Budapest (AFP) – Jurgen Klopp has urged Liverpool to build on their impressive Champions League last 16 away win against Leipzig which ended the Reds’ miserable run of recent results.
Liverpool threw off the shackles of three straight Premier League defeats with a slick performance and clinical finishing to dominate Leipzig in the first-leg tie in Budapest on Tuesday.
Goals by Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in quick succession early in the second half capitalised on glaring errors in the Leipzig defence.
However with Liverpool still 13 points behind leaders Manchester City in the Premier League table, Klopp knows the Reds must keep improving.
“We’re not children anymore, it’s not as though we won that game and everything is fine again,” Klopp told reporters at the Puskas Arena.
The Liverpool manager was heartened to see his side exploit the chances created and bounce back after morale-sapping defeats to Leicester City, Manchester City and Brighton in recent weeks.
“We played dominating football, which hasn’t happened often,” admitted Klopp, who singled out goalkeeper Alisson Becker for making key saves to deny Leipzig.
“We kept a clean sheet, we scored two goals, we forced our opponent to make the mistakes we have pretty much made in the last few weeks.”
The first leg tie was switched from Leipzig due to Germany’s strict Covid-19 travel restrictions and was played behind closed doors in Budapest.
Liverpool have one foot in the quarter-finals of Europe, but Klopp expects Leipzig to put up a fight in the return leg on March 10.
“If you watch Leipzig more often, you would know their game can look completely different to tonight,” said Klopp.
“We looked at their line up (before kick-off) and we had no idea of the system they would play, they could have played six or seven different systems.”
An uncharacteristic mistake by Leipzig captain Marcel Sabitzer resulted in the loose pass, which was snapped up by Salah to score the opening goal.
Then Leipzig centre-back Nordi Mukiele slipped attempting a clearance, which left Senegal forward Mane unopposed to fire past Péter Gulacsi in the Germans’ goal.
“I think people expected us to slip up and thought it would be a tricky tie for Liverpool, but we did it,” said Klopp.
“Whatever they tried, we had answers. They had chances but that the majority of the time we controlled the game well and that doesn’t happen a lot against Leipzig.”
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