Thursday, March 14, 2019 7:39 am
Sadio Mane scored twice to hand Liverpool a 3-1 UEFA Champions League victory at Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
The 2017/2018 finalists nullified their German opponents with a dominant performance that sent them through to the last eight.
After the last 16 first leg ended goalless at Anfield, five-times European champions Liverpool took control in Munich.
They dominated the game to become the fourth English team into the last eight with their first away win in Europe this season.
What had the potential to be a thrilling encounter turned into a scrappy affair with both teams making mistakes in possession.
But Bayern Munich were prevented from applying sustained pressure and were picked off at key moments.
Mane opened the scoring, pouncing on a needless charge out of his goal by Manuel Neuer in his 100th UEFA Champions League appearance.
The Senegalese rounded the Bayern Munich goalkeeper with a superb turn before chipping his finish into the empty net in the 26th minute.
The German champions levelled 13 minutes later against the run of play.
That was when winger Serge Gnabry beat his marker and his cutback was turned into the goal by Liverpool defender Joel Matip.
Centre back Virgil van Dijk, who had missed the first leg last month, killed off any German hopes of a comeback.
He rose high to head home in the 69th minute, before Mane headed in his second in the 84th minute.
“We knew it would be very tough,” Van Dijk told reporters. “It was unlucky to get the equaliser but at the end we did the job. Good work.”
Last season’s runners-up Liverpool completed a full house of English teams in the last eight.
This is the first time this has happened since the 2008/2009 season, with Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Manchester City already through.
Bayern knew they had to be more adventurous than they had been at Anfield, but they were suffocated by Liverpool’s intense pressing in the first half.
The Reds, beaten by Real Madrid in last season’s final, suffered an early blow when captain Jordan Henderson hobbled off with an ankle injury.
Mane’s goal gave them the edge.
But instead of adding to their lead when they had the upper hand, Matip’s own goal let Bayern Munich back into the game against the run of play.
The Bavarians, who had reached the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals or better in each of the last seven seasons, needed a second goal.
This was important as Liverpool were heading through on the away goals rule.
Liverpool, however, kept up the pressure and were rewarded when Dutchman Van Dijk grabbed his third goal in his last four appearances in all competitions.
“Both teams were cautious but the second goal took the wind out of our sails,” said defender Masts Hummels.
“Before that it was very tight. But after the 2-1 we just could not turn it around.”
Mane completed a memorable win with a well-timed header after a delightful lofted pass from Mohamed Salah.
Liverpool have now stretched their unbeaten run in UEFA Champions League last 16 matches to eight following a 1-0 loss at home to FC Barcelona in 2007.(Reuters/NAN)