Football

Klopp: People expected us to slip up against Leipzig, but we didn't

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has urged his men to build on their impressive Champions League last-16 away win against RB Leipzig which ended their three-match losing run.

The Reds put up a slick performance to win the first leg in Budapest 2-0 yesterday morning (Singapore time), thanks to Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane's second-half goals.

However, with Liverpool lying sixth in the English Premier League table, Klopp knows they must keep improving.

"We're not children any more, it's not as though we won that game and everything is fine again," Klopp told reporters at the Puskas Arena.

The German was heartened to see his side bounce back after morale-sapping defeats by Leicester City, Manchester City and Brighton & Hove Albion in recent weeks.

"People expected us to slip up and thought it would be a tricky tie for Liverpool, but we did it," he said.

"Whatever they tried, we had answers. They had chances, but the majority of the time we controlled the game well and that doesn't happen a lot against Leipzig."

Klopp, who kept his centre-back pairing of Ozan Kabak and skipper Jordan Henderson, also singled out goalkeeper Alisson for making key saves after committing gaffes in recent games.

He said: "We kept a clean sheet, we scored two goals, we forced our opponents to make the mistakes we have pretty much made in the last few weeks."

An uncharacteristic error by Leipzig captain Marcel Sabitzer resulted in a loose pass which was snapped up by Salah to open accounts in the 53rd minute.

Five minutes later, centre-back Nordi Mukiele slipped while attempting a clearance, and Mane needed no second invitation to fire past the German side's goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi.

Having guided Leipzig to the Champions League semi-finals last season, coach Julian Nagelsmann said his side will fight in the second leg on March 10.

"We made two huge mistakes which would be punished at any level," Nagelsmann told DAZN.

"We created chances, which we didn't take, which will be a big topic for the second leg."

Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who has yet to shine after an injury-plagued start to his Liverpool career, looked more comfortable in a continental contest after being criticised for his domestic showings.

BT Sport pundits Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen, however, said it was too early to judge the 29-year-old, who won the Champions League with Bayern Munich last season.

"I want to judge him when the team is back playing like we know they can," said Owen. - AFP

Football