Liverpool are taking on RB Leipzig in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie tonight aiming to put their disappointing domestic form behind them. Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League champions have lost their past three successive league games in a slide which has seen them fall to sixth in the table, and they desperately need a confidence-boosting win here in Budapest this evening, where the game is being played after the German government banned all arrivals from countries affected by new coronavirus variants.
Liverpool will have to be wary of a Leipzig side in good form, as manager Julian Nagelsmann pointed out this week. They have won their past four games and are currently second in the Bundesliga, five points behind Bayern Munich. Klopp has always praised Nagelsmann as a special coach and this will be an intriguing test between one manager on the rise and another trying to stay at the top of the tree.
Follow all the latest updates from the game in Budapest below.
• Read more: Guardiola expresses sympathy for Liverpool coach Klopp
• Read more: Why Liverpool are playing in Budapest tonight
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ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
Team form, odds, where to watch the game and more – all right here.
How to watch RB Leipzig vs Liverpool online and on TV
Everything you need to know ahead of tonight’s round of 16 tie
As expected, Sabitzer, Upamecano and Adams all return to the XI tonight, in place of Orban, Halstenberg and Poulsen.
RB Leipzig XI: Gulacsi; Mukiele, Klostermann, Upamecano, Angelino; Kampl, Adams, Haidara; Sabitzer, Olmo, Nkunku
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: SOMETHING NEW?
No team news yet from Leipzig so check out this in the meantime from Miguel Delaney, who asks whether the fractured nature of this season for so many clubs could see Europe provide something we’ve not seen for a while: the also-rans getting the chance at incredible glory.
Champions League might just give us something we haven’t seen in years
The common theme of the last decade has been that, when the wealthiest got it right, they had the resources to go the distance in everything. That might change in 2021
It is indeed just the one change for the Reds as Thiago comes into midfield.
Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, Henderson, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Thiago, Jones; Salah, Firmino, Mane
LAST TIME OUT
Leipzig played Friday night and won 2-1 against Augsburg, resting the likes of Upamecano and Sabitzer along the way. Expect those to be two of the changes coming into tonight’s team.
Liverpool lost on Saturday to Leicester, 3-1, and also lost James Milner to injury. Thiago should come into the line-up as a result and there aren’t many other changes they can make.
Let’s clear this up now: yes, they count; yes, they are for Liverpool only tonight!
Do away goals count in neutral venues and how does the rule work?
A confusion-busting explanation of the Champions League and Europa League’s away goals rule
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Liverpool topped their group stage, winning four out of six and beating Atalanta to first place, with Ajax third and Midtjylland fourth. That kind of winning form seems a long way ago now for the Reds – they’ve won just seven of their last 20 in all competitions.
Leipzig left it much later to qualify; they saw off Man United on the last group night to finish second behind PSG, ahead of the Red Devils and Istanbul Basaksehir. Julian Nagelsmann’s side have won four on the bounce in all competitions recently.
Yes indeed, Budapest. Here’s a reminder of why and how this strangeness has come about, if you weren’t already aware.
Why are Liverpool playing in Budapest?
The Reds, winners of the competition two years ago, take on last year’s semi-finalists in the first knockout round of this year’s tournament
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RETURNS!
Evening folks! Get ready for the anthem to play, the focus to shift, the away goals to, erm… be scored by both sides?
It’s the Champions League, it’s the last 16 and it’s the first leg of RB Leipzig against Liverpool, being played in Budapest, Hungary.
Follow all the build-up and team news right here…
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