There’s something about the European Cup and Liverpool Football Club.
After a horrid week for the Reds and back-to-back losses in the league to Manchester City & Leicester, Liverpool have gotten off to a great start to the knockout stages. Two mistakes from the German side were enough for Mohamed Salah & Sadio Mané to secure victory.
While the result was welcome, as much so was the performance. Every player on the pitch answered the questions that have been asked of them recently.
Here are the major talking points from Liverpool’s CL tie against Leipzig:
Liverpool Make the Most of Leipzig Mistakes
A goalless first half saw Leipzig hit the post and Liverpool create great opportunities. It looked like it could be another frustrating night in front of goal. But the Reds did something they haven’t been doing. Taking their chances when the opponent makes a mistake.
The in form Mo Salah was put through on goal after a loose Marcel Sabitzer pass. From there, a goal was inevitable. He slotted it past former Red Peter Gulácsi.
Sadio Mané has been the target for some criticism lately. There are arguments that he hasn’t contributed enough this season. Tonight, he made sure his name was on the scoresheet.
He looked dangerous throughout and caused Nordi Mukiele all sorts of problems and this eventually led to the second goal. A ball over the top wasn’t dealt with properly by the defender, leaving Mané bearing down on goal.
Taking advantage of opponent mistakes is part of what made this Liverpool team so successful. It has been this missing recently, but tonight, they took full advantage.
Lesser personalities would have shrank under the spotlight. After playing a calamitous part in Jamie Vardy’s goal at the weekend, Ozan Kabak stepped up tonight and looked every part the centre back Liverpool need him to be.
Leipzig rarely threatened throughout the ninety. The Turkish defender made sure he won nearly everything that came his way. He won 77% of his duels, composed in possession and even looked comfortable bursting forward with the ball.
Liverpool need their players to step up, especially in defence. Ozan Kabak did just that and did so against familiar opposition. If these are a sign of things to come, he will be a very exciting player to watch.
The Growth of Curtis Jones
What a performance from the young Scouser. Curtis Jones has gone from academy football to dominating the middle of the park in Champions League knock-out ties.
It was a testament to the young midfielder that Thiago Alcantara was brought off instead of him on the 72nd minute. He gives Jurgen Klopp’s side an element that sometimes they can lack.
Jones loves to drive with the ball and this caused problems for the Germans throughout. Any naivety that had creeped into his game wasn’t there tonight.
Liverpool hold a great lead going into the second leg. With two away goals and the sort of performance that can revitalise a season. Next up is the Merseyside Derby and everything is on the line. If they turn up like they did tonight, things will start to go Liverpool’s way.