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Not the end of an era
That game wasn’t exciting in the way Man Utd’s win over PSG was and it wasn’t emphatic in the Man City’s was. But holy balls they are Bayern Munich and they lost once at home all season and we never looked like letting the tie move in their favour.
Credit to Klopp first of all, I think most Liverpool fans sighed when we saw that midfield; the unspirational three. But actually they were exactly what we needed on the night; combative and relentlessly energetic which allowed the full backs to keep finding space. We played quite a few long balls through the channels and it seemed like a decent strategy as we looked very threatening.
Mane and Salah are a curious pair. They can both have days where their touch entirely deserts them and days when if they were a bit less selfish they’d get about a million assists. And on days like today they both managed a bit of that but combined it with a small number of utterly world class touches which made all the difference. The swivel for Mane’s first was brilliant and seemed to catch everyone off guard except for him. Salah’s cross for the third was a thing of absolute beauty on a night when he got virtually nothing else right.
The funny thing about Liverpool is that title runs have been at the end of “eras”. Benitez nearly won it when everyone knew Alonso would leave that summer. The issues with the owners at the time seemed to keep getting worse too. Brendan nearly won it out of the blue but everyone felt Suarez wouldn’t stay and you had to reasonably doubt Sturridge’s ability to stay fit and lead a line long term. His summer transfer business showed that elements of that run were more down to the players than masterful planning. To me it still feels like Klopp is building something. Our football is maturing but you can see in his eyes that even he feels it can improve. I’d love too see us lift a tin pot this summer but somehow I won’t feel much despair if we don’t. It feels to me like we’ll compete again next season.
A minute later…
F**k did I just send an email saying next year will be our year?
Liverpool have arrived
We were pretty average. Notice the irony? But I guess this is what it means to be the one of the best. You may not be at your best everytime but when there’s an opening, make it count. Mane with that predatory finish(Neuer was counting stars), Van Dijk you beauty. The pass from Salah for Mane’s second.
Oh football, the lessons you teach us in life.Having said that I haven’t seen such a poor first half from my team this season, simple passes seemed something too much to ask from our players. Robertson had an extraordinarily poor game (Getting booked in injury time!)
I think we’re finally becoming an elite side.
Mihir Nair. Mumbai. LFC. (Opportunities are presenting themselves…)
1) Well that was surprisingly easy. The first part of the game was as cagey as expected, but the onslaught never materialised, even when Bayern had nothing left to lose. The game was playing out with a whimper even before VVD’s winner.
2) I’dlike to say that’s because Liverpool controlled the game, but that’s patently not true; we were almost as sloppy as Bayern. Incredible to see so many loose passes under no pressure, more so that it was in Champions League knockout tie.
3) So the few moments of quality that were summoned ended up being enough to decide the game. Mane’s trap and spin leaving Neuer chasing his tail was all the more delightful for the backdrop of mediocrity it was set against. The rose that grew from a pot of manure, to borrow a phrase from the Simpsons.
4) I can only remember a single shot from Bayern either on or off target – a weak, drifting effort from Sanches late in the game that Allison was happy to ignore. Surely their worst performance in many years. Matt Stead is spot on – Bayern’s mentality was more damaging to them than any of Liverpool’s players.
5) OK, except Sadio. I love Sadio.
6) OK, also VVD, who had another of his ‘designated adult’ games (thanks to Barney Ronay for that one). Not even one of his better games, yet he completely shut down Lewandowski and scored the winner without even vaguely breaking sweat. A snip at £75m.
7) I was sceptical to say the least when the team sheet named Fabinho on the bench- after a (well documented here) slow start he is now by far our most important midfielder. It didn’t take him too long to get on, but he was strangely poor when he did. Maybe Klopp does know better than me after all.
8) And speaking of being strangely poor… Oh, Andy. 30 seconds left, effectively a three goal lead, and you’re on a yellow. That was Moreno-esque, and not the first time recently either (from memory he gave away the unnecessary freekicks which led to the Leicester and West Ham equalisers). If only we had some barely competent cover so he could have the occasional rest.
9) Hope Hendo is alright. He’ll be important in the next round. It wouldnt surprise me to see him drop back to right back with Trent shifting to the left.
10) For all the pre match talk of priorities and managed workloads, any indifference to the result disappears as soon as the first whistle goes. There really is nothing like a big European win. Looking forward to the next round…
11) …but hoping to f**k that we don’t get City. I can only see that playing massively into their hands in terms of the title race. We had them last year, it’s someone else’s turn.
12) Meanwhile, after Ronaldo put in his Ronaldo-est ever perfomance last night, all eyes were on Messi – and he didn’t disappoint, turning the Messi up to 11. Both performances perfectly encapsulate each player; where Ronaldo is relentless, Messi is hypnotic. Steel vs silk. Hat-trick vs two goals and two assists. Whichever your favourite, we’re lucky to have them both.
JG LFC (big fan of Peter Drury chuckling “…only him” as Messi takes the exact same penalty as Aguero did the day before)
I was watching some twitter memes and saw the birdman one where he asks several people to put some respeck on his name. It got me thinking, there is one team that people simply, don’t put some respeck on the name. Liverpool.
Do people realize , liverpool has more European titles than every other English team, and is tied for highest second in total to Real Madrid despite being banned during its prime years? Do people realize, it also has 18 league titles, if you take away Fergie, that’s 11 more than Man U, and they haven’t won in 30 years. It also has one of the best UCL nights grounds to visit in all of Europe. Most of these other grounds have no crowd engagement, it’s totally dull.
Despite all of this, Liverpool’s name still commands no respeck. Liverpool , just seriously went to Germany and shutdown/ shut up the best team in the land, it was barely a contest. Liverpool have been the only team to stand toe to toe with moneybags ManCity and the Pep revolution.
If UEFA don’t think Liverpool’s name deserves some onions, tomatoes, olives, garlic salt, sriracha sauce and some respeck on top, I dare them to matchup liverpool with any of the big hitters left. They should match them up with one of their golden boys, Barca being the most obvious, and see Salah/Mane destroy them.
Dave(Anyone but Juve, Ronaldo seems unbeatable when he is on one.),Somewhere
The big debate
Don’t even try looking past Big Virg!
Jimmy (Utd next please) Spain
That was quite a performance by Liverpool last night. Beating Bayern in their own backyard is one thing, but to do it so effectively is definitely worthy of high praise. Yes, Bayern were dreadful (I remember the commentator saying, around the 80th minute, that they’d had just one shot on target!), but that should take nothing away from the way Liverpool went about their business.
A word on Sadio Mane: what a player! Imagine if he were an even more efficient finisher than he already is. He typically seems to need a couple of chances before scoring, but he really has got the lot. I’d even stick my neck out and say that he’s the more effective attacker than Salah, though admittedly I don’t watch Liverpool games very often.
Speaking of players I don’t watch very often, is Neuer now safely out of the “Best Keeper in the World” debate? He’s apparently been quite poor all season, and that seemed to continue last night. That error for the first goal was truly atrocious. With a new breed of younger, better keepers like Ederson and Alisson coming up in recent seasons, and the continued excellence of De Gea and Oblak, he’s probably just about squeaking into the top 5 right now.
DJ, MUFC India
It speaks volumes that we’ve just beaten Bayern Munich 3-1 away from home in the last 16, and the only thing I can think about is that Robbo yellow card. That’s how important he is to our team (or maybe it’s just the looming threat of Milner — or God forbid, Moreno — that makes it seem like a bigger loss than it is). But truly he is one of the lynchpins of this team.
Still, what were you thinking lad? That was one of the daftest challenges I’ve ever seen at that stage in a game.
Anyway, it’ll be alright. Because having Virgil Van Dijk in the team always makes it feel like your big brother is around to simply bully the opposition into submission whenever things get out of hand.
That Mane fella certainly ain’t bad either. Get in lads!
Ryan C, LFC
All on you, Arsenal
See, even the Premier League thinks Brexit is a dumb idea. Though I still wouldn’t be surprised to see Arsenal make a Farage of it…
Gareth Dix, Sutton
Cry me a river, Trent
Trent Alexander-Arnold can’t cross the ball very well. So why, oh why, is he taking corners when he repeatedly can’t clear the first man in the way of his cross…
Just Matip of the iceberg
When is Joe Gomez back?
Matip is going to send me to an early grave
Jur gonna go far
Klopp gonna land the Munich job after that audition….
So Messi decided to do that yesterday, and show everybody what they knew deep inside…that he is pretty much still the best.
And that is the difference between Messi and Ronaldo. All Ronaldo’s three goals were laid to him on a platter. If there is no one to lay the assist, he wouldn’t score as much goals.
Messi is both a goal scorer AND a creator. He scores majority of the team’s goals and still have time to lay some for his team mates. And who is the first in the Golden boot race again? Yeah that’s right…Messi. He is also top for assists.
Messi is just so good that if he does something extraordinary, like yesterday, we take it as the norm. We all expect him to score a hat trick because he is Messi…thats what he is supposed to do. But Ronaldo scores a hat trick and his fanboys make our ears bleed.
Ronaldo is a beast. I’d be a fool if I say he is not one of the greatest players to play the game. But Messi is just something else.
Nelson (the word Messi should be an adjective to describe what can’t be explained) Lagos, Nigeria
Please say I’m not the only one who’s had to google ‘GOAT’ in the last couple of days?! I’m seriously out of touch if so.
For the record, my son remains firm in his stance that Messi is.
JazGooner (Henry is, everyone knows this)
It’s been fashionable over the past few years to claim the English top flight was the most entertaining but not the highest quality. I would humbly suggest the last two weeks in the Champions League say the first point is still true, but the second is now rubbish.
And, anyone claiming a side that don’t win the Premier League this year are bottlers should have a long, hard look at themselves.
David (Are Barcelona the draw will all want now?) Almond. THFC
I’m not a Liverpool fan, don’t like their fans or Klopp but fair play for that result. The English teams are doing great this year and it all ties in well with the surge in English football in general. Surely this is our time to win back the CL and soon an international cup!?
May the best English team (or Spurs) win it.
Dave B, Essex (aka Billywhizz in comments)
Before the game…
Seeing the lineup against Bayern today, I am 1) Disappointed but more than that I am 2)concerned.
When Klopp took hold of Liverpool, we played a brand of football where everyone was tentative and afraid to take risks. Klopp Changes all that in his debut season(Man United, Villarreal and destruction of Man City after we had lost the League Cup final). The theme continued to the next year and then the next till this season. Man City at home? A draw is all we aimed for. Napoli away? Draw. Everton away? Draw.
Now Klopp will always have his say on this team and he has earned every bit of it. However, I hope he doesn’t trade Boldness for “Pragmatism”. This season and especially big games, our setup has been more on the defensive shape and I have started to feel that maybe the pressure of English football, the demands by the mainstream media, his earlier words and pundits has got to him.
As a fan of Klopp and a Red for life, I hope he shrugs it off and goes full throttle again.
The title may or may not be ours, but can we at least play in a way that makes it hell lot fun like years gone by?
Vikas, LFC, India(Milner is getting that contract extension)
After the game…
I look darn silly, don’t I now?
Thanks and Regards,
Vikas, LFC, India
Your ideal draw
If we can agree with Barcelona , City , Juventus and Liverpool as the first 4 favourites and the other 4 the outsiders , would it be a travesty or a UEFA ‘con’ if both City / Liverpool got Spurs and United ? i.e. only 2 english teams could go through .
I remember 3 english teams in a handful of semi finals yet an english team still didn´t win the thing .
So what do we wish for on Friday ? Well Ajax versus Barcelona would be a monstrously lovely tie . United versus Liverpool would be historic . Just I´d like for Spurs to have a chance to get Porto for example and not City or Juve .
Meanwhile, pick an all time greats Saints eleven starting with Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk ! then Shilton , Mick Mills , Bale , Morgan , Lovren , Dusan Tadic , Shearer, Keegan , Mick Channon …Not bad for the footballing backwater like Hampshire .
Peter (see you in Madrid for the final ) . Andalucia
No Real = better CL
– I’m not going to go all PFM and used the phrase “best league in the world” but you have to agree after 4 English teams have reached the quarters the 1st time ever a league has achieved this that they are in a good moment . This is all a testament to having a good top six as each oen has pushed the others to greater heights
– It’s been coming for a few years really ever since we woke up and saw Pochettino ,Guardiola,Conte etc in charge simultaneously at the big guns , when you look at the state of the rest of the hierarchy this particular cycle could last a while.
Barca and Juve are keeping pace due to two living (but ageing) legends ,Madrid and Bayerns seem to be at the start of new cycles and need to buy new players and get their structure right , PSG maybe need a few more ingredients including belief and discipline , Ajax could get scavenged and the 2 Milan teams are still at the beginning of truly recovering and will probably just be happy to qualify for a few years this could become the norm like the end of the noughties and the early eighties .
– There is a bit of bias here but the best thing about this year’s champions league is no real madrid ,There isn’ t a sense of inevitability each and every team has a reason to believe they can win in the most open champions league race in years.Just think finishing 4th might realistically still not guarantee spurs or man u qualification even if 5 teams
– A bit late but I thought I’d throw my 2 cents on Fergie’s influence, I can’t see why his presence should be seen as a bad thing .Teams with history keep those who made them successful around in some capacity , look at Zidane ,the managers (including Pep ) at Barca ,Bayern’s heirachy Maldini ,Zanetti and Van Der Sar in high positions at their various clubs
It’ ironic to say a man who embraced evolution during his time in charge is the main impediment against future development if anything the last few years have shown hat we need to look at our play and choose how to evolve from there ,dull as dishwater football just did not work all future managers don’t have to be ex Utd men but the way the football is played needs to be taken into account.
Some strange journalism at your esteemed website today. First of all you write an article full of bullsh*t about Jack Grealish being good and worthy of a move to a top 6 premier league club. Anyone who has followed Villa at all this season (even from a distance) knows he’s rubbish…
Then in your article about premier league players failing on loan you totally forgot about Tammy Abraham, who has seen his value plummet in an awful spell at Villa park. Chelsea will be lucky if they can get half a million from Villa for him.
Rob, of Sweden (you see what I am trying to do here?)