Liverpool: Wijnaldum comments as contract saga goes on
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Liverpool’s win over RB Leipzig has handed Jurgen Klopp a difficult decision over Roberto Firmino. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane fired the Reds into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 2-0 win which doubled their aggregate lead from the opening leg.
With Roberto Firmino sidelined by a knee problem, Diogo Jota again played in place of the Brazilian, having recently come back from injury himself.
Hopes have been high that Jota’s return could help ease Liverpool’s well-documented striking woes, given his blistering start to life at Anfield earlier in the season.
But the 24-year-old missed a raft of chances in the first half, having found himself in promising positions – and he was not the only one, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane fluffing their lines until they eventually both found the net in the second half.
Liverpool controlled the game and created plenty of opportunities, helped by the return of Fabinho to the midfield anchor role which allowed Thiago and Gini Wijnaldum to get forward more often.
Jota forced a save from Leipzig keeper Peter Gulácsi midway through the first half when he rose to meet a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross with a pinpoint header.
Salah was next to be denied when he was one-on-one with the keeper after a great ball over the top from Thiago, but could only shoot straight at the keeper.
Jota saw another header saved by Gulácsi following a corner on the half-hour mark, while there was a moment which summed up Liverpool’s current luck in front of goal when first Salah then Mane were denied when faced with a great opportunity.
Jota had another big chance just before half-time when he had a tap-in from three yards, but somehow hit the side netting.
There were more missed chances for Jota and Salah in the second half before Liverpool survived a scare when Alexander Sorloth hit the bar with a header.
But then came two goals in just four minutes which saw Liverpool home and dry.
The breakthrough involved all three front men, with Mane finding Jota, who slipped the ball to Salah, with the Egyptian star cutting inside a defender before firing home.
Origi then came on for Jota, and was involved in the second as he whipped the ball into the box for Mane to fire home from close range.
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