Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk lead Liverpool to famous away win at Bayern Munich

Steve Nicol credits Liverpool for their return to the final eight of the Champions League, despite not playing to the high standard they set last season.

MUNICH — Liverpool’s quest to go one better than last year’s Champions League runners-up finish is still alive after a mature display in Germany saw them overcome Bayern Munich 3-1 and with plenty to spare. Nobody will be wanting to draw Jurgen Klopp’s men in the last eight.

Positives

Not many teams will go to the Allianz Arena and win 3-1. It’s a mark of the strength of this Liverpool side that they can do it without even playing at their best. The momentum from a Champions League run can only help with the chase for domestic honours.

Negatives

A late booking for Andy Robertson means the full-back will miss Liverpool’s next match in the competition. He’ll be a big loss as the only natural replacement is the out of favour Alberto Moreno, meaning the versatile James Milner might be required to fill in once more.

Manager rating out of 10

10 — While Klopp insisted afterward that beating Bayern gave him no extra satisfaction, he was surely not being entirely truthful. He will have taken great satisfaction from the way his team set about their task. Defensively, the Reds were outstanding, but it was the maturity in the performance that was most impressive. Klopp’s side kept things tight and waited until Bayern had to finally abandon their cagey approach and commit players forward. As soon as they did that, Liverpool picked them off. Klopp’s plan worked perfectly.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Alisson, 7 — Barely had to make a save all night but provided a calming presence with his coolness in possession and flawless distribution.

DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 8 — Solid defensively against the experienced Franck Ribery and was always looking to get forward and link with the attack. Set-piece delivery was inconsistent, but he did produce a couple of dangerous corners in the second half.

DF Joel Matip, 7 — Somewhat unfortunate to score on his own net and it would be harsh to blame him for the goal, as if he hadn’t attempted to clear it would have been a tap-in for Robert Lewandowski anyway. Aside from that he was steady and competed well.

DF Virgil van Dijk, 9 — Magnificent yet again. Defensively he’s imperious, but he brings so much more to the team than that. His leadership, the confidence he inspires in others and the threat he poses from set pieces make him the complete package. Rose majestically to head Liverpool back in front and from that moment on there was only one winner.

DF Andy Robertson, 7 — Much like in the first leg, the Scot had one or two problems with the lively Serge Gnabry and he was caught out badly for the Bayern goal. Going forward, he was a big threat and he stung the palms of Manuel Neuer with one first-half effort after a typically swashbuckling run. A harsh, needless late booking meant he ended the night disappointed, but he will learn from that.

MF Jordan Henderson, N/R — Recalled to the side after being left out at the weekend, but his night ended early when he twisted an ankle and was unable to continue.

MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 7 — A game of two halves for the Dutchman. Very quiet in the first half when Liverpool’s midfielders were mostly chasing shadows and were unable to sustain any prolonged possession themselves. After the break all that changed and Wijnaldum’s ability to win the ball and then break forward really came to the fore.

Sadio Mane scores in Liverpool's Champions League match at Bayern Munich.
Sadio Mane’s two goals at Bayern Munich gives him 19 for the season, just one shy of his best total with Liverpool.

MF James Milner, 7 — Similar to Wijnaldum in that he came into the game much more in the second half. It was from his corner that Van Dijk headed Liverpool in front. The Champions League assist king.

FW Roberto Firmino, 7 — Went close with a rasping drive early on but that was a rare highlight in a frustrating first half for the Brazilian. He was often wasteful in possession and not much was coming off for him. He improved significantly after the break and his work rate and energy was, as always, beyond reproach.

FW Sadio Mane, 9 — The Senegalese is in a rich vein of form and proved to be too hot for Bayern to handle here. His opening goal was sublime as you’ll struggle to see three better touches from anybody all season. Just wonderful. His second goal wasn’t bad either, as he showed good movement to escape the attention of Mats Hummels and head past Manuel Neuer.

FW Mohamed Salah, 7 — As has so often been the case of late, Salah was almost great but just not quite. He caused Bayern problems all night, but the final shot just wasn’t there. There’s certainly nothing wrong with his crossing though, and the ball with the outside of his left foot onto the head of Mane to ice the game was glorious.

Substitutes

MF Fabinho, 7 — Rested after playing a lot of games recently, the Brazilian didn’t get much time to put his feet up as he was called into action to replace the unfortunate Henderson early on. One or two uncomfortable moments, but he provided some excellent protection for the defence, not least when he made a superb tackle to deny Kingsley Coman after the winger had made a fool out of Matip.

FW Divock Origi, N/R — A late replacement for Firmino, the Belgian immediately made his presence felt by playing a key part in the third goal.

MF Adam Lallana, N/R — Replaced Milner for the closing stages but had little time to make his mark.

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