricochet in the box fell to Emil Forsberg who dragged his shot wide of Alisson’s goal. A huge chance for Leipzig went begging.
On the stroke of half time, Jota had two chances to put Liverpool ahead. Despite a stroke of fortune, Jota smartly drove through the Leipzig defence but yet again, found the goalkeeper instead of a corner . Dayot Upamecano then unorthodoxly attempted to defend a Liverpool attack but his heavy touch fell to Jota who looked a cert to tap in from a couple of yards out. However, the Portuguese international could only find the side netting.
A second half that brought little chances early on, had its first real opening when young Dutch winger Justin Kluivert carried the ball forward and a dangerous cross found substitute Sørloth whose header came off the crossbar.
Liverpool’s front three of Mané, Jota and Salah had looked sharp all game, despite their disappointing end product in-front of goal. The three forwards combined superbly well to free up Mo Salah, who turned Upamecano inside out before smartly slotting the ball into the bottom right corner.
Liverpool doubled their lead and worsened Leipzig’s woes with Divock Origi making an instant impact. The Belgian drilled a delightful ball across the 6 yard box that allowed Mané to power home from close range.
On a night where most expected an in-form Leipzig to bring the game to a Liverpool side suffering so poorly domestically of late, it was the hosts who came away from the Hungarian capital with a convincing victory; sending them marching through to the last eight.
Alisson (7), Trent (7), Philips (8), Kabak (7), Robertson (7), Fabinho (9), Thiago (8), Wijnaldum (7), Jota (7), Mané (7), Salah (7)
Subs: Origi (7), Keita (6), Milner (6), Oxlade-Chamberlain (N/A), Tsimikas (N/A)
Gulacsi (6), Klostsermann (6), Upamecano (6), Mukiele (6), Kampl (6), Nkunku (7), Olmo (6), Sabitzer (7), Adams (6), Forsberg (6), Poulsen (6)
Subs: Sørloth (6), Hwang (6), Kluivert (7), Haidara (6)
Man of the Match: Fabinho
Liverpool will now turn their attention back to the Premier league where they will want to get back to winning ways. They face Wolves at the Molineux on Monday night.
Leipzig will face Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday, where they will hope to continue their chase towards league leaders Bayern who are two points clear at the top.
Written by Thomas Barnes