Leipzig 0-2 Liverpool: European reintegration is the perfect tonic for the reds

Champions League Last 16 1st Leg
Tuesday 16 February 2021 - 8:00 pm
Puskas Stadium, Budapest, Hungary
RB Leipzig0
2Liverpool
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Mukiele5'
Haidara5'
53'Salah ⚽️
58'Mane ⚽️
Angeliño64'
Mukiele off, Orbán on ↔️65'
Haidara off, Poulsen on ↔️65'
Angeliño66'
67' Kabak
70'↔️ Firmino off, Shaqiri on
70'↔️ Alcantara off, Oxlade-Chamberlain on
Kampl off, Hwang on ↔️73'
Olmo76'
81' Henderson
89'↔️ Salah off, Williams on
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Liverpool, not for the first time in their illustrious history, welcomed the embrace of the European Cup last night to produce one of their better performances of the calendar year.

A flight to Budapest ultimately proved to be the perfect tonic as Liverpool appeared thrilled by Leipzig's high intensity start and matched, and then exceeded the 'home' team to get an important two goal lead.

The reds don't have to worry about this competition for three weeks when the second leg will hopefully be played at Anfield.  Although on the basis of this game, the reds might not be too upset about returning to Hungarian soil.

Alisson dodged a third consecutive disaster and collected his 50th clean sheet at Liverpool.  Ozan Kabak was calm and reassuring and appeared to be the better central defender out of him and Upemecano, a £40M signing heading to Bayern Munich this summer.

As it happened: Leipzig 0-2 LFC

This Leipzig side are pushing Bayern Munich the closest this season - a Munich side that managed to displace Liverpool as both European and World Champions over the past 8 months.  They had little answer to the reds power and pace today as Curtis Jones and Trent Alexander-Arnold formed a formidable partnership linking defence to attack.

The team was effectively the same as that of the weekend.  Thiago starting this time around instead of being a 15th minute substitute.

It says a huge amount about Curtis Jones development that when the midfield substitutions were being readied - it was the current European Champion Thiago, and not the young scouser Jones, who made way.

Mohammed Salah, always waiting, latched on to the poor backpass to calmly slot the game's opener past former LFC academy player Peter Gulasci - now a Hungarian international.  And Sadio Mane capitalised a short while later to seal the second away goal of the evening.

It was a much more positive looking Liverpool side who, to be fair, have shown a lot of sparks of brilliance in each of the last five games - only for some catastrophic defensive errors to deprive them of the six points needed to be sitting four places higher in the league.

Liverpool, and Klopp, will be hoping to keep hold of this baton as they prepare to face Everton at the weekend - a sadly critical game that the reds must now win to boost their chances of returning to the top four.

Although the title may be beyond reach, top four is clearly an overriding priority.

Mind you, on the basis of tonight's performance, Liverpool can never be written off doing something completely crazy like landing their seventh European title.

It looks a long shot, but it looks closer now than it did 24 hours ago.

A good night in Budapest.  Job half done.

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