Jurgen Klopp out, Steven Gerrard in?

Klopp ended Liverpool's 30-year wait for league glory last season, but the German manager could be set for a return to his homeland.

His exit could see Gerrard return to Merseyside.

 

TOP STORY – GERRARD TO REPLACE KLOPP IN LIVERPOOL RETURN

Steven Gerrard may soon return to Anfield but as manager to replace Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, according to The Mirror.

Liverpool reportedly expect Klopp to take up an opportunity with Germany in the near future amid doubts over long-time head coach Joachim Low.

As a result, Liverpool legend Gerrard has been sounded out as he has Rangers on a cusp of a drought-breaking league title in Scotland.

Gerrard, who made more than 700 appearances for Liverpool, took control of Rangers in 2018.

 

ROUND-UP

- Erling Haaland seems to be on every club's wish list but the Mirror reports Manchester City have joined the queue for the Borussia Dortmund star. City manager Pep Guardiola and Haaland's agent Mina Raiola have a testy relationship but the Premier League leaders will press ahead with an alleged £100million (€115m) deal. English pair Chelsea and Manchester United are also reportedly interested along with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

- Fabrizio Romano says Chelsea want to keep veteran defender Thiago Silva beyond the 2020-21 season. Chelsea signed Silva on a free transfer following his PSG exit.

- LaLiga giants Barcelona are in the market for a young defender and have set their sights on Inter's 21-year-old Alessandro Bastoni, according to Calciomercato.

Arsenal are in the hunt for Wigan Athletic sensation Kyle Joseph, with the teenager scoring five goals in 14 appearances. The Mirror claims the Gunners have joined Celtic and Rangers in their interest in the London-born Scotland youth international whose current contract expires in June.

Liverpool and rivals United are eyeing Leicester City's Harvey Barnes, reports the Mirror. The 23-year-old has established himself as a key player for the Foxes.

- Eric Bailly is in talks with United over a new long-term contract, claims The Sun. The 26-year-old defender, who has been plagued by injuries at Old Trafford, is out of contract in 2022. It comes amid United's reported interest in Sevilla's Jules Kounde, Ibrahima Konate of RB Leipzig and Brighton and Hove Albion star Ben White.

Yussuf Poulsen said RB Leipzig are dreaming of winning the Bundesliga title after their dramatic come-from-behind 3-2 win over Borussia Monchengladbach.

Monchengladbach led 2-0 after 20 minutes on Saturday, but Leipzig fought back with three second-half goals – including a 93rd-minute winner from Alexander Sorloth.

For the first time in their Bundesliga history, Leipzig won a match after trailing by two goals.

The result keeps Leipzig two points behind leaders Bayern Munich after the defending champions routed Cologne 5-1 on Saturday.

Leipzig, who finished third in their past two Bundesliga campaigns and were runners-up in 2016-17, have now won five league games in a row to mount significant pressure on Bayern.

"Everybody dreams of the title, especially when you have been at the top of the Bundesliga in the last four seasons," said Poulsen, who has been at Leipzig since 2013.

"Of course everybody is thinking about it but we know there's still a third of the season left."

Leipzig's title challenge has gained momentum, with Bayern dropping points in consecutive games after returning from their triumphant Club World Cup campaign in Qatar.

However, Julian Nagelsmann's Leipzig were staring down the barrel of a defeat which would have significantly dented those title aspirations.

Poulsen was among the second-half goalscorers as Leipzig turned it around, with half-time substitute Sorloth making a major contribution.

"We delivered a top performance and deserved to win," Poulsen said.

"After a game like that, confidence is high and puts a spring in your step."

 

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland should join Bayern Munich or leave the Bundesliga to further his career, Lothar Matthaus says.

The Norway striker scored twice in the 4-0 win over Schalke last weekend to take his tally to 27 in all competitions this season, behind only Robert Lewandowski (31) among Bundesliga players.

Haaland also hit two in the 3-2 win at Sevilla in the Champions League last-16 first leg to become the first player in the competition's history to score as many as 17 goals in his first 13 appearances.

The 20-year-old only joined Dortmund last January but is already being linked with a post-season move to one of Europe's major clubs.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea have all been credited with an interest in Haaland, who is speculated to have a release clause of €75million that becomes active in 2022.

Bayern great Matthaus thinks Haaland ultimately has two choices at this stage of his career: pursue a move away from the Bundesliga, or sign for the champions.

"At a young age, he's a striker unlike any I've seen before: this goal tally, this power, passion, energy, as well as quality," he told Sport1.

"He could follow in the footsteps of other great footballers of the last 13 or 14 years.

"He won't be at Borussia Dortmund for life. He'll look for bigger clubs; he'll get a bigger wage. If he stays in the Bundesliga, there's only one step for him: Bayern."

Bayern have endured a dip in form of late, drawing with Arminia Bielefeld before a 2-1 loss at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Those results have allowed RB Leipzig to close to within two points of the leaders, and Matthaus thinks the challengers have an advantage in the title race due to squad depth.

Claiming a ninth title in a row for Bayern is "not a cast-iron guarantee", Matthaus wrote in his column for Sky.

He added: "It's already the case that [Bayern coach] Hansi Flick turns to the substitutes bench at critical moments and thinks, 'Who exactly can really help me now?'.

"If the situation worsens in terms of personnel, the season could end far less successfully."

RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann insisted his side must "stay on the gas pedal" despite closing within two points of Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich.

Leipzig defeated Hertha Berlin 2-0 on the road on Sunday, capitalising on leaders Bayern's 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

Bayern also dropped points last week following their return from the Club World Cup in Qatar, drawing 3-3 with Arminia Bielefeld, meaning the margin at the top has been cut from seven to two points within a week, offering renewed title hope for Naglesmann's side.

However, the 33-year-old German maintained the hard work has only just begun for Leipzig, who have finished the past two Bundesliga seasons in third position.

"It's nice to get closer [to Bayern]," Nagelsmann said. "It used to be a seven-point-gap at one point. My team's reaction impressed me a lot… We have to remain focused and try winning our games.

"I think I said at the beginning of the season that February and March will become harder for the teams, as the impact of the Corona pandemic needs to be overcome in the right way.

"There are a lot of games and we need to stay on the gas pedal, and we did that in today's 90 minutes, as we did in the previous Bundesliga games.

"A lot of good teams are coming up now, with [Borussia Monchengladbach] Gladbach on the weekend, which will be a challenge. But we want to keep being successful in the Bundesliga and winning the games should speak for us."

RB Leipzig believe they are now in a Bundesliga title "duel" with Bayern Munich after closing the gap to two points with another win, this time at Hertha Berlin. 

With a draw at home to Arminia Bielefeld and then defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt, Bayern have dropped five points this week since returning from the Club World Cup in Qatar. 

Those setbacks granted Leipzig an opportunity to re-enter a title race that had looked to be over - and Julian Nagelsmann's side capitalised with a 3-0 success at Hertha on Sunday. 

Leipzig have won all five of their Bundesliga away games against Hertha, although they only pulled clear of their hosts in the closing stages. 

Marcel Sabitzer's sublime long-range strike was all that separated the sides until the 71st minute when Nordi Mukiele added a second. 

Sabitzer and Mukiele had each committed errors leading to goals in the midweek Champions League defeat to Liverpool. 

There was then a clinching third courtesy of Willi Orban, moving Leipzig five points ahead of third-placed Wolfsburg while piling the pressure on Bayern. 

Sabitzer, who has 12 career Bundesliga goals from outside the area, albeit this was his first of 2020-21, told Sky Sport: "It was not to be expected that Bayern would drop five points.

"Now we have caught up the points, now there are only two. We are a bit clear of third place, so it's a duel. 

"It doesn't help to talk about it, we have to do it and stick with it week after week. Otherwise I can say something completely different next week and then everyone will laugh at me again." 

Nagelsmann added: "Of course, we're pleased to have moved back to within two points of Bayern. 

"Some teams behind us also picked up points, which makes the victory today even more important." 

Bayern, who have already lost twice in the Bundesliga in 2021 after a sole defeat last year, visit Leipzig on April 3.

Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Manchester City, Chelsea and Juventus.

Europe's elite are lining up to sign Erling Haaland, but who will he join?

Whoever it is, Haaland is set to command a mammoth contract.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND ASKING FOR LUCRATIVE DEAL

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland wants a contract in the region of £78million (€90m) as speculation intensifies over his future, according to the Daily Star.

Haaland is a player in demand following his exploits for Bundesliga side Dortmund, linked with the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Manchester City, Chelsea and Juventus.

The report claims Haaland wants a five-year deal worth around £300,000 (€346,000) per week.

 

ROUND-UP

- Should Kylian Mbappe leave for Madrid, Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain want to replace him with Tottenham star Harry Kane, claims the Mirror.

- Bild says Chelsea, Liverpool and United are interested in signing RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate. His centre-back partner Dayot Upamecano is set to join Bayern Munich at the end of the season, having been linked with the Premier League's elite.

Liverpool are preparing a £40m bid for Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White, reports Football Insider. Jurgen Klopp is desperate to bolster his injury-hit defence amid a difficult 2020-21 campaign.

- The Daily Mail says United are considering a move for Everton youngster Jarrad Branthwaite. The 18-year-old defender has impressed since joining the Toffees.

Leipzig lead the race to sign Ajax sensation Brian Brobbey, according to Diario AS. United, Milan and Bayern have also been linked.

Milan and Inter target Odilon Kossounou – who plays for Club Brugge - is also wanted by Premier League duo Arsenal and Wolves, claims The Sun.

- Calciomercato reports Juventus are eyeing Leicester City winger Timothy Castagne, who arrived from Atalanta at the start of the season.

Justin Kluivert was sorely missed by RB Leipzig against Liverpool and his injuries are increasingly frustrating head coach Julian Nagelsmann.

Winger Kluivert joined Leipzig from Roma on a season-long loan at the start of the 2020-21 campaign.

However, the 21-year-old - son of former Barcelona striker Patrick - has so far been limited to just three starts and 452 minutes of action in a Leipzig shirt across all competitions.

An ankle issue has provided Kluivert's latest setback, with his last appearance coming in January and his last start before Christmas.

Prior to being named in the line-up against Werder Bremen on December 12, Kluivert had scored in consecutive matches against Bayern Munich and Manchester United - his only goals so far this season.

Nagelsmann was impressed by the Netherlands international's performances in those games and believes his dribbling ability could be a real asset; he leads Leipzig with 5.4 dribbles attempted and 2.6 completed per 90 minutes this term.

But the coach was again without Kluivert as Leipzig lost their Champions League first leg 2-0 against Liverpool on Tuesday, with the German team attempting just 11 dribbles and failing to execute a single fast break.

"At the stage when we played Bayern and Manchester [United], it was the Justin we were hoping for," Nagelsmann said. "After that, he was gone again.

"He just trains very little, I don't see him much in training. That's the problem. He has to become more stable in terms of his body.

"Since he's been here, he's had far too few training sessions and therefore too little impact on the game.

"He basically has skills that would have done us good in the game against Liverpool. They would also do us good in the Bundesliga, like his deep runs and fast dribbling. He's also a goalscorer and has a good finish.

"But he simply has to become more stable. He's a little too injury-prone these days."

Leipzig would reportedly have to pay in excess of €10million to make Kluivert's move permanent.

Nagelsmann is not ruling out the possibility but would like to see more from the player over the coming months, referring again to the standard set in a 3-3 draw with Bayern.

Kluivert scored with his only shot at Allianz Arena, playing 78 minutes after being named in Nagelsmann's starting line-up.

"Obviously, we hope he has an even bigger impact on a successful season, that he stays healthy and that he can train more and get fit again for the games," Nagelsmann added.

"He's welcome to do as well as he did against Bayern Munich.

"In the course of the second half of the season, we will then decide what we do and what he wants to do. And how big his influence was and how it then continues beyond the summer or not, we will decide then."

Manchester United are making plans for Paul Pogba's departure and may have already identified the Frenchman's replacement in Real Madrid's Federico Valverde.

The 22-year-old has struggled with injuries this season, while veteran midfielders Luka Modric and Toni Kroos have been in vintage form for LaLiga's champions.

Valverde has only started 12 games in all competitions this season, but the Uruguayan has impressed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer enough for United to step up their efforts to bring him to Old Trafford this off-season.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED EYE VALVERDE TO PLUG MIDFIELD

Valverde has shown his class while featuring in 89 games during his three seasons in the Spanish capital and has turned heads at United.

The Red Devils are said to admire his energy and box-to-box qualities as they seek a long-term solution to lock down a place in the centre of Solskjaer's midfield, according to The Sun.

One snag in the recruitment drive could be the Uruguay international's buy-out clause of a staggering £148million, though United can offer him a major improvement on his current £120,000 per week wage.

RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann says it is "not impossible" for his side to overturn their 2-0 first-leg deficit against Liverpool in the Champions League last 16.

Leipzig were beaten 2-0 in their 'home tie' in Budapest by the English champions, who will host the German club in Liverpool in early March for the second leg.

Angelino hit the post early on for RB Leipzig before Alisson was forced into a good save to deny Christopher Nkunku in the second.

Liverpool then capitalised on Leipzig mistakes with quick-fire goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane offering the Reds a major advantage ahead of the return leg.

"We know the result, but I think we played a good game," Nagelsmann said. "We'll take this with us to the second leg.

"I already want to say before somebody asks the question: The situation is not easier of course, but not impossible either.

"We will do everything and try to reach the next round."

Leipzig had 12 shots to 10, while Liverpool had three shots on target to two and also edged possession in a tight game, where Nagelsmann said capitalising on chances was the difference.

"We needed two, three minutes after these two mistakes," the 33-year-old coach said. "It’s the classic question to ask, if these mistakes will be punished at this high level.

"This is basically punished on every level. Then we needed five, six minutes to bounce back. It was good that we didn't concede a third goal. Then my boys did well again."

Alisson has been under fire lately but he will "sleep really well" according to Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp after keeping an assured clean sheet in Tuesday's 2-0 win over RB Leipzig.

Second-half goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane earned the Reds the Champions League last-16 victory in Budapest, ahead of the return leg in Liverpool on March 10.

However, prior to those goals Alisson came up with a big save in the 46th minute to deny Christopher Nkunku.

The clean sheet comes after the Brazilian goalkeeper was criticised for his turnovers in the 4-1 loss to Manchester City and a defensive mix-up in the 3-1 defeat to Leicester City in the Premier League.

"Definitely, definitely," Klopp said when asked about Alisson feeling better. "He honestly had big moments in the Leicester game also, some brilliant saves. So that's how it is, but of course it helps.

"A clean sheet, I can imagine Ali will sleep really well on the plane on the way home, and as always he helped us a lot."

Liverpool’s triumph snapped a run of three consecutive defeats amid a period of tumult for Klopp's side as their Premier League title challenge has fallen apart, slipping down to sixth.

The German manager was delighted with his players' response against last season's Champions League semi-finalists, which provided a morale boost although he insisted that was not a tonic for their problems.

"Look, we are not children anymore so we would now think 'OK, now we won that game and everything is fine again'," Klopp said.

"For me it is much more important that we played again good football. Again, not the first time, in the last few weeks, I understand that and I respect that 100 per cent, that nobody is really happy with the results, that's clear."

Klopp's caution is understandable given last month's form dip was halted with wins over Tottenham and West Ham before their latest slump.

He added: "I know Leipzig pretty well and I know how dominant they can be, football-wise, and how overwhelming they can be in a game from a physical point of view.

"That is what we had to deal with tonight and the boys played a really good game, a really good game."

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."

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."

Liverpool took charge of their Champions League last-16 tie with RB Leipzig as they claimed a 2-0 win in the first leg in Budapest.

Julian Nagelsmann's side, who pipped Manchester United to a place in the knockouts, looked far from comfortable in the unfamiliar surroundings of the Puskas Arena, where Tuesday's game was held to due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

Mohamed Salah's 24th goal of the season put Liverpool ahead after a mistake by Kevin Kampl, and Sadio Mane doubled the advantage when Nordi Mukiele gifted him an opportunity.

The Reds are now unbeaten in six away games against Bundesliga opposition stretching back to 2002, and Jurgen Klopp's men will be firm favourites to progress to the quarter-finals.

Liverpool nearly fell behind after just five minutes, Dani Olmo's diving header hitting the inside of the post from Angelino's cross.

The away side looked the most threatening as they began to take control, and Peter Gulacsi was alert to block a Salah effort from close range before Roberto Firmino fired a shot into the side-netting.

Mane then headed over from six yards from a Firmino cross, and the Senegalese thought he had set up his strike partner to nod in the opener after errors from Dayot Upamecano, but the ball had gone out of play.

Christopher Nkunku had barely been involved in the first half but he could have given Leipzig the lead early in the second, Alisson saving well after the striker ran onto Olmo's throughball.

It was Salah who broke the deadlock 53 minutes in, drilling past Gulacsi after a dreadful backpass from Kampl, and it soon got worse for Leipzig.

Mukiele made a complete mess of a simple clearance forward by Curtis Jones, and Mane had time to stride into the box and slot home.

Angelino had a chance to pull a goal back but sliced his attempt badly, summing up a poor game for last season's semi-finalists.

What does it mean? Fragile Liverpool give season huge boost

Injuries and recent form - they had won three of their previous 12 games in all competitions - will have had Liverpool fans feeling a little anxious before meeting the side second in the Bundesliga.

However, a display of supreme authority, helped by an erratic approach from Leipzig, put Klopp's men in total charge of this tie and could well have provided a timely boost in confidence.

Leipzig will hope for better in the second leg, but their previous visit to England ended in a 5-0 defeat to Manchester United.

Salah at menacing best

Salah should perhaps have scored sooner but he made no mistake with his clearest chance of the game.

He spent the rest of the game harassing a deeply unsettled Leipzig defence in a hugely impressive, committed performance.

Nagelsmann's men in a muddle

Leipzig were on a six-game unbeaten run at home in this competition and it was unfortunate for them that this game had to be relocated to a neutral venue.

Still, that does not explain the horribly haphazard nature of their performance. Two defensive errors led directly to the goals, Mukiele could have been sent off before his mistake, while Bayern Munich-bound Upamecano misplaced 20 passes from centre-back.

What's next?

With the return leg not until March 10, Liverpool's more pressing concern is a derby with Everton on Saturday. Leipzig head to Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga a day later.

For Naby Keita, Liverpool's Champions League tie with RB Leipzig could have offered a chance to show his old club what they are missing.

Travel restrictions put in place amid the coronavirus pandemic have blocked the first leg from taking place in Germany, so Budapest will instead stage the opening match of the last-16 showdown on Tuesday. Keita, however, will not be there.

Rather than head to the Hungarian capital with the rest of the squad, the Guinea international has remained back on Merseyside to continue his recovery from the latest injury setback in a Liverpool career that has flattered to deceive so far. 

There have been bright moments, occasional performances where he has demonstrated his class, but too often those high points have been followed by a prolonged spell on the sidelines.  

Keita made 43 league appearances in his first two years in England, but only 25 of them were starts. This season, there have been just seven outings, the last of them on December 19 in the 7-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace, back when everything looked far rosier in Liverpool's garden.

Jurgen Klopp provided a positive fitness update on the midfielder ahead of the Leipzig game, revealing: "Naby is no longer injured but he's not fit yet".  A reunion with his former employers could still come at Anfield in the return fixture, albeit the German manager is not known for being sentimental when it comes to team selection.

Liverpool were patient in the first place just to get him; having failed to agree terms for his immediate transfer, they instead struck a deal with Leipzig to have him join 12 months later for, at the time, a club-record fee.

"Until I join my new club, next summer, I will remain an interested supporter from a distance," Keita said when the impending transfer was confirmed. Sadly, too often he has been stuck watching on since. There have been hamstring, thigh, groin and knee issues, plus a spell out after contracting COVID-19. It has felt like one step forward, two back.

Still, his two seasons at Leipzig – during which he contributed 14 goals and 12 assists in 58 Bundesliga games – demonstrated why Klopp was willing to wait. Comfortable with the ball at his feet and capable of playing the killer pass when working in crowded spaces, he was seen as the ideal attacking threat that could lift the team to the next level. 

The Reds have duly raised their standards, but Keita has been a peripheral figure. He was ruled out of the Champions League final against Tottenham in July 2019 and, while he played – and scored – the night Liverpool lifted the Premier League trophy just over 12 months later, it was one of only 14 starts in all competitions. 

His only other league goal during that title-winning campaign came at Bournemouth in the previous December, when he picked up possession in a pocket of space in front of the opposition defence, played a clever one-two with Mohamed Salah and then toe-poked the ball in.

Such moments of quality served to underline why he was identified and, eventually, signed. Liverpool have rarely made big-money mistakes in the transfer market, but Keita has yet to live up to the hefty fee, which covered his £48million release clause plus an undisclosed premium that sealed the deal. 

While seven goals and four assists in 45 starts is so far a disappointing return on that sizeable investment, exploring Keita's contributions in greater depth shows what he can produce when healthy.

No player who had over 20 dribble attempts for Liverpool in the 2019-20 league season had a better success rate than his 82.14 per cent, while his figure for big chances created per 90 minutes (0.55) was the best of the lot, too. Add in an average of 10.95 passes into the final third per 90 and you see the type of numbers that suggest he could have made a difference this term, particularly in games where Klopp's side have struggled so badly to break down opposing line-ups stuck in a low block.

There is still time to have a greater impact, of course, but rather than taking centre stage when Liverpool take on Leipzig, Keita is stuck as a spectator once again, a footnote to the storyline as the knockout stages of the competition begin.

Tuesday sees the return of the Champions League as the first two last-16 ties get started, including arguably the pick of the bunch; Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain.

While we have been robbed of the Messi v Neymar narrative after the Brazilian was ruled out for four weeks with an adductor injury last week, there should still be plenty of talent on display.

Messi can still expect to be the focus, given the strong transfer links to PSG, while the Parisians will be hoping for a hint of revenge for the famous 'Remontada' of 2016-17.

Also in action on Tuesday are Liverpool and RB Leipzig, with the Germans' home leg taking place in Budapest due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions imposed in Germany.

Ahead of the two tantalising fixtures, here are the key stats for both games…

Barcelona v PSG

4 – Barca and PSG last met at this same stage in 2016-17, when the Catalans became the only team to ever qualify for the next round in the Champions League after losing by at least four goals in the first leg. They won the second leg 6-1 in Camp Nou.

14 – Barca are hoping to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the a record 14th consecutive campaign. They were last eliminated at this stage in 2006-07 by Liverpool.

10 – While PSG have only one away win against Spanish opposition (Valencia) in the Champions League knockout phase, Barca have never lost at home to a French side in 10 such games in this competition.

2 – Antoine Griezmann has more yellow cards (two) than he has Champions League goal involvements (one assist) for Barca at Camp Nou in seven appearances.

1 – Kylian Mbappe has scored only one goal in his nine Champions League knockout games with PSG. He had found the net six times in six knockout games with Monaco.

RB Leipzig v Liverpool

0 – RB Leipzig have played 22 matches in the Champions League – none have ended goalless.

8.9 – While Liverpool are known for their effective pressing, Leipzig are even more aggressive. The German have allowed their opponents just 8.9 passes on average before intervening defensively in the competition this season, the lowest figure of any side in 2020-21.

1 – Roberto Firmino has scored only one goal in his previous 16 Champions League games. That came in last season's last-16 second leg against Atletico Madrid.

6 – Leipzig wing-back Angelino has contributed three goals and three assists in the Champions League this term – Alvaro Morata (six goals, one assist) is the sole Spaniard with more goal involvements in 2020-21.

45 – Liverpool were the only team not to concede a single goal in the first 45 minutes of matches in the group stage.

RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann expects out-of-form Liverpool to come out fighting like an "injured boxer" in their Champions League last-16 first leg on Tuesday.

Nagelsmann believes Liverpool will be fully focused on European success after letting their Premier League title defence slip away following three consecutive league defeats as Manchester City dominate in England.

Premier League champions Liverpool have fallen 13 points adrift of City after being upstaged 3-1 by Leicester City on Saturday.

Despite Liverpool's woes, Nagelsmann believes the Reds' class will shine through at Puskas Arena in Hungary.

"I don't think that I have to warn my team about an injured boxer. I believe that my team knows that this is a world class team," Nagelsmann, whose Leipzig reached last season's Champions League semi-finals, said.

"Also, if you listen to what the teams in the Premier League say, despite their tiny crisis, managers are still saying after every match that Liverpool are, with Manchester City, still one of the hardest teams to beat in the Premier League.

"That is because they have a very balanced squad. Hard to assess and variable. As [Leipzig goalkeeper] Peter Gulasci mentioned already, they can take care of a lot of things at once."

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