Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool win over RB Leipzig proved the doubters wrong, we didn't slip

Jurgen Klopp after Liverpool's Champions League first-leg victory over RB Leipzig in Budapest: "A lot of people were waiting for us to slip again and tonight we didn’t. I’m really happy"

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp during the win over RB Leipzig in Budapest 0:51
Jurgen Klopp was delighted his Liverpool players were able to force RB Leipzig into mistakes and 'put it all together' for their first victory in four matches in all competitions

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was pleased his players proved the doubters wrong and avoided a slip-up with their victory over RB Leipzig.

Klopp's side broke a run of three straight defeats and put one foot in the last eight of the Champions League with a 2-0 win over the German side in Budapest.

Liverpool had lost five of their last seven games in all competitions, conceding 14 goals along the way, triggering rumours on social media over the weekend suggesting Klopp might resign after Saturday's 3-1 defeat at Leicester.

Klopp admitted their recent run would have made them look vulnerable in this fixture away to the Bundesliga title challengers but was happy to see his players prove the doubters wrong.

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Klopp told BT Sport: "You can't build mentality giants in one game - tonight we were good and we deserved to win but it's only the first leg. A lot of people were waiting for us to slip again and tonight we didn't. I'm really happy.

"We were really good for two years and this year we've had some problems. It's absolutely normal that the talk started, it's absolutely normal, it's fine. A lot of people would have expected us to slip again just because of the situation we're in and we didn't. That's what I'm really happy about."

It looked to be a tricky encounter for Klopp's team against a Leipzig side that had already beaten both PSG and Manchester United on their way to the knockout stages, but they met a Liverpool side full of energy in midfield and ruthlessness in attack.

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Liverpool hit their opponents with a quickfire double after half-time with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane punishing some inexplicable defending from the Bundesliga side.

Liverpool will take a big advantage back to Anfield for the second leg
Image: Liverpool will take a big advantage back to Anfield for the second leg

Klopp added: "Leipzig can be a real monster. The way they play in the Bundesliga, they overrun teams and can be really physical, they are good at everything. Tonight we controlled them in an exceptional way - they had their moments due to their quality but we played a really good game. We got the result we deserved.

"We defended situations really well when we won the ball and we found direction when we got the ball. The second goal is a really difficult ball for the defender to defend when the ball is arriving in this manner. You need a bit of luck but Sadio was there. For the first goal we pressed them really good and won the ball. On the whole, we defended really well, got good ball recoveries and executed attacking transitions."

Analysis: Liverpool return to form on the big stage

Mohamed Salah scored Liverpool's first goal
Image: Mohamed Salah scored Liverpool's first goal

Sky Sports' Adam Bate:

The result was as good as Jurgen Klopp would have hoped for against the second-best side in the Bundesliga but it was Liverpool's performance in beating RB Leipzig 2-0 in Budapest that will have satisfied him most. His erstwhile out-of-form team were back doing what they do best - playing at a high tempo, forcing errors with their pressing, and finishing ruthlessly.

The big players delivered, the ones who had perhaps been under most scrutiny. Alisson had erred in each of the previous two matches but was decisive in the right way here, rushing from the goal to deny Christopher Nkunku when one-on-one in the early stages of the second half. The score was goalless and who knows how that might have altered it all.

There had been signs against Leicester as the champions dominated the first half but such is the fragility at the moment that everything unravelled in the second half. In Hungary, Liverpool found themselves on the other side of those margins - shrugging off the sight of Dani Olmo hitting the post early on and that second-half scare to punish Leipzig's profligacy.

Mohamed Salah is congratulated after giving Liverpool the lead against RB Leipzig
Image: Salah is congratulated after giving Liverpool the lead

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane each raced clear to find the net soon after. Both were capitalising on errors but the opener, in particular, came as a result of pressing in the middle of the pitch. Leipzig were hurried and the mistake came. It was classic Liverpool once more.

Salah and Mane have not scored in the same game at Anfield all season but there will be renewed hope after this that Everton might just get the treatment at the weekend.

That will be a big game for local boy Trent Alexander-Arnold, of course, and he too goes into it with renewed confidence after one of his more impressive performances of the season.

The Champions League now represents Liverpool's only hope of silverware but the fear was that their form was nowhere near good enough to contemplate that possibility. Even now, it must be said there are strikers capable of exposing Jordan Henderson's inexperience in the centre of defence more efficiently than Hwang Hee-Chan did in stoppage time.

But this was a reminder of the quality within the team, nevertheless. Something for Klopp to build on. Victory over Everton on Saturday could change the mood at the club completely.

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