Once again the Champions League has come to the rescue for Liverpool.
It’s fair to say that this campaign for Liverpool has been, by and large, a depressing one. Whether it’s been through injury or through poor form, Liverpool’s dreams of a title defence were pretty much dead by February. Fans have been pulling their hair out, the previously world-class forwards coulnd’t hit a barn door and the likes of Brighton and Fulham have outplayed the reds.
However, once again, it’s Liverpool’s love affair with Europe that has been the most welcome of distractions. After a typically inconsistent run through the group stages, Liverpool has once again delivered in the knockout stages. RB Leipzig are currently coming in for some pretty heavy criticism, and understandably so. However, this Leipzig team is not a bad side.
They have the meanest defence in the Bundesliga, conceding only 20 goals in 24 matches this season. The East German side is in second place behind Bayern Munich and has won its last seven Bundesliga matches. They’re coached by arguably the most talented young manager in the world, Julian Nagelsmann. This is not a poor team.
However, this Liverpool team made them look ordinary. The speed and movement of Mane, Salah and Jota was simply too much for their back three. Having Fabinho back in midfield was also invaluable. Bringing him in gave Thiago the freedom to finally do what he does best, create chances. His passing was utterly magnificent, with only a poor finish robbing him of a spectacular karate kick assist.
Ozan Kabak put on another excellent European performance after his struggles in the Premier League. Meanwhile, his partner Nat Phillips showed he is more than capable of filling in for the Premier League champions. It was a performance not in keeping with the dross that has been served up in recent weeks.
However, once again Jurgen Klopp’s side has found solace in the Champions League. There is of course, a long way to go before the Reds can think about being European Champions a seventh time. However, with a possible return to Istanbul on the cards for the final, any Liverpool fan can be forgiven for dreaming.