Reigning English Champions Liverpool Fc defeated the hosts RB Leipzig Fc 0-2 in the First Leg of the Champions League 2020-21 Round of 16.
In place of the injured James Milner; Thiago Alcântara was named in the starting line-up and the Spaniard was the only change that Jürgen Klopp made to the Team that lost to the hosts Leicester City Fc.
Despite being declared fit, Ben Davies was named among the substitutes. Divock Origi and Caoimhín Kelleher were also back among the substitutes; after recovering from their respective injuries.
Like the Leicester City away clash, the Reds looked lively and full of energy. This game was certainly never looked like both sides could keep a clean sheet.
Forced to play in a neutral venue, the “home side” first came close to scoring an early Goal as a cross Angeliño was met with a diving header by Dani Olmo but the ball hit the left side of the post in the 5th minute.
Former Reds Goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi denied Mohamed Salah in the 15th minute after an assist from Alexander-Arnold.
Marcel Sabitzer tried his volley but was comfortably saved by Alisson Becker in the 17th minute following an assist from Olmo.
Andrew Robertson attempted a long range shot but missed the top left corner of the net in the 32nd minute.
Firmino nodded the ball after Sadio Mané hooked the ball back across but the Goal did not count as the ball was adjudged to have crossed the line and was chalked off as Goal Kick in the 36th minute.
As unusual as it is, both sides were unable to break the deadlock as the First Half ended at 0-0.
After the Second Half, RB Leipzig started more positively as Christopher Nkunku was brilliantly stopped by Alisson after an assist by Dani Olmo with a through ball in the 46th minute.
A poor pass from Sabitzer to Luka Klostermann was quickly latched on by Salah, who then sent Gulácsi to the wrong direction and calmly struck the ball in to the bottom right side of the net in the 53rd minute.
Another defensive howler from RB Leipzig and this time from Dayot Upamecano, as the French International made a mistimed clearance from the speculative diagonal pass of Curtis Jones was quickly latched on this time by Mané and the Senegalese calmly placed the ball on to the bottom left corner of the net in the 58th minute.
Xherdan Shaqiri and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were brought on to replace Firmino and Thiago in the 71st minute.
The Reds had to be more careful during the closing part of the game as Angeliño missed his shot to the right side of the net in the 79th minute after an assist by Tyler Adams.
Neco Williams replaced Salah to help the Reds close out the game.
The Reds kept their calm and went on to win 0-2 to pick up a vital away win.
Reds Team Performance Ratings
Liverpool (4-3-3 Formation)
Alisson Becker – 7: Made good saves especially the one to deny Nkunku early in the Second Half. Looked calm and composed throughout.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8: Made good defensive interceptions and looked threatening going forward.
Ozan Kabak – 7: Much better display from the young Turkish International as he looked solid and alert, despite getting repeatedly ruffled by the home side attackers.
Jordan Henderson – 7: The Skipper again played as Makeshift Defender and marshalled the defence well as well as provided probing long-range passes to unsettle the home side defence.
Andrew Robertson – 7: Defended very well, probed forward with intent and linked well with Mané.
Curtis Jones – 6: Conceded possession early during the First Half but improved greatly during the Second Half. Much better performance compared to his previous outing.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 7: Shielded the defence despite finding it difficult to deal with getting swarmed around by the home side Players.
Thiago Alcântara – 7: Much better display from the Spaniard and put in the hard yards for the Team. The Spaniard kept providing the passes that enabled the Reds to go on the front foot.
Sadio Mané – 7: Scored the second Goal for the side and created panic for the home side Defenders throughout the game.
Roberto Firmino – 6: Linked up well with Mané and Salah. Unfortunate not to find the back of the net. The Brazilian was also key to part of the incessant pressing from the Reds.
Mohamed Salah – 7: Scored the opening Goal for the Reds and the Egyptian never gave a moment’s rest for the home side’s defence.
Xherdan Shaqiri – N/A: Brought on to replace Firmino and provide more attacking option.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – N/A: Replaced Thiago to bring more pace and put more pressure on the RB Leipzig defence.
Neco Williams – N/A: Brought on to see out the game.
Jürgen Klopp – 7: After losing three successive games, the win over RB Leipzig is a massive confidence booster and will help to reignite their Season.
Despite the recent poor performances from youngster Curtis Jones, Klopp continued to show his faith on the youngster.
Klopp however should not get carried away by today’s result persisting with the youngster as results seen in previous matches could return.
Regardless, the Reds would prefer to play against a Team that would look to attack and play a high defensive line.
Still, the reigning English Champions showed their resilience when the chips were down and picked up a crucial away win as well as a clean sheet.
Job well done by the Reds considering they imploded in the Leicester City Fc away game.
#RBLeipzig #LiverpoolFc #ChampionsLeague