Only Cristiano Ronaldo (13) has scored more knockout goals in the Champions League since Sadio Mane’s debut season in the competition in 2017-18 than the Senegal international (12)

Liverpool gave their flagging season a timely boost by beating RB Leipzig to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

The English champions have seen their hopes of retaining the league title they won last June all but ended by a shocking run of recent domestic form, which includes defeat in each of their last six games at Anfield.

But their quest for a second European crown in three seasons remains very much alive thanks to a more confident and composed display in what was technically a home fixture but played at the same venue as the first leg – Budapest’s Puskas Arena.

For 70 minutes, Liverpool were extremely wasteful in front of goal, but sealed the tie when Mohamed Salah cut inside and finished low shortly after Leipzig substitute Alexander Sorloth had struck the bar with a header.

Sadio Mane made absolutely sure with a neat finish from Divock Origi’s superb cross.

Jurgen Klopp’s side will find out their last-eight opponents when the draw is made on Friday, 19 March.

Salah and Mane offer hope of salvation

The rapid, shocking decline in domestic form suffered by Klopp’s side of late means that lifting the Champions League trophy is beginning to look like their more likely route back into the competition next season.

Six home defeats on the spin have sent Liverpool tumbling down the table to eighth, seven points off fourth place.

During that run they have looked a shadow of the side that utterly dominated the English top flight in 2019-20, with much-publicised injuries and resultant shuffling of a settled side stripping it of cogency and confidence.

Wednesday’s display was a welcome step in the right direction for the Reds.

The central defence retained an unavoidable rookie feel, but in front of it the presence of Fabinho alongside Thiago and Diogo Jota in attack gave Liverpool greater solidity, fluency and attacking threat.

That said, they could make their lives an awful lot easier by taking a few of the multitude of chances they create.

Salah, Mane and Jota all had big opportunities to put the tie to bed before half-time, but were either denied by Leipzig keeper Peter Gulacsi or missed the target altogether.

Salah was especially at fault, seeing a shot saved after breaking clear before later firing over from close range following Trent Alexander-Arnold’s neat pull-back.

They were fortunate that the German side – such prolific scorers in the Bundesliga – were equally profligate.

Hampered by the absence of the injured Angelino, Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann spent the second half sending forwards on to the pitch from the bench, including Justin Kluivert, son of former Dutch striker Patrick, but to no avail.

The fight left them at the moment Salah’s low shot hit the back of the net, with Mane taking advantage soon after.

The duo’s return to goalscoring form was timely in the context of this game but even more so for the sake of the Reds’ season as a whole, which is still there to be salvaged.

Klopp makes it 12 out of 13 in knock-out ties

  • In all European competitions under Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool have now progressed from 12 of their 13 two-legged knockout ties (including qualifiers), only failing in last season’s last 16 against Atletico Madrid.
  • Liverpool remain unbeaten in their last 12 meetings with German opponents in all European competition (won nine, drawn three) since a 2-4 loss to Bayer Leverkusen in April 2002.
  • RB Leipzig have lost back-to-back games in European competition for only the second time (also November 2018), and the first time in the Champions League.
  • Liverpool won both legs of a Champions League two-legged knockout tie while also keeping a clean sheet in each leg for the first time since the 2008-09 last-16 tie against Real Madrid.
  • Having won three and lost just one of their first four meetings with English sides in all competitions (two against Spurs, two against Manchester United), RB Leipzig have lost both of their last two against Liverpool.
  • Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has scored 25 goals in all competitions this season, the most of any player for all Premier League clubs.
  • Since Liverpool’s Alisson made his Champions League debut in September 2017, the Brazilian has kept more clean sheets in the competition than any other goalkeeper (16).

Player of the match

FabinhoFabinho

RB Leipzig

  1. Squad number1Player nameGulácsi
  2. Squad number5Player nameUpamecano
  3. Squad number21Player nameKluivert
  4. Squad number7Player nameSabitzer
  5. Squad number16Player nameKlostermann
  6. Squad number22Player nameMukiele
  7. Squad number25Player nameOlmo
  8. Squad number18Player nameNkunku
  9. Squad number14Player nameAdams
  10. Squad number44Player nameKampl
  11. Squad number9Player namePoulsen
  12. Squad number11Player nameHwang Hee-Chan
  13. Squad number19Player nameSørloth
  14. Squad number10Player nameForsberg
  15. Squad number8Player nameHaidara

Line-ups

Liverpool

Formation 4-3-3

1Alisson

66Alexander-Arnold47Phillips19Kabak26Robertson

6Thiago Alcántara3Fabinho5Wijnaldum

11Salah20Jota10Mané

  • 1Alisson
  • 66Alexander-Arnold
  • 47Phillips
  • 19Kabak
  • 26RobertsonSubstituted forTsimikasat 90’minutes
  • 6Thiago AlcántaraSubstituted forKeitaat 71’minutes
  • 3Fabinho
  • 5WijnaldumSubstituted forMilnerat 82’minutes
  • 11Salah
  • 20JotaSubstituted forOrigiat 71’minutes
  • 10ManéSubstituted forOxlade-Chamberlainat 90’minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Milner
  • 8Keita
  • 13Adrián
  • 15Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 17Jones
  • 21Tsimikas
  • 23Shaqiri
  • 27Origi
  • 28Davies
  • 46R Williams
  • 53Davies
  • 76N Williams

RB Leipzig

Formation 3-1-4-2

1Gulácsi

22Mukiele5Upamecano16Klostermann

44Kampl

14Adams25Olmo7Sabitzer18Nkunku

9Poulsen10Forsberg

  • 1Gulácsi
  • 22Mukiele
  • 5Upamecano
  • 16Klostermann
  • 44KamplSubstituted forSørlothat 45’minutes
  • 14Adams
  • 25OlmoSubstituted forHaidaraat 72’minutes
  • 7Sabitzer
  • 18Nkunku
  • 9PoulsenSubstituted forHwang Hee-Chanat 60’minutes
  • 10ForsbergSubstituted forKluivertat 60’minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Orban
  • 6Konaté
  • 8Haidara
  • 11Hwang Hee-Chan
  • 19Sørloth
  • 20Samardzic
  • 21Kluivert
  • 23Halstenberg
  • 33Martínez
  • 39Henrichs

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Liverpool 2, RB Leipzig 0.
  2. Second Half ends, Liverpool 2, RB Leipzig 0.
  3. Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
  4. Foul by Naby Keita (Liverpool).
  5. Attempt missed. Konstantinos Tsimikas (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left following a corner.
  6. Substitution, Liverpool. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Sadio Mané.
  7. Substitution, Liverpool. Konstantinos Tsimikas replaces Andrew Robertson.
  8. Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Christopher Nkunku.
  9. Offside, Liverpool. Andrew Robertson tries a through ball, but Divock Origi is caught offside.
  10. Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
  11. Foul by Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool).
  12. Corner, Liverpool. Conceded by Dayot Upamecano.
  13. Attempt blocked. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Naby Keita.
  14. Amadou Haidara (RB Leipzig) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
  15. Foul by James Milner (Liverpool).
  16. Attempt missed. Divock Origi (Liverpool) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Naby Keita.
  17. Substitution, Liverpool. James Milner replaces Georginio Wijnaldum.
  18. Attempt missed. Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Christopher Nkunku.
  19. Offside, Liverpool. Trent Alexander-Arnold tries a through ball, but Sadio Mané is caught offside.
  20. Marcel Sabitzer (RB Leipzig) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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