Liverpool vs RB Leipzig: Wild night in store in Budapest

Liverpool hold a 2-0 lead from the first leg but RB Leipzig could be extremely dangerous opponents when the two lock horns again in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

When: Wednesday, March 10, 20:00 GMT

Where: Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary

How to watch: BT Sport 2

Best bets

Leipzig to beat Liverpool 3-2 at 33/1 (Sky Bet)

Liverpool and Leipzig to draw 2-2 at 12/1 (Sky Bet)

Naby Keita to score anytime at 6/1 (Unibet)

Sadio Mane to score anytime at 43/20 (Unibet)

Christopher Nkunku to score anytime at 10/3 (Paddy Power)

First leg: RB Leipzig 0-2 Liverpool (February 16, 2021)

Liverpool went into the game - also played at the Puskas Arena in Budapest - on the back of three straight Premier League defeats and confidence low. And yet, it was Leipzig who showed the greater signs of vulnerability and the Reds pounced twice.

After a goalless first half, Mohamed Salah latched onto a poor back pass and slotted home Liverpool's opener eight minutes into the second period.

Five minutes later, Mane cashed in another defensive mistake to side-foot a second. Leipzig had chances late on but this was a deserved victory for the 2019 winners and, with this first meeting being deemed the away leg, it gave the Reds a huge advantage in the tie.

Leipzig: Gulácsi; Mukiele (Orbán 64), Klostermann, Upamecano, Angeliño; Sabitzer, Haidara (Y Poulsen 64), Kampl (Hwang 73); Nkunku, Olmo, Adams

Liverpool: Alisson Becker; Alexander-Arnold, Ozan Kabak, Henderson, Robertson; Thiago Alcántara (Oxlade-Chamberlain 72), Wijnaldum, Jones; Salah (N Williams 90), Firmino (Shaqiri 72), Mané

What they said

Jurgen Klopp: "It was a tough game. We cannot build mentality giants in one game, but tonight we were good.

"It's only the first leg. I know a lot of people were waiting for us to slip again, but tonight the boys did it and I'm happy for them."

Julian Nagelsmann: "We played really well in the second half; created lots of chances, but also made two crazy mistakes that will be punished not just at this level, but at any level.

"Our finishing was worse. We had 3-4 must-score chances. We need to talk about that more than the mistakes. That's part of the game, but overall I think we played well."

Jordan Henderson: "It was an important game for us. We're really happy with the performance overall. The goals and clean sheet were important.

"From start to finish I thought we pressed really well and looked dangerous going forward. It was a pleasing performance and a good win, but it's only half the job done."

Key stats

  • Liverpool are unbeaten in 11 games with German clubs since a 2002 loss at Leverkusen (W8 D3) - their only reverse in their past 19 fixtures (W12 D6).

  • Liverpool are in the round of 16 for the fourth season in a row and the ninth overall; their record is W6 L2. Both defeats have come as holders; against Benfica in 2005/06 (0-1 a, 0-2 h) and Atlético last season.

  • Liverpool have won all 33 of the UEFA competition ties in which they won the away first leg - losing only four of those second legs but still prevailing on aggregate - most recently against Porto in the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League round of 16 (5-0 a, 0-0 h).
  • Let's also throw in a grim one following Liverpool's 1-0 home loss to Fulham on Sunday.
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  • Leipzig have won three of their five games against English clubs, although a 5-0 reverse at Manchester United on Matchday 2 this season is their heaviest European defeat.

  • Leipzig have won 12 of their 23 UEFA Champions League fixtures (D3 L8). They reached the semi-finals last season.

  • Leipzig won three of their four away games in last season's UEFA Champions League, drawing the other. Their away record in Europe is now W7 D5 L7.

Leizpig still dangerous despite weak position

While Liverpool have lurched from one defeat to another since the first leg three weeks ago, Leipzig have been flying in the Bundesliga.

They have bagged four wins out of four, scored 11 goals whilst conceding just two and moved to within two points of leaders Bayern Munich.

Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann could still silence Liverpool
Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann could still silence Liverpool

Having made the semi-finals last year, the Germans are no wet-behind-the-ears newcomers to this tournament any longer and, in truth, should really have come up with a goal in the first leg.

As that was at 'home', the absolute bottom line is that they have to score twice in 90 minutes to keep the tie alive. Even then, they'll only force extra-time if Liverpool don't respond.

But 3-1 puts Leipzig through and, let's be clear, it's far from beyond them. They've won their last two Bundesliga away games by 3-0 scorelines and, in Liverpool's current state, they're right to smell blood.

The 90 minutes betting shows Liverpool at 11/8, the draw 5/2 and Leipzig 9/5.

Travelling away from Anfield a big plus for Reds right now

Can Liverpool flick a switch and put all their Premier League woes behind them now that the tournament is different?

It's a rather naive assumption although there are some dynamics in Liverpool's favour.

Right now, in the fanless COVID conditions, playing at Anfield is absolutely no good to them. Anyone and everyone is turning up and winning and six straight home defeats in the Premier League is embarrassing.

Scott Parker: the latest manager to win at Anfield
Scott Parker: the latest manager to win at Anfield

So the fact that this second leg again takes place in Budapest is an unlikely plus. Liverpool can't draw on their own fans to pull them through so they may as well play this 'home' leg away from Merseyside.

While their Anfield form has dropped through the floor, Liverpool have still been decent on their travels.

Add in their victory in the first leg and Klopp's men have won four of their last away five games - 3-1 vs Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham and 2-0 vs Leipzig and Sheffield United.

They're clearly enjoying the greater freedom on the road and Leipzig could be just what they need - a team that plays with a high line rather than a low block.

The latter they can't find a way past but the speed of Salah and Mane means they can pounce when there's space in behind.

Liverpool's four Premier League results since the first leg:

Liverpool 0-2 Everton

Sheffield United 0-2 Liverpool

Liverpool 0-1 Chelsea

Liverpool 0-1 Fulham

Scoreline prediction: Liverpool 2-3 Leipzig

The 'to qualify' markets suggest the Reds are almost into the last eight. Liverpool are just 1/10 with Paddy Power to make it through while Leipzig are 11/2.

It's madness to take that 1/10 although, if pushed, I do think they'll just about squeeze through.

But it could be a wild night. And there are other ways to pick out an outcome that is still enough for the six-time winners to make it into the quarter-finals.

One is that Leipzig score the required three goals and yet are ultimately denied by Liverpool netting a couple themselves.

Jurgen Klopp could be in for an anxious night
Jurgen Klopp could be in for an anxious night

The 3-2 Leipzig looks ambitious but Nagelsmann won't die on the hill of caution. He'll go for it and that brings some crazy scorelines into play.

It's a whopping 33/1 with Sky Bet so let's go for it.

I'll also try a 2-2 draw at 12/1 with Sky Bet.

Goalscorer bets

Going for a high-scoring contest leaves plenty of scope for goalscorer bets.

Keita returned to the side against Fulham and was one of Liverpool's brighter performers.

He's a former Leipzig player of course and it's worth noting that he scored against another of his former teams - RB Salzburg - in this competition last season. He even celebrated too.

Take him at 6/1 to find the net.

Mane has a great record in Europe so is also worth a look to score at over 2/1.

For Leipzig, Christopher Nkunku has scored in two of his last three games and in four of his last nine. The 10/3 for him to wheel away in celebration again looks generous.

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