Jurgen Klopp was delighted with Liverpool’s performance in their win over RB Leipzig, particularly as he felt “people expected us to slip up again”.
The Reds took charge of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday as they claimed a 2-0 first-leg win in the relocated fixture in Budapest.
Goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane in the second half, each coming from defensive errors from Leipzig, gave Liverpool a victory that makes them firm favourites to progress to the quarter-finals.
The result and performance was a notable departure from their recent run of form, which had seen them win just three of their previous 12 games in all competitions.
Manager Klopp felt it was a timely response to those who expected his players to struggle against the Bundesliga’s second-placed side.
“It was a game we wanted; it was a game we needed,” he told BT Sport. “Leipzig can be a real monster, they overrun teams, they’re really physical, and tonight we controlled them in a really exceptional way.
“I think we got the result we deserved. We defended the situations really well.
“Tonight, we deserved to win. A lot of people were waiting for us to slip up again, and we didn’t. We were really good for two years and then this year, we have some problems. A lot of people expected us to slip again, just because of the situation, and the boys didn’t. That’s what I’m really happy about.”
18 – Since Jürgen Klopp took charge of his first UEFA Champions League match at Liverpool in September 2017, the Reds have registered more clean sheets in the competition than any other side (18). Resilient. pic.twitter.com/5aPpUpEvtv
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 16, 2021
Captain Jordan Henderson, who again deputised at the heart of the defence, wants Liverpool to maintain the standards they hit at the Puskas Arena.
“It was an important game for us, a tough game, but we’re really happy with the performance overall,” he said.
“Keeping a clean sheet was important for us as well. From start to finish, defensively, throughout the team we pressed well and won the ball back.
“It’s a good win but it’s only half the job done. We’ve got to be pleased with that because Leipzig are a good side.
“We just want to keep going, keep fighting every time we play. Tonight was a good step in the right direction for us. We need to continue with that performance level and if we do, we’ll get some good results along the way.”