Jurgen Klopp left Budapest in Hungary a happy man on Tuesday, February 16, after his struggling team, Liverpool, were able to defeat in-form RB Leipzig in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16.
Before the Champions League game, Jurgen Klopp and his boys recorded three successive defeats in the Premier League for the first time since the German tactician started coaching the club in 2015. With such a form going into a Champions League match against an enterprising side like RB Leipzig, the expected result for Liverpool was a defeat or a draw.
However, Jurgen Klopp was able to find a way to bring out the best in Liverpool’s squad that the players were able to make RB Leipzig look ordinary. Recall that the German side defeated Paris Saint Germain and Manchester United on their way to the Champions League round 16.
As expected, RB Leipzig were as solid as usual but Liverpool were able to force them to make two defensive errors in the second half which led to two quick goals.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute, 5 minutes later, his strike partner, Sadio Mane made it two for Liverpool in the away fixture which was played in Budapest’s Puskas Arena because of Covid-19 restrictions.
One hundred and eighteen Liverpool goals 😲— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 16, 2021
Mohamed Salah. A truly special player. 👑 pic.twitter.com/ou3JD0uovD
The 2-0 away victory in the first leg of the knockout stage means that Liverpool need at least a scoreless draw to proceed to the next round of the competition. While RB Leipzig need to win 3-0 at Anfield on March 10 to proceed ahead of Liverpool.
After the game, an excited Jurgen Klopp said people expected Liverpool to return to England with a defeat, noting how happy he was that his team disappointed the doubters of the club.
“You can’t build mentality giants in one game – tonight we were good and we deserved to win but it’s only the first leg”, Klopp told BT Sport. “A lot of people were waiting for us to slip again and tonight we didn’t. I’m really happy.
“We were really good for two years and this year we’ve had some problems. Normally, the talk started, it’s absolutely normal, it’s fine. A lot of people would have expected us to slip again just because of the situation we’re in and we didn’t. That’s what I’m really happy about…
“Leipzig can be a real monster. The way they play in the Bundesliga, they overrun teams and can be really physical, they are good at everything. Tonight we exceptionally controlled them – they had their moments due to their quality but we played a really good game. We got the result we deserved.
“We defended situations really well when we won the ball and we found direction when we got the ball. The second goal is a really difficult ball for the defender to defend when the ball is arriving in this manner. You need a bit of luck but Sadio was there. For the first goal, we pressed them really well and won the ball. On the whole, we defended really well, got good ball recoveries, and executed attacking transitions.”