Budapest: Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane were on target to snap a three-match losing run as their side stunned RB Leipzig 2-0 in the Champions League Round of 16 first-leg on Tuesday.
Juergen Klopp has written off his team’s chances of winning back-to-back Premier League titles after they lost three successive domestic matches but they are alive in Europe.
They gained a clear advantage in their tie going into the March 10 return leg thanks to two blunders by Leipzig.
Salah easily intercepted a back pass by Leipzig’s Marcel Sabitzer to put the Reds ahead in the 53rd minute and on course for their first win in any competition since late January.
Mane then pounced on another mistake when Nordi Mukiele failed to clear a long ball five minutes later, leaving the Germans stunned in Budapest’s Puskas Arena where the game had been relocated due to COVID-19 restrictions in Germany.
“It was an important game for us, a tough game,” Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said. “Keeping a clean sheet was important for us.
“We just want to keep going and keep fighting every time we play. There have been a lot of difficult situations throughout the season, but weve just got to take each game as it comes and take things one step at a time.
“A good win but it’s only half the job done,” he added.
The Germans had the better start and Dani Olmo’s downward header in the fifth minute bounced off the base of the post.
With Leipzig defending high, Liverpool initially tried to slice through with deep crosses and one of them found Salah in the 15th but his chip was blocked by keeper Peter Gulacsi.
Andy Robertson then tried his luck with an audacious 40-metre lob that almost caught Gulacsi out of position but the Reds had to wait until Salah capitalised with their first chance of the second half.
Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann then saw his players gift another goal with Mukiele’s error and Mane’s crisp finish.
The Germans, who came into the match on a four-game winning run in all competitions, were largely toothless in attack following the goals until Tyler Adam’s miss in stoppage time.
“In the return leg we have to pick up where we left off. Then we will have chances,” Sabitzer said, adding that Leipzig had played a good game apart from the two errors.
“It would be better if we had scored but we believe that we have the quality,” he added.