football

Klopp drops Liverpool return hint at very end of Leipzig press conference


Jurgen Klopp appeared to suggest that Liverpool could return to Budapest for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie shortly after winning the first on Tuesday night.

Second half goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane secured a deserved 2-0 victory for the Reds over their Bundesliga opponents, with the match being played in the Hungarian capital due to Germany imposing travel restrictions on visitors from countries with dangerous coronavirus variants.

It has been suggested that the second leg, currently scheduled for Anfield on March 10, may also need to be held at a neutral venue.

Unlike Germany, the UK is prepared to grant exemptions for elite sports teams to travel, but RB Leipzig may then have to quarantine when they returned home, thus creating a knock-on effect for their next few fixtures.

The staging of the second game back in Budapest may be seen as a fairer outcome in terms of the tie, with Liverpool’s two strikes on Tuesday both treated as away goals.



Mohamed Salah opened the scoring for Liverpool in Budapest
Mohamed Salah opened the scoring for Liverpool in Budapest

At the end of his post-match Zoom press conference on Tuesday, Klopp specifically addressed members of the Hungarian media, saying: “See you probably in three weeks!”

It could be that the Reds boss was simply referring to the fact that the media could travel to Liverpool, but there is a growing feeling that the game will have to take place elsewhere.

One his side’s performance, Klopp said: “It was a game where you don’t expect big advantages for one or the other team because of the nature of both teams, because both are really well organised, both defend really well, both are used to causing the opposition side problems in the way they want to build the game.

“I thought that worked out slightly better for us tonight.



Sadio Mane coolly converted Liverpool's second goal
Sadio Mane coolly converted Liverpool’s second goal

“I know Leipzig pretty well and I know how dominant they can be football-wise, how overwhelming they can be in a game from a physical point of view.

“That’s what we had to deal with tonight and the boys played a really good game – a really good game. We had a day less to prepare, which we have spoken a lot about, it’s a tricky thing.

“But we did well, played a good game, deserved the win I think, and forced them to make mistakes with a good formation, with a good attitude, in other phases we played good football.

“So, yeah, I’m happy with the performance.”





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