Mane shows off Liverpool firepower
The breakthrough in this tie was a long time coming, but after a goalless 90 minutes at Anfield and a goalless first 25 minutes in Munich, it was worth the wait. Sadio Mane’s exquisite first touch pulled the ball out of the air, his second a quick spin to outwit Manuel Neuer, before a sublime third which guided the ball between two Bayern defenders and into the net.
It was his 18th goal of the season, and later he added another to go only one short of Mohamed Salah’s tally this term, and it might yet be that the Senegalese forward finishes the season as Liverpool’s top scorer. For all Liverpool’s strengths, it remains one of their greatest that on either side of the pivot that is Roberto Firmino are two of Europe’s most potent finishers.
A round to forget for goalkeepers
So many of the world’s best goalkeepers have suffered a fortnight to forget in the Champions League. From Thibaut Courtois failing to read Lasse Schone’s free-kick in Real Madrid’s 4-1 loss to Ajax, to Gianluigi Buffon’s costly error against Manchester United, there have been plenty of high-profile goalkeeping errors.
That trend continued at the Allianz Arena. Granted, Mane’s first touch to pluck Virgil van Dijk’s ball over the top was exquisite, but Manuel Neuer made the wrong call in deciding to hare off line, leaving himself stranded in no man’s land.
Mane sold him a dummy before dinking the ball into the corner – and it was all the experienced German’s fault.
Henderson’s injury a worry
Liverpool have a serious amount of strength in depth these days. When Jordan Henderson suffered an early injury in Germany, Jurgen Klopp was able to turn to Fabinho, a £39m summer signing and experienced Champions League player who went on to produce a solid performance.
But Liverpool do not only have the Champions League to worry about. They are also fighting Manchester City for the Premier League title and Klopp will be crossing his fingers that Henderson does not have to spend too much time on the treatment table.
Liverpool return to action against Fulham on Sunday – before a huge match against Tottenham at the end of March.
Robertson’s rare mistake
Andrew Robertson has been one of Liverpool’s most consistent performers over the last 12 months as they’ve developed into one of the best teams in Europe, but he made an uncharacteristic mistake to allow Bayern back into the tie. Serge Gnabry’s little dummy run back infield was fully bought and paid for by the Scotland captain, who never recovered from his step out of his position, forlornly chasing back and bouncing off Gnabry as the winger’s cross forced an own goal from Joel Matip.
Matip might take some criticism but in truth, with Robert Lewandowski lurking on his shoulder, there was little the centre-back could do. The damage had been done.
Later Robertson picked up a yellow card that will rule him out of the first leg of the quarter-finals. He may have made a mistake here, but there's no doubt he will be sorely missed, whoever Liverpool meet.
Van Dijk dominates at both ends
Is there a better defender in the world right now? Not only was Virgil van Dijk imperious defensively, but he picked up an assist and a goal to help his team past Bayern. Of all Liverpool's signings under Jurgen Klopp, he has surely been the most crucial, and his fitness will be vital to their chances of winning silverware this season.
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