Liverpool and Bayern play out bore draw

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Liverpool 0-0 Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich travel back to Germany with a valuable 0-0 draw in a match that failed to live up to the expectations. Liverpool dominated much of the game in an attacking sense but the Germans held off the likes of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, with a slice of fortune alongside a determined defensive display. But neither side could find a breakthrough to gain a significant advantage in the tie.

Roberto Firmino continued his trend of starting every European game under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, spearheading the attack alongside Mane and Salah. Fabinho was chosen to replace the suspended Virgil Van Dijk in central defence as the Brazilian lined up alongside Joel Matip to combat the threat of Robert Lewandowski.

Lewandowski was chosen as the focal point of the Bayern Munich attack. The Polish striker, the top scorer in the Champions League this season with eight goals, was hoping to score for the fifth consecutive game in the competition, a feat he has never yet achieved. Manuel Neuer started in goal whilst the defence, which has struggled in recent weeks, comprised of Joshua Kimmich, Mats Hummels, Niklas Sule and David Alaba.

The opening minutes showed that neither team were going to change their style to suit the opposition. Both Jurgen Klopp and Niko Kovac were determined to build from the back, with Neuer and Alisson both seeing plenty of the ball.

The first big chance to open the scoring fell to Salah, a beautifully weighted pass over the Bayern defence from Jordan Henderson presented Salah with a volleyed opportunity, but Neuer read it well to make the save. That sparked Bayern into life who immediately ventured to the other end of the pitch and came close to scoring on multiple occasions, with vital blocks from Alisson and Naby Keita keeping the score at 0-0.

Sadio Mane was on the end of a counter attack soon after but lashed his left footed effort just wide. Alisson then showed too much of the ball to Lewandowski who forced a mistake from the keeper, but a combination of James Rodriguez and Kingsley Coman failed to capitalise.

The high octane start to the game dwindled as the 30 minute mark approached, both sides failed to find the final ball as the midfield battle raged on. But neither side could take total control of the game. Mane found himself again presented with a key chance. Keita’s shot was deflected into the Senegal internationals path, for his swivel and attempted finish to be dragged wide of the post.

Some tidy work on the edge of the area between Firmino and Salah presented Matip with a glorious opportunity to put Liverpool ahead on the 40 minute mark, but the Cameroonian failed to hit the target from six yards out. Liverpool continued to dominate the end of the first half, creating a flurry of chances, but failed to hit the back of the Bayern net.

The second half started similarly to the first, both sides creating opportunities to open the scoring in quick succession, but failing to find any form of quality in front of goal. Salah found himself with an opportunity from a tight angle, but his right foot eluded him as he sliced the ball wide.

Serge Gnabry proved to be the threat going forward for Bayern Munich early in the second half. The former Arsenal winger surged forward and attacked the Liverpool defence with pace, forcing Matip and Fabinho onto the back foot. The German let fly from 30 yards which Alisson had to make sure cleared the crossbar.

Jurgen Klopp blinked first on the touchline, as he hauled Roberto Firmino and Naby Keita off, to be replaced by Divock Origi and James Milner as they entered the final 15 minutes of the first leg. Kovac reacted five minutes later, replacing the lively Coman with the veteran Franck Ribery on the left wing.

Sadio Mane again came close, as the dying minutes approached he glanced a header towards goals, but Neuer reacted magnificently to maintain his clean sheet thus far.

Four minutes of injury time were added, as Kovac looked to secure a valuable goalless draw in this leg, replacing Serge Gnabry with Brazilian defender Rafinha.

The return leg in Munich is finely poised at 0-0, in what we hope to be a display of attacking football as both sides need a goal to progress. Klopp will be frustrated his side could not take advantage of the chances that fell to them, with Mane the main culprit throughout the game. Both sides will hope to be in more clinical mood when they meet again, in just under a months time.

 

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