Player ratings: Bayern Munich 1-3 Liverpool

Mane-celebrates-goal
I’ll start this ratings with the caveat that although last night was a great victory and a brilliant result, I actually didn’t think our performance was very good at all, which my ratings shall reflect. So, without further ado...

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Alisson (7) - A much quieter night for Alisson than anyone expected. Barely had a save to make but what did come his way, he dealt with comfortably and didn’t take any silly risks which made for a pleasant change. Blameless for the goal conceded.

TAA (7) - I spent the night flicking between shouting “Well done Trent” and “For f*** sake Trent”as his in-game inconsistencies continue. He does something brilliant and then immediately follows it with something really sloppy. He is growing as a player all the time however and you can see he no longer has any doubts he belongs at this level. Always positive with everything he does and dealt well with the threat of Ribéry and Coman. We really miss his athleticism in that position when he’s not playing.

Matip (7.5) - After some nervy looking passing in the opening stages, where he was guilty of giving the ball away a couple of times, he grew into the game and put in a really solid performance I thought. Really unlucky to have an own goal against his name, as there was nothing he could have done about it and the mistake was from his teammates, not him. Arguably in the best form of his Liverpool career, certainly since his first season. Long may it last.

Van Dijk (9) - Another monstrous display from Virgil, as he further cements his growing reputation as the best CB in the world. Dealt effortlessly with Lewandowski - despite the Pole’s constant diving, gamesmanship and general, well, cheating for want of a better word. Virgil picked out Mane with a lovely pass for the opener and got on the scoresheet himself with a dominant header from a corner - a goal eerily predicted by our resident prophet, Hawthorn. I did think he should have closed down Gnabry better in the build up to their goal though. Once he was passed Robbo, Van Dijk should have closed him down and tried to prevent the cross. The only criticism I can have however in another otherwise superb display.

Robbo (5) - Oh Robbo... I actually thought for the most part that Robbo had a decent enough game but there are pivotal moments in games and Cup runs that can define them, for good reasons or bad and Robbo could well have just been involved in two. Got away with the first, after he was fault for their goal as he lost the run of Gnabry. I think he tried to play him offside but he got it wrong and then with the pace of Gnabry, he was away. As I said above though, I did think Van Dijk could have done more to help him. That incident isn’t what he scored a 5 for though, as that kind of thing happens to all fullbacks from time to time. He’s scored a 5 for stupidly getting himself booked in the 90th minute, when the game was already won, meaning he’ll miss the next game. Life is full of learning experiences though and you could see it written all over his face at the final whistle. He’ll be a huge miss in the next game however. The thought of Messi up against Moreno is enough to keep you up at night.

Henderson (N/A) - Went off injured in the opening stages, after rolling his ankle. It’s hopefully nothing, as our skipper has been in fine form recently and we need all hands on deck for the run in.

Milner (6.5) - Scored an extra half point purely because he got an assist, as it was his corner that Van Dijk headed home. Other than that, I could just copy and paste the same thing for Milner and Gini. They seemed to do nothing all game but close spaces, which granted, they both did well. Sloppy on the ball though, as countless passes went astray, although this was something both teams were guilty of for large parts of a game fairly low on quality.

Wijnaldum (6) - Much like Milner above, closed down spaces really well but neither had any influence on the game whatsoever (Milner assist aside). This may well be on Klopp’s instruction but surely your centre midfielders should be able to influence a game more than simply denying the opposition space.

Salah (7.5) - Another much improvesd display from Salah and picked Mane out with a sublime cross for the killer third goal. Was very selfish however, when attempting to go for goal himself when he should have rolled in Mane, who was much better placed. Had a decent attempt at it though to be fair and arguably should have been awarded a penalty. Salah needs a goal though, you can see it’s playing on his mind as he’s becoming increasingly desperate to score. That’s one goal in his last nine games and none in his last six. If we’re to win anything this season, we badly need Salah to find his shooting boots again. I’m confident he will however, as his form is improving game by game.

Firmino (6.5) - Put in some shift did Bobby but was also guilty of giving the ball away umpteen times. His tireless runnning and tenacity means he always justifies his place however but he is capable of much more quality on the ball than he showed last night.

Mane (9.5) - Mane was head and shoulders the best player on the pitch for me. His first goal... God knows what Neuer was doing but the way Mane brought it down and then had the composure and awareness to turn, leaving the keeper stranded, and then dink it into the corner, was truly world class. Gave the Bayern defence a torrid time of it including a run where he demonstrated some scintillating footwork as he made easy work of skipping past the opposition defenders and he was threatening to run riot, up until they scored which changed the game. Rewarded for his display with a second goal and might have had a hat trick if Salah had passed to him when he was one on one with Neuer. Mane has carried our attack over this last period, he really has been excellent. Let’s hope he keeps this form up until the end of the season.

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Subs:

Fabinho (6) - I was surprised Fabinho didn’t start the game as he’s been very good recently but last night was not one of his better games. Granted, it can’t have been easy to come on unexpectedly after ten minutes, without a proper warm up etc. but was as guilty as anyone of sloppy passing and it nearly got us into trouble a couple of times. Showed once again however what an expert one on one tackler he is, with an expertly timed tackle on Coman in the second half, when he was running at full speed in our box. It’s definitely a bonus to have quality depth like Fabinho to come off the bench in such a big game.

Origi (6) - Played his part in the third goal. The size of him still surprises me when he comes on. The lad’s an absolute giant.

Lallana (N/A) - Ran around.

Klopp-watch (10) - Giving Klopp a ten as its difficult to do any other after a result like that. He must have loved beating his old enemy, even if he didn’t admit it in public. He was classy in victory as always though and he’ll be hoping the psychological boost from winning a game such as this, will set us up nicely for the final part of the season.

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Summary

So, as I said in my opening paragraph, a brilliant result and a famous victory... but... I actually thought we were terrible for large parts of the game. We literally couldn’t string three passes together for a while in the second half. The only saving grace was that the opposition were even worse! How bad were Bayern? I don’t think anyone saw that performance coming from them and I believe it signified the end of an era for Bayern, as they looked devoid of confidence and ideas, while seeming to be genuinely intimidated by us. That squad needs an overhaul.

Klopp was right in his post match interview however, this result will make the rest of Europe sit up and take notice. Last season’s beaten finalists are proving they’re no flash in the pan as we now make the quarters of the Champions League for successive seasons, defeating a European powerhouse in Bayern. while also keeping pace with City in the league. I can imagine a lot of Europe’s top talent fancying a bit of what we’re doing right now and it will be interesting to see who we target in the summer. For me, it’s a no brainier. That midfield needs work, not major surgery but definitely a new addition or two.

Anyway, that’s a different article for another day. Today, let’s just enjoy this win as it really is a massive one for the club. We will find out our opponent for the next round tomorrow. Fingers crossed for Porto. Don’t think they’d relish playing us again after what we did to them last season...

Onwards and Kloppwards, YNWA.
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