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Why has Liverpool's Champions League game vs RB Leipzig been moved? New venue and reasons explained

09-Feb-2021, 01:43 am

Puskas Arena Mohamed Salah Julian Nagelsmann Liverpool RB Leipzig

Champions League football returns for the first time in 2021 when the round of 16 takes place this February and March.

The Merseyside outfit take on Julian Nagelsmann's RB Leipzig in the last 16, but it won't mean a return to Germany for Jurgen Klopp after the venue was moved to a different country.

So why has the game been moved and where? Goal has everything you need to know.

Ordinarily, the first-leg game between Liverpool and RB Leipzig would have been played at RB Leipzig's home stadium, the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig.

However, public health regulations in Germany arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic have ensured that it cannot be played there.

A temporary travel ban from the United Kingdom to Germany was introduced in December 2020 and there were initially some fears that it could affect English teams in Europe.

At the end of January, the travel ban was extended up to and including February 17 which presented a problem for the clubs, with their game scheduled to be played on February 16.

Liverpool applied to authorities for the right to enter Germany in order to play the game, but the federal police (BPOL) rejected their request.

According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI), a Champions League match was not grounds for exceptional permission to be granted.

As a consequence, under UEFA's rules, RB Leipzig were forced to find an alternative venue or else they risked handing the Reds a 3-0 forfeit victory.

The Champions League last-16 first-leg game between Liverpool and RB Leipzig will now be played in Budapest, Hungary.

It will take place at the Puskas Arena, which is a newly built stadium with a capacity of 67,000. Construction began on the arena in 2017 and it was completed in 2019.

The Puskas Arena was built on the site of the old Ferenc Puskas Stadium and it will host a number of matches at Euro 2020.

It has already been used in the 2020-21 Champions League, having hosted Ferencvaros' matches against Juventus and Barcelona.

Interestingly, London was also a possible venue, with Tottenham's Tottenham Hotspur Stadium considered by RB Leipzig.

Liverpool will play RB Leipzig in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 bout on Tuesday February 16, 2021.

The game will kick off at 8pm GMT (3pm ET).

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