Here’s what the media made of Liverpool after the Reds advanced to the quarter-finals of the Champions League with victory over Bayern Munich.
The Reds displayed a mature performance, particularly in the second-half, as they beat Niko Kovac’s side 3-1 in the second-leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.
Mane’s swivel and clever dinked shot deceived the entire Bayern defence as the Reds went 1-0 up, scoring a crucial away goal in the process.
Bayern soon levelled the scores through a Joel Matip own goal, however Liverpool again took the advantage in the second-half as Van Dijk turned from provider to goalscorer.
The Dutchman sent a powerful header from a corner into the bottom corner of the net, leaving Manuel Neuer with no chance to react and ensuring Bayern would need another two goals in 20 minutes.
Klopp’s side sealed a handsome victory in the final 10 minutes as Mohamed Salah’s exquisite pass was headed in by Mane, who scored his second of the game.
Here’s what the media had to say about Liverpool’s convincing win in Munich…
“There have been so many famous European nights for Liverpool down the years, down the decades. So many memorable away days. But this emphatic victory against Bayern Munich ranks among the best.
“It only earned a Champions League quarter-final place for Liverpool, who are five-times winners, who were in the final last season, but the nature of this elimination of a European heavyweight such as Bayern, on their own imposing ground and with their expectancy, almost sense of entitlement, is further proof that they have re-established themselves on this stage.
“This mature performance also spoke of a team that is making such great strides, that has a growing reputation, that is striking fear. A goalless first leg was always going to be a knife-edge but Liverpool sliced through that with two goals by the outstanding Sadio Mane and another, a towering header, from the equally impressive Virgil van Dijk. Bayern were blunted, Bayern were fearful, Bayern were cowed.
“What a result. What a performance. What a message. Back on the European landscape, Klopp said. They certainly are and re-shaping it once more.”
“It will have meant much to manager Jurgen Klopp, too; a triumphant return to his homeland and a marker put down against its greatest team, particularly in the second-half when Munich should have been chasing the win, but barely had a sniff.
“This was a triumph of organisation in all areas. Not just picking Munich off, but shutting them down. Liverpool lost Jordan Henderson – such an influence on European nights – after 13 minutes when he rolled an ankle, but did not skip a beat. Fabinho slipped into central midfield, and Liverpool continued to chase Munich from their turf. It was an outstanding performance, fully deserving of victory; magnificent defence and a cutting, matchwinning, edge.
“At 1-1, Liverpool were going through on away goals anyway, but two goals in the second-half negated the need for UEFA’s aid. Sadio Mane scored his second of the night, and Virgil van Dijk his third in four games.
“What a buy he has been. Not just a defensive game-changer, but a man capable of changing games with goals, too. His presence in the opposing penalty area is such, one wonders why Liverpool do not put it in the mixer from set pieces more often.”
“Qualifying for the quarters was a great achievement, but the quality of goals that took them there were memorable. The leaders of the Bundesliga, a side spiced with World Cup stars, were made to look so pedestrian because of Liverpool’s work ethic and individual expertise.
“For this is Liverpool, the team and the talent, flair within a framework, all glory for the group. This has always been the Liverpool way, harking back to their days of sustained hegemony, such as the era when they previously travelled to Munich, back in 1981, when individual class was also imposed only for the good of the side.
“As now. There is no ego in this squad of Klopp’s. The armband was worn by Jordan Henderson, who limped away early after twisting his ankle, then James Milner, who was eventually substituted after an immense contribution, and finally Van Dijk, a colossus as a defender, a leader and a threat at set pieces. Three captains, three players taking responsibility, the Liverpool way.
“There are players of real stellar stature in this Liverpool XI, world-class performers of the calibre of Mané, Van Dijk and Salah but they go about their exceptional work simply with Liverpool’s betterment and advancement in mind. They all move to Klopp’s tune, but there are some special virtuosos in the orchestra he conducts so adroitly.”
“Klopp, like most neutrals, doesn’t seem to have a clue what his best midfield is. Gini Wijnaldum, Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Fabinho and Naby Keita have all been excellent at times this season, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is on his way back.
“But Henderson, Milner and Wijnaldum always looked like a weak trio against the power-houses of Thiargo and Javi Martinez. Henderson’s early injury was therefore a blessing in disguise, especially among the skipper-baiting Reds contingent on social media.
“Fabinho looked jittery from the off but grew into the game and was among Liverpool’s best players in the second half. Getting the midfield spot on will be crucial for the business end of the season.”
“Two-goal Sadio Mane helped Liverpool make it fantastic four English teams through to the Champions League quarter-finals last night.
“Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool joined Spurs, and the two Manchester clubs in tomorrow’s draw for the last eight after a convincing win against Bayern in the Allianz Arena.
“There was only one Reds blemish on an otherwise perfect night, when Andy Robertson was booked late on, which means he will miss the first leg of the quarter final.”
“Liverpool don’t so much surge into the quarter-finals, as soar there. That’s how easy this 3-1 win away to Bayern Munich eventually was. So much for this club representing something of a complex for Jurgen Klopp. By the end, Bayern were crumbling – having been initially torn apart by fine goals from Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk – in what looked real end-of-an-era stuff.
“It might also be the end of an era for the Champions League. Having occupied 15 of the 32 last-four places since 2011 and not allowed a semi-final without them since 2009, Bayern and Real Madrid are now out of the competition at the last-16 stage, replaced by the old 2004-09 status quo: the Premier League.
“Liverpool’s win made it a clean sweep for the English clubs in the Champions League, which should naturally bring a few tortured analogies about Brexit given the political events of the last week. Here, Liverpool only tortured Bayern, and the Premier League certainly tortured the Bundesliga. They won all three face-offs against German sides in the last 16, with this 3-1 making it 17-3 in total.
“The ease with which Liverpool eventually beat Bayern shouldn’t take from the class they displayed in actually doing so. They once again displayed they are such a serious side, and again potential winners, of the type Bayern used to be.”
“Mane: Produced a delightful touch and finish to score that all-important opening goal. Always looked like Liverpool’s most dangerous forward and sealed the win with late header. 9/10.
“Van Dijk: Towering header for Liverpool’s second. Earlier provided assist for Mane opener with pinpoint long-ball and kept Lewandowski quiet. 9/10.”
The Reds are next in action against Fulham in the Premier League on Sunday, before then jetting off for the international break.