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Liverpool are back in business: Klopp

March 14, 2019 11:59 IST

'It's a big step for us. We have set a mark that this wonderful club is really at the top of the landscape of European football'

Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring their first goal against Bayern Munich in Liverpool at Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, on Wednesday

IMAGE: Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring their first goal against Bayern Munich in Liverpool at Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, on Wednesday. Photograph: Michael Dalder/Reuters

Liverpool showed they are back as one of European football's powerhouses after dispatching Bayern Munich 3-1 in the German champions' back yard on Wednesday, manager Juergen Klopp said.

Liverpool, five-times European champions and last season's Champions League runners-up, eased past the Bavarians and into the quarter-finals with two goals from Sadio Mane and one from Virgil van Dijk after a goalless first leg at Anfield.

In a dominant performance, Liverpool shrugged off an early ankle injury to captain Jordan Henderson and kept their cool after Bayern's equaliser through Joel Matip's own goal late in the first half.

 

Liverpool then scored with headers from Van Dijk in the 69th minute and Mane in the 84th to book their spot in the last eight.

"It is an important (win) for different reasons. Important money-wise but also confidence-wise," Klopp told reporters.

"Liverpool's self-awareness now must be 'we are back. We are back on the landscape. Back in big football'.

"That was part of the plan when we started the project," Klopp said. "We still have space for improvement but beating Bayern here is a big one."

Liverpool, who have slipped behind Manchester City in the Premier League title race in recent weeks, had lost all their away games in the Champions League competition this season prior to Wednesday.

Yet their victory saw them join Manchester City and Manchester United as well as Tottenham Hotspur in the last eight while Germany will be without a quarter-finalist for the first time in 11 years.

"We scored a wonderful goal in the first half, outstanding," Klopp said.

"We conceded one, but everyone could see it was possible (for us to win). The second half I was really happy by how mature the performance was, how strong we looked, how good we defended.

"It's a big step for us. We have set a mark that this wonderful club is really at the top of the landscape of European football."

"I am really proud of the boys because it is a massive achievement. We are on a good way and I like what the boys did tonight."

Milner hails 'on fire' Mane as Liverpool march on in Europe

Sadio Mane displayed 'ridiculous' skill while scoring Liverpool's first goal in their 3-1 win at Bayern Munich on Wednesday to help the Premier League club ease into the Champions League quarter-finals, team mate James Milner said.

Mane controlled a Virgil van Dijk long ball with a sublime touch that took Rafinha out of the equation and left on-rushing keeper Manuel Neuer stranded, before delicately chipping the ball over Mats Hummels and Niklas Suele and into the net.

The Senegal international also headed in Liverpool's third of the night for his 10th goal in as many games in all competitions for the Merseyside club.

"Sadio is on fire. The first goal was ridiculous really, how he finished it off, the calmness and the finish," Milner told reporters. "Hopefully that continues for the rest of the season."

With Mohamed Salah struggling to replicate his goal-scoring feats of last season, Mane has stepped up a gear.

The Senegalese's 18th and 19th goals of the season helped Liverpool join ManchesterCity, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in the quarter-finals, the first time since 2009 that four English teams have reached this stage of the competition.

Bayern, who had reached the Champions League semi-finals in six of the last seven seasons and last failed to reach the quarter-finals in 2011, did not unduly trouble Liverpool who had Van Dijk back in defence following a suspension.

"I thought it was a good performance away from home in Europe against a good team," Milner added. "It's never easy, they're going to have spells on top. We didn't play our best but it's about getting a result.

"We defended pretty well, didn't give them too much, and the front three (of Mane, Salah and Roberto Firmino) were outstanding again."

Liverpool will discover their quarter-final opponents when the draw is held in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday.

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