Salah’s goal was his seventh in seven games, bringing him to 24 for the season – one more than last season
Liverpool ended their last run with a confidence-building win over RB Leipzig to give themselves an excellent chance to reach the last eight of the Champions League.
The Reds played the away game in the Budapest Puskas Arena due to Covid-19 restrictions and scored twice in five minutes at the beginning of the second half, in both cases after defensive errors on the German side.
Mohamed Salah demonstrated an excellent awareness of quickly clinging to a loose back pass before getting properly done.
Sadio Mane was then just as vigilant to use a fluffy attempt by Nordi Mukiele to storm through Peter Gulacsi and get past him with his side foot.
In a fast-paced match between two highly pressing teams, the experience and quality of the Reds made itself felt before the break.
However, they were fortunate enough not to fall behind within five minutes when Dani Olmo’s header hit the base of the post after an Angelino cross.
After Jürgen Klopp’s team had mastered the game well after the 2-0 win, they will defend their lead in Anfield on March 10, if they are one of the favorites who go one round further than last season.
Liverpool are taking the first step on the road to recovery
In the gap between their last group game and this one, the season in Liverpool has imploded a bit. Her long unbeaten home record has come to an end, as has her FA Cup challenge this season, and her last three league games have ended in defeat. Leading boss Jürgen Klopp waved the white flag in his title defense.
Tuesday night, however, was a much-needed reminder of the qualities that led them to that league win and Champions League trophy the previous season.
After surviving Olmo’s early header, they grew into the game and wrestled control from Leipzig before shocking opponents who reached the semi-finals of that competition last year beat Manchester United in this season’s group stage and are currently second in the Bundesliga.
The game was billed as master against apprentice, one of Germany’s best management exports in modern times in Klopp against the country’s smartest young thing – possibly the continent – in Julian Nagelsmann.
It showed a shared DNA between two sides that wanted to play on the forefoot in enemy territory. Players charged forward when they had the ball and rushed in a high press when they didn’t. Fire fought fire.
It made for a frenetic and intriguing spectacle that put even the most acclaimed defenders to the test and forced them to make mistakes, including Bayern Munich-based Dayot Upamecano, who repeatedly gave the ball away as Mane and Salah hummed around him .
Although Klopp’s side had the better half of the first half, had the more consistent pressure and had more chances, they were unable to stay ahead.
Within 30 seconds, Salah saw an attempt by Gulacsi blocked after shooting behind the Leipzig defense before Roberto Firmino shot into the side netting from an angle.
Mane headed over another opportunity, Robertson was inches from losing to Gulacsi and Firmino had the ball in the net, but only after the ball was out of play before it was hooked back into the center.
However, these were all forgotten before the hour mark was reached when the German side snapped and Salah and Mane took advantage of it.
Leipzig never fully recovered. The only real chance to save something for Merseyside was a shot from an angle that substitute Hwang Hee-chan pulled wide in added time.
It’s a big step forward towards the quarter-finals for the Reds and a first step on the path to a possible revival of their flag season.
Klopp’s site is the guide to clean sheets – the statistics
- Since Jürgen Klopp headed his first Champions League game in Liverpool in September 2017, the Reds have conceded more goals than any other team (18).
- RB Leipzig have only conceded two goals in their eleven home games in the Champions League (W6 D2 L3), although this is the first such defeat against Lyon since October 2019.
- Of all the players in the five best European leagues this season, only Robert Lewandowski (30) has scored more goals in all competitions than Mohamed Salah (24) from Liverpool.
- Salah has scored 24 goals in 34 games across all competitions this season, beating his record for the entire 2019-20 season, where he scored 23 goals in 48 games.
- In Curtis Jones and Ozan Kabak (both 20), Liverpool named for the second time two players under the age of 21 in their starting XI for a knockout game in the Champions League, also against Juventus in April 2005 (Scott Carson and Anthony le Tallec).
- Liverpool midfielder Thiago has now won each of his last eleven Champions League games. This is the longest winning streak of a Spaniard in the history of the competition, alongside Javi Martinez (November 2020) and Dani Carvajal (April 2018).
- Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson scored his 50th goal for the Reds in his 114th appearance for Liverpool in all competitions. Only Jan Oblak (59) and Ederson (64) have managed more goalkeepers in the five best European red leagues in 2018-19 since joining.
- The English teams have now won each of their four European / Champions League games in Hungary, with Leeds United (1969 and 1974) and Liverpool (2009 and 2021) both winning twice.
- RB Leipzig against Liverpool was the first knockout game between the European Cup and the Champions League in Hungary for almost 30 years since Budapest defeated Honved Sampdoria 2-1 in the round of 16 of the 1991/92 competition.
Player of the game
Mohamed SalahMohamed Salah
- 22ndMukieleBooked at 6 minutesReplaced byOrbanat the 64 ‘protocol
- 44KamplReplaced byHwang Hee-chanat the 73 ‘protocol
- 8thHaidaraBooked at 5 minutesReplaced byPoulsenat the 64 ‘protocol
- 3AngelinoBooked at 65 minutes
- 25thOlmoBooked at 76 minutes
- 18thchickenBooked at 52 minutes
- 11Hwang Hee-chan
- 19thpumpkinBooked at 68 minutes
- 14thHendersonBooked at 81 minutes
- 6thThiago AlcantaraReplaced byOxlade-Chamberlainat the 72 ‘protocol
- 11Not correctReplaced byN Williamsat the 90 ‘protocol
- 9FirminoReplaced byShaqiriat the 72 ‘protocol
- 46R Williams
- 76N Williams
End of game, RB Leipzig 0, Liverpool 2.
The second half ends, RB Leipzig 0, Liverpool 2.
Missed attempt. Hee-Chan Hwang (RB Leipzig) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Tyler Adams with a through pass.
Away from Liverpool. Andrew Robertson attempts a pass, but Neco Williams is caught offside.
Substitution, Liverpool. Neco Williams replaces Mohamed Salah.
Foul by Xherdan Shaqiri (Liverpool).
Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner of Liverpool. The corner was caused by Dayot Upamecano.
Missed attempt. Lukas Klostermann (RB Leipzig) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.
Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) receives the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).
Hee-Chan Hwang (RB Leipzig) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Missed attempt. Angeliño (RB Leipzig) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Prepared by Tyler Adams.
Missed attempt. Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.
Foul by Xherdan Shaqiri (Liverpool).
Angeliño (RB Leipzig) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig) receives the yellow card for a bad foul.
Sadio Mané (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig).
Sadio Mané (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.