14th March, 2019
What Manchester United can do in France against Paris St. Germain, Liverpool can also do in Germany against Bayern Munich. That was the scenario in Munich as the English Reds went, saw and conquered the German Reds 3-1 right in their own backyard at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night.
It was surely a night to remember as Liverpool has helped to buttress the fact that the quality of the British Premier League teams has greatly improved of recent.
It has been quite a while that the feats achieved by the Reds and the Manchester Reds in this edition of the Champions’ League Competition ever happened with both teams having gone into their second leg games away and as the under-dogs as a result of failing to get positive results on their own grounds.
Interestingly in this particular match, despite playing away to a very solid European team like Bayern Munich, Liverpool actually did all the scoring as Bayern Munich’s solitary goal came as a result of an own goal by Liverpool’s own Joel Matip.
It was Sadio Mane that gave the Reds the perfect start despite a cagey opening in Bavaria as he profited from an unusual poor goalkeeping by Manuel Neuer to score a spectacular goal.
Thereafter, Matip then poked the ball into his own net to haul the hosts level on the night.
However, a thunderous header from Virgil van Dijk though edged Liverpool ahead once again.
Liverpool’s place in the quarter-finals was then sealed in the final minutes as Mo Salah crossed for Mane to get his second of the night, leaving Jurgen Klopp and the Liverpool fans in a state of wild jubilations and the German fans in utter disbelief.
The match actually started on a problematic note for Liverpool in less than 15 minutes into the match with captain Jordan Henderson being withdrawn through injury and replaced by Fabinho.
Liverpool was in a hurry to score the first goal of the game and did just that as Mane sprinted beyond the Bayern defence and turned away excellently from Neuer, who had advanced out of his goal. He then looped the ball into the empty net to send the away fans into a state of rapture.
Then came Andrew Robertson who then forced a solid stop out of the German goalkeeper from an awkward angle as the Reds looked to double their lead.
Unfortunately, Liverpool’s lead was shortlived as Bayern Munich found themselves on level terms against the run of play, albeit still behind on away goals.
Former Arsenal man Serge Gnabry did excellently to wriggle away from Andrew Robertson and put a dangerous ball across the face of the Liverpool goal. Matip could only stick out a toe and divert the ball into the back of his own net.
A repeat of that scenario almost happened in the second-half as Gnabry produced a teasing ball but Lewandowski could not stretch quite far enough to turn the ball into the net.
The visitors were stubborn throughout the second-half with chances at a premium, but when they came the way of the Reds, they took them. James Milner’s corner was an excellent cross and it picked out van Dijk precisely. Despite being marked by both Javi Martinez and Mats Hummels, the Dutchman rose the highest to nod the ball into the bottom corner.
Liverpool could have got a third and all-but secure their progression as Mo Salah dribbled into the Bayern box but could not quite get enough power into his shot to trouble Neuer.
Roberto Firmino’s effort from outside of the box was then held by Neuer as the Reds struggled towards qualification.
The visitors did wrap up the victory on the night, and their progression to the quarter-finals with another spectacular strike.
Salah, who found it tough throughout the evening, produced a stunning cross with the outside of his boot towards Mane at the back post who then flung himself at the ball to nod it beyond Neuer with a powerful header.
At the blast of the final whistle, the celebrations in the Liverpool section of the Allianz Arena were a sight to behold as they reached the quarter-finals for the second season running.
On a whole, Liverpool really did put in a stunning performance at the Allianz Arena despite what could have been tricky conditions. Mane in particular was at top form and did not give Bayern’s backline any rest whatsoever.
Liverpool’s progression to the next round was richly deserved after a great display, whilst Bayern boss Kovac will be bitterly disappointed at his side’s showing.