Jürgen Klopp's satisfaction was understandable after Liverpool's 2-0 victory (Photo: Attila Török)
Jürgen Klopp's satisfaction was understandable after Liverpool's 2-0 victory. The English team controlled the game in its entirety, and they ruthlessly used last season's semi-finalist Leipzig's defensive errors at the start of the second half of the game.
“Both teams played good football and tried to cause the opponent as many difficulties as possible, but we gained the day – the head coach of Champions League winner team evaluated the match. – Anyone who knows Leipzig's style knows that they are able to play diversely, can control the whole match, and can sweep away the opponent. When we saw Leipzig's starting 11, we didn't know what tactics they were going to use because with that roster five or six tactical formations could be implemented. The opponent changed the formations continuously, but we responded to all of them. I'm happy with my players' performance and their attitude – they played really good football. It wasn't a problem that we could prepare for the game a day less. Ozan Kabak and Jordan Henderson were also good at defending. I admit the opponent had two or three chances, but at this level, against teams of this quality it's inevitable. Plus, since we didn't receive goals, our goalkeeper Alisson is going to have a good night's sleep on the way home.”
The 53-year-old German manager also responded to how this victory could boost the team's confidence after stumbling in recent weeks.
“We're not kids. We can't think that all of our problems are solved after one victory. Nevertheless, for me, winning the match with a good game is more important than the result. I know that after the results of the last few weeks, it was no consolation to anyone that we tried to stay true to our own style, but it was important to me. Fortunately, good football has now been matched to excellent results. We worked hard, and I saw excellent performances at both team and individual levels. I'm not saying this out of spite, but I'm sure a lot of people thought we were going to slip up against Leipzig. Based on Leipzig's strength and the results of the last few weeks there really was a reason to think that. Leipzig is a tough opponent, but we won the hurdle in the first game."
The Liverpool manager also praised the Puskás Aréna.
"We played in a great stadium, it reminded me a little bit of Atlético Madrid arena from the inside. The lawn was impeccable. I'm sure the sold-out games will have a formidable atmosphere in this arena. I'm not saying this out of respect only. If we'd lost, I'd still say the same thing about the stadium. We thank Budapest for hosting us, we did everything we could to make our environment feel safe."
In addition, when Jürgen Klopp left the table, Liverpool's press agent remarked:
“We'll be back in three weeks...”
RB Leipzig's head coach Julian Nagelsmann disappointedly evaluated the game at a press conference which was held online due to the virus situation.
“We didn't play badly but couldn't use our chances while Liverpool did – said Nagelsmann. – The English team had a 1-0 lead in the first half. After the turn we made two big mistakes in defense and we were already two goals behind. Because we couldn't even catch up with the score, the rematch will be more difficult. However, we need to believe that we have something to do in Liverpool. We'll have chances there too, but we won't be able to have the luxury to not score a single goal.”
The coach also talked about the Puskás Aréna and Willi Orbán.
“We played in a great stadium; the lawn was also perfect. We didn't lose because of the circumstances. Budapest is also a beautiful city, but unfortunately, we couldn't see much of it. As for Willi Orbán, he is a great footballer. When I benched him, I didn't decide against him, but for Lukas Klostermann. I expected that there would be some empty space behind our defense, so I put the fastest defenders in the starting lineup. It's always a tough decision to leave him on the bench, but when brought him on to the field, he did his job perfectly.”
EIGHTH FINAL, FIRST LEG
RB LEIPZIG (Germany)–LIVERPOOL (England) 0–2 (0–0)
Budapest, Puskás Aréna, behind closed doors. Referee: Vincic (Slovenia)
RB LEIPZIG: Gulácsi – Mukiele (Orbán, 64.), Klostermann, Upamecano, Angelino – Sabitzer, A. Haidara (Poulsen, 64.), Kampl (Hwang Hee Chan, 73.) – Nkunku, Olmo, T. Adams. Head coach: Julian Nagelsmann
LIVERPOOL: Alisson – Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, J. Henderson, A. Robertson – Thiago Alcantara (Oxlade-Chamberlain, 72.), Wijnaldum, C. Jones – Salah (N. Williams, 90.), Firmino (Shaqiri, 72.), Mané. Manager: Jürgen Klopp
Goal scorers: Salah (53.), Mané (58.)
(Translated by Vanda Orosz)