Liverpool sail through to the Final 8
UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg:
Liverpool 2 RB Leipzig 0 – Liverpool win 4-0 on aggregate
Scorers of the first leg, Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane, helped themselves to goals in the return fixture at the Puskas Arena in Budapest on Wednesday as Liverpool beat RB Leipzig 2-0 and 4-0 on aggregate to progress to the quarter finals of the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League. Despite going through their worst spell in Premier League history, the Reds were impressive as they overcame the powerful and in-form Bundesliga side without much difficulty.
With the match starting on a tentative note, Liverpool had the best opportunities to score. Salah was seen breaking clear on a counterattack but shot straight to goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi whose parried the effort away into the path of Mane who headed groundward as a golden chance to go ahead went abegging. Mane then volleyed over, while Diogo Jota's powerful header was tipped over by Gulacsi. The Reds had another fine opportunity to go ahead when Jota fired into the side netting from close range. Leipzig's only chance in the first half was a Dani Olmo effort that was effectively dealt with by Liverpool goalie Alisson Becker.
With the tie slipping away from the Bundesliga outfit, coach Julian Nagelsmann introduced striker Alexander Sorloth post-interval and the former Crystal Palace forward almost found a goal when his header looped onto the crossbar. But Liverpool had the last laugh as they broke the second-leg deadlock in the 70th minute. A quick passing move from just inside their own half involving Thiago, Mane and Jota saw them teeing up Salah who cut inside and finished low past an outstretched Gulacsi. Mane put the tie to bed 4 minutes later when he scored from a superb Divock Origi cross.
But the man of the moment was 27-year-old midfielder Fabinho. The Brazilian who had to fill in at center-back for better part of this season because of injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, excelled at the Puskas Arena as he held the Liverpool defense together. He controlled the proceedings beautifully alongside Georginio Wijnaldum and Thiago Alcantara. Fabinho's role freed Thiago from defensive responsibilities so that he could focus on his creativity upfront and also allow full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson to play higher up the pitch.
Liverpool starting XI: Alisson (goal), Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Thiago, Mane, Salah, Jota.
Subs: Keita, Origi, Milner, Tsimikas, Oxlade-Chamberlain.
RB Leipzig starting XI: Gulacsi (goal), Upamecano, Sabitzer, Poulsen, Forsberg, Adams, Klostermann, Nkunku, Mukiele, Olmo, Kampl.
Subs: Sorloth, Kluivert, Hwang, Haidara.
Man of the match: Fabinho
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