RB Leipzig are hoping to capitalise on Liverpool’s disastrous run of form in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie this evening.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have endured a torrid series of results, winning just two of their last 10 league games, with shock defeats against Burnley and Brighton featuring within that alarming slide. Last weekend, the Reds succumbed to a late onslaught against Leicester, conceding three times in the space of seven minutes, leading to several questions over a crisis of confidence.
Those results have left Liverpool’s title defence all but over. “I don’t think we can close the gap this year, to be honest. We have to win football games, and a large part of our game today was very good,” Klopp said after the Leicester defeat.
Despite such a number of severe injuries to key players, Liverpool did still finish top of a tricky group that featured both Atalanta and Ajax. RB Leipzig, though, who reached last year’s semi-finals and are currently second in the Bundesliga, should provide a sterner test.
“They are the slight favourites based on their international experience but we have shown that we can hold our own against such teams, both last year and this season with a very tough group stage,” Julian Nagelsmann said at his pre-match press conference. “We have clearly developed as a team.”
Here is everything you need to know:
When is it and what time is kick-off?
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The match will begin at 8pm at the Puskas Arena in Hungary, where it is being played due to international travel restrictions.
How can I watch it online and on TV?
The match will be broadcast live on BT Sport 2 with coverage set to begin at 7pm. BT Sport subscribers can view the game online via the BT Sport App.
What is the team news?
James Milner is expected to miss out after suffering a hamstring injury. New centre-back Ben Davies is recovering from a knock while the game also comes too soon for Naby Keita. Fabinho is a doubt after missing the defeat against Leicester while Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Diogo Jota remain long-term absentees.
Leipzig rested several of their key players at the weekend, with Marcel Sabitzer, Dayot Upamecano and Alexander Sorloth expected to return to the starting line-ups. Emil Forsberg, Konrad Laimer, Benjamin Henrichs and Dominik Szoboszlai are unlikely to feature.
What are the predicted line-ups?
RB Leipzig: Gulacsi; Mukiele, Upamecano, Klostermann; Adams, Sabiter, Kampl, Olmo, Angelino; Poulsen, Nkunku
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, Henderson, Robertson; Thiago, Wijnaldum, Jones; Salah, Firmino, Mane
What are the odds?
RB Leipzig – 19/10
Draw – 13/5
Liverpool – 13/10
Liverpool appear to be suffering from a crisis of confidence and come into this fixture still laboured by a swathe of injury problems. With their backs against the wall, the occasion should bring out a response from Klopp’s players, though. Leipzig are a brilliantly organised side and will prove tricky to break down meaning it may be hard to split the pair on a night of tactical battles. RB Leipzig 1-1 Liverpool
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