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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Champions League round of 16: RB Leipzig vs Liverpool; A blessing in disguise?

Finally, the Champions League is back, and Liverpool may be glad that Europe’s elite competition is getting back underway.

It has been an horrendous few weeks for Liverpool on the pitch after three losses on the bounce in the league due to another implosion at Leicester City.

Klopp’s side played relatively well for 70 minutes dominating the ball and showing some sort of authority within the game however they did look vulnerable. 

Hence why Leicester ran riot for seven minutes and ended the game with three points.

For the game against Leipzig though that should be gone from the mind.

The Champions League comes at a good time if Liverpool want it too, it can definitely be a blessing in disguise.

It can give a sense of renewed hope if the players get back into their stride, but they need to install some belief in themselves with the team looking short in confidence recently.

A few seasons ago Liverpool were in this same position in the league and a run to the Champions League final lifted the whole team.

If it can happen again the season the narrative of the campaign will have a different look to it.

Jurgen Klopp certainly would want to fight for it and in his latest press conference he confirmed that the nonsense rumours of him leaving are false.

The German has had a few tough personal weeks after his mother passed away and supporters have been trying their upmost best to send their condolences to him.

In his press conference Klopp said: “Thanks for all the support, people tell me about it. I am very grateful for it. But they can think about other things as nobody needs to worry about me.”

He was on fine form in the press conference throughout as he asked, ‘Did I get the sack or did I leave by myself?’ and showing why every Liverpool fan would go to war for this man, he has given them so much.

There is no one better for this club and to even suggest otherwise is farcical.

There was, for a change, some good injury news announced as Naby Keita is back in training but the reunion with Leipzig will come too early for the Guinea captain.

As well as this Ben Davies and Divock Origi were pictured in training so hopefully the pair will be available but unfortunately there was no Fabinho.

Leipzig have been doing splendidly well this season as they sit nice and high in second place in the Bundesliga whilst also being underdogs to get through in their Champions League group but ended up finishing second on just goal difference.

They dismantled Manchester United in the last game of the group with relative ease, but it is worth noting that the German side did get destroyed 5-0 at Old Trafford.

Many expected Julian Nagelsmann’s side to drop off a touch without star man Timo Werner but they seem to look like they are doing fine without him if not better which is credit Nagelsmann who is one of the most promising coaches in Europe.

There is one massive downside to the Champions League knockouts this season though and that is because some venues have been changed but the away goals rule will still stand.

Which is ridiculous. 

It may still help Liverpool but the whole integrity of the competition is now in the balance due to the first leg being held in Budapest but in these difficult times it is still good to see the most elite competition in club football take place.

European knockout football, it is what Klopp specialises in having gotten to three finals in the four times he has tried with the Reds. 

The heavy metal football can be unleashed with a good run for the six-time European cup winners able to change the momentum and narrative of this season.

It will be tough but Klopp works well as the underdog and as long as he in charge there will always be hope even in the difficult times.

Written by Elliot Thompson

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