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RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann expects Liverpool out of shape to come out fighting like an “injured boxer” in their Champions League round of 16 first leg on Tuesday.
Nagelsmann believes Liverpool will be fully focused on European success after blurting out their Premier League title defense following three consecutive league losses with Manchester City dominating England.
Premier League champions Liverpool have fallen 13 points behind City after being eclipsed 3-1 by Leicester City on Saturday.
Despite Liverpool’s troubles, Nagelsmann believes the Reds class will shine at Hungary’s Puskas Arena.
“I don’t think I have to warn my team about an injured boxer. I think my team knows that this is a world-class team, ”said Nagelsmann, whose Leipzig reached the semi-finals of the Champions League last season.
“Also, if you listen to what the Premier League teams say, despite their little crisis, the coaches keep saying after every game that Liverpool is, with Manchester City, one of the most difficult teams to beat in the league. Premier League.
“That’s because they have a very balanced squad. Difficult to evaluate and variable. What [Leipzig goalkeeper] Peter Gulasci already mentioned that they can take care of many things at once. “
We’re in this together, reds pic.twitter.com/pPpS4Z2p6m
Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 15, 2021
Having won just three of their last 12 games in all competitions, the Reds appear to have a completely different team to the team that lifted their first English title in 30 years last season.
Liverpool are undefeated in their last five away matches against German teams, in all competitions (W3 D2). Their last defeat was against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League quarter-finals in April 2002.
But Nagelsmann hopes that Klopp and Liverpool will be desperate to put their miserable league form behind them when they travel to Budapest to face the second-placed Bundesliga.
“This crisis regarding his result is not in the Champions League, it is in the Premier League,” added Nagelsmann.
“There is a big difference. This is a completely different tournament. After their loss to Leicester on Saturday, they basically gave up in the race for the title in the Premier League.
“This is how Jurgen [Klopp] answered the question. Therefore, their only goal now is the Champions League, as it is the only competition with a chance of winning a title.
“So I hope they come into the game with everything they have and try to put their recent results in the league behind them.”
None of Leipzig’s 22 Champions League matches has ended goalless, that is, more than any other team in the competition’s history.
In the Champions League this season, Leipzig has allowed their opponents just 8.9 passes on average before intervening defensively (PPDA), the lowest average of either side in the 2020-21 competition, highlighting their intense pressure regime.