Liverpool expected to return to Budapest for home leg against RB Leipzig

Tom Gott
Mohamed Salah fired Liverpool to victory against RB Leipzig
Mohamed Salah fired Liverpool to victory against RB Leipzig / Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images

Liverpool's home leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against RB Leipzig is expected to be played in Budapest, Hungary, with the German side not currently permitted to travel to England.

As part of their plan to tackle COVID-19, Germany banned Liverpool from entering the country for the first leg of the fixture, which saw Jurgen Klopp's men run out 2-0 winners at Budapest's Puskas Arena.

Dani Olmo, Sadio Mané
Leipzig were no match for Liverpool / Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images

As noted by The Times, they could be making a swift return to the stadium as Leipzig have been warned that the only way they would be allowed to travel to Anfield is if they quarantined afterwards, but with other Bundesliga fixtures on the horizon, that isn't feasible.

As a result, UEFA are looking into other destinations for the fixture, and Budapest has again been suggested as a likely option.

The Feyenoord Stadium in Rotterdam was initially proposed, only for the Dutch government to block the idea before it ever really got going. Stadio Friuli, the home of Italian side Udinese, was another candidate, as were stadiums in both Cyprus and Romania, but Hungary is seen as the best solution.

There is still a slim chance that Lepizig could be granted access to Liverpool. The German government will review its travel restrictions on March 5, when a final decision will be made on this fixture.

While Liverpool may prefer to play this game at Anfield, they clearly felt comfortable strutting their stuff in Budapest last time, bringing out perhaps their finest performance in the last few months en route to a dominant victory.

Second-half goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have put Klopp's side in the driver's seat for this tie, although Liverpool will know they cannot relax just yet. After all, Leipzig are second in the Bundesliga for a reason.

Jurgen Klopp
Klopp's side are in a good spot / Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

However, before they can focus on this game, Liverpool must navigate some tricky visits from London neighbours Chelsea and Fulham.

Thursday's meeting with Chelsea looks set to be a crucial one in both sides' push for the top four. Chelsea are fifth with 44 points, while Liverpool sit just one place and one point behind, so a victory in this one could change everything.

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