Liverpool vs Bayern Munich. UEFA Champions League First Knockout Round.
Wednesday 20 February 2019 07:00, UK
Jurgen Klopp failed to get one over on former foe Bayern Munich as Liverpool were held to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie at Anfield.
Liverpool, whose makeshift defence looked shaky early on, spurned a host of chances in the first half to break the deadlock, with Sadio Mane the biggest culprit, unable to find the target from two efforts in quick succession.
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After the break, Liverpool retreated into their half much more. Bayern created openings of their own, with former Arsenal player Serge Gnabry firing their best effort over just before the hour mark.
The match, in truth, petered out, with Liverpool perhaps with one eye on the Super Sunday clash with Manchester United, live on Sky Sports. However, Liverpool held on to that vital clean sheet ahead of the return leg in Munich in three weeks' time, as Klopp failed to gain some form of revenge for his Borussia Dortmund side's 2013 Champions League final defeat at the hands of Bayern.
Liverpool: Alisson (6), Robertson (6), Matip (5), Alexander-Arnold (6) Henderson (7), Wijnaldum (5), Keita (6), Fabinho (7), Salah (6), Mane (6), Firmino (5).
Subs: Milner (6), Origi (6).
Bayern Munich: Neuer (6), Kimmich (6), Sule (6), Hummels (6), Alaba (6), Thiago (5), Martinez (5), Rodriguez (5), Gnabry (6), Coman (6), Lewandowski (4).
Subs: Ribery (6), Rafinha (N/A), Sanches (N/A).
Man of the match: Jordan Henderson
Liverpool started well, with Mohamed Salah picked out by a perfect lofted pass from Jordan Henderson, but the team's top goalscorer failed to really test Manuel Neuer in the away goal.
Then Liverpool got out of jail after Gnabry skipped past his man all too easily before firing a low cross into the middle, Joel Matip tried to clear, but instead diverted the ball towards his own goal, only for Alisson to block.
Liverpool continued to look shaky with Kinglsey Coman then hammering the ball into the side netting after Alisson had put Matip in trouble with a poor pass. Bayern then failed to clear their lines themselves, with Trent Alexander-Arnold crossing for Salah, who could only head wide at the back post.
Jurgen Klopp made two changes from the side that beat Bournemouth 3-0 10 days ago. James Milner dropped to the bench with Virgil van Dijk also sidelined due to suspension.. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Henderson came into the side, with Fabinho dropping in to partner Joel Matip in defence, as was expected before the game. Just the one change for Bayern after their 3-2 win against Augsburg on Friday, as Leon Goretzka is replaces Javi Martinez.
The chance of the half fell to Sadio Mane in the 32nd minute after Niklas Sule had charged down Naby Keita's strike, but Mane could only scuff wide with the goal at his mercy, before then acrobatically firing wide from another good position.
The pace of the game slowed somewhat after the break, with chances less plentiful. Gnabry actually had the first meaningful strike of the half just before the hour mark, but his effort drifted over the top.
Klopp switched it up and introduced James Milner and Divock Origi but it was Mane who had their last chance to snatch all three points, with his header saved smartly by Neuer late on.
The Liverpool skipper covered every blade of grass for the cause, and helped wrestle control from a very talented Bayern midfield. His pass early on for Salah was right out of the top drawer, but it was his ability to win possession - no Liverpool player won the ball back more - and disrupt the Bayern backline that earns him the award.
Up next for Liverpool is the mouthwatering clash with United at Old Trafford on Sunday, live on Sky Sports. Bayern welcome Hertha Berlin to Bavaria on Saturday.