Jordan Henderson’s inspiring performance at the back led Liverpool to a 2-0 win over RB Leipzig in the Champions League.
Liverpool moved one step closer to sealing a ticket for the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal following a 2-0 away win over RB Leipzig at the Puskas Arena on Tuesday.
It was an entertaining game to watch as both teams played open football, without taking the cautious approach. The Reds had to be a bit more passive due to their depleted backline that saw Jordan Henderson once again start at centre-back. Yet, Leipzig failed to make any real headways into the opposition backline.
Liverpool, in contrast, looked much more deadly on the counter, notably forcing a few saves from Peter Gulacsi, although the game still ended goalless at half-time.
Leipzig’s shortcomings in the final third, however, finally caught up with them when a defensive error from Marcel Sabitzer followed by the stumble of Lukas Klostermann led to Mohamed Salah’s opener. Minutes later, the Reds doubled their lead through Sadio Mane following another individual error – this time from Nordi Mukiele.
The goal sealed the victory for the Premier League champions, who should feel good about their two-goal cushion heading into the second leg at Anfield. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at how both these teams performed in this scintillating clash at the Puskas Arena this midweek.
Peter Gulacsi: 7/10
Peter Gulacsi made a few important saves to deny Liverpool during the first half. But couldn’t do much for the two goals that stemmed from individual defensive errors.
Nordi Mukiele: 6/10
Nordi Mukiele dealt with the pressure well during the initial stages of the game but completely misjudged a long ball, allowing Sadio Mane to run clean through on goal.
Dayot Upamecano: 6/10
Dayot Upamecano was solid during the defensive phases but struggled to influence the game in the build-up play. He was sloppy in possession, often failing to provide any real ball-progression.
Dayot Upamecano really off the pace for RB Leipzig this evening in every part of his game – sloppy in possession, odd decision making & has been dispossessed numerous times. Liverpool exploiting his few weaknesses tonight.
— Get German Football News (@GGFN_) February 16, 2021
Lukas Klostermann: 5/10
Lukas Klostermann looked uncomfortable right from the beginning as he played a few sloppy passes. Also stumbled leading up to the opener.
Kevin Kampl: 6.5/10
Kevin Kampl worked hard at the base of Leipzig’s 3-1-4-2 and did a decent job, especially in the first half. However, his influence faded after the restart.
Tyler Adams: 6.5/10
Tyler Adams showed good athleticism to help keep Mane in check. Unfortunately, the American international struggled to offer the creativity going forward.
Amadou Haidara: 6/10
Amadou Haidara’s inclusion in the side didn’t really make much sense even though he did offer the numerical superiority in midfield. One could argue that a more attacking option could have made sense.
Marcel Sabitzer: 5/10
Marcel Sabitzer was poor in the Leipzig midfield. He didn’t offer much creativity going forward and produced the misplaced backpass to Klostermann that allowed Salah to score the opener.
Angelino offered the creative presence for Leipzig on the far side. It wasn’t one of his best displays, but the Spaniard was among the better performers for the home team.
Baffles me that Man City looked at Angelino out on loan, a player adept at inverting or providing attacking width and learning in a tactically complex, pressing team and thought, nah we’ll sell him
— Alex Stewart (@AFHStewart) February 16, 2021
Dani Olmo: 6.5/10
Dani Olmo looked dangerous whenever he had the ball. However, his decision-making in the final third was poor, thus translating into a lack of penetration for Leipzig.
Christopher Nkunku: 5/10
Christopher Nkunku was among the worst performers for RBL in this encounter. The Frenchman struggled to influence the game, often losing possession in the final third.
Willi Orban: 6.5/10
Willi Orban came on for Mukiele shortly after the second goal to add more solidity in the RB Leipzig backline. Weathered the final storm from the opposition.
Yussuf Poulsen: 6/10
Yussuf Poulsen was brought in to offer more guile and penetration in the final third. Unfortunately, the Dane struggled to make his mark on the proceedings.
Hee-chan Hwang: 6/10
Hee-chan Hwang had an excellent chance to pull one back for Leipzig late in the game, but his effort went wide.
Alisson looked nervy on the ball but made some important saves to keep Leipzig out. The clean sheet could give him a world of confidence following a rough patch.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7.5/10
Trent Alexander-Arnold performed quite well on the far side. He delivered a few excellent crosses during the early stages of the game while also remaining compact, preventing Angelino from dominating the game.
Ozan Kabak: 7/10
Ozan Kabak managed to keep things together in the Liverpool half but was perhaps helped by Leipzig’s own futility going forward. A decent performance considering it was his second game for the club.
Jordan Henderson: 8.5/10
Jordan Henderson was simply a rock at the back for Liverpool and one of the best performers in this game. The captain led the team from the front with some diligent defending that made life difficult for the opposing attackers.
Thought @LFC were excellent tonight. Used all of their know how and experience to stifle Leipzig and were clinical when they had to be. Confident display from Ozan Kabak helped enormously by the leadership of Jordan Henderson. Top @ChampionsLeague performance 👌🏻⚽️
— Darren Fletcher (@DFletcherSport) February 16, 2021
Andrew Robertson: 7/10
Andrew Robertson played in a more conservative role than Alexander-Arnold on the opposite flank. He was defensively solid but didn’t provide much offensive support for his teammates.
Curtis Jones: 7/10
Curtis Jones fared well in midfield, with his box to box qualities making it difficult for the opposition to retain their dominance in the centre of the park. Also provided a few useful forward passes.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 7/10
Georginio Wijnaldum had a quiet game by his standards but played a key role in mopping up loose balls and denying Leipzig from making use of their midfield turnovers.
Thiago Alcantara: 8/10
Thiago Alcantara was a vital cog in Liverpool’s approach play. His ability to navigate through the press gave the Reds the upper hand while the Spaniard also impressed with his overall movements.
Mohamed Salah: 7.5/10
Mohamed Salah looked threatening with his runs in behind during the early stages of the game. His influence faded off a bit but the winger deserves credit for making full use of the poor Sabitzer backpass.
Mohamed Salah has scored in each of his last 3 appearances:
⚽️ vs. Man City
⚽️ vs. Leicester City
⚽️ vs. RB Leipzig
In fine form in front of goal. 🇪🇬 pic.twitter.com/WFWXfsBwQL
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 16, 2021
Roberto Firmino: 6.5/10
Roberto Firmino made incisive movements in the final third, often drifting out wide to provide useful crosses into the box. Nothing extraordinary, though.
Sadio Mane: 7/10
Sadio Mane perhaps wasn’t as effective as Salah on the opposite flank, but he too was a threat on the counter. And much like his partner in crime, the Senegalese forward made use of a Leipzig error to score Liverpool’s second.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 6/10
He was brought in during the final phase to add more energy to the Liverpool midfield.
Xherdan Shaqiri: 6/10
Offered a lot of work-ethic during the final 20 minutes of the game. Didn’t make much difference.
Neco Williams: N/A
A late replacement for Salah. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.