Liverpool and Bayern Munich performed out a tense and absorbing goalless draw after they started their round-of-16 commitments within the Champions League.
In a sport of valuable few possibilities, the closest both aspect got here to a breakthrough on Tuesday got here early on when Joel Matip’s blushes have been saved by Reds goalkeeper Alisson after the centre-back sliced a close-range clearance.
The perimeters meet once more at Allianz Area on March 14. Right here we study three key speaking factors to emerge from the conflict:
MANE’S INCONSISTENT FINISHING
Sadio Mane is the kind of the participant to make the extremely troublesome look improbably straightforward after which in a vexing twist, make the easy seem exhausting.
Liverpool had their possibilities at Anfield, notably within the first half, and Mane was responsible of lacking prime alternatives.
It’s a criticism which has been levelled on the Senegalese ahead for a lot of his profession, and it appears an odd factor to say of a participant who got here into this tie scoring in every of his final 4 appearances.
There have been two Mane misses which the Reds may nicely come to remorse. The primary was across the half-hour mark when a trademark Liverpool break free noticed Naby Keita work area to shoot.
His deflected effort bounced via to a touch onside Mane, sq. in entrance of aim, and as he spun to show the ball in the direction of the underside nook, his connection dragged the shot vast.
A minimal expectation was to hit the goal given the area and time he was afforded. The subsequent one, in his defence, was rather more troublesome as he was compelled to contort his physique and try a relatively lavish overhead kick after one other Keita strike was blocked. That effort was additionally nicely vast.
The 26-year-old is a participant with a gifted talent set, however composure has by no means actually been his most interesting trait and it’s one thing which if he improved, would see him compete for prime goalscorer awards.
Liverpool desperately wanted one from him on Tuesday and he didn’t ship. Scoring in Munich shall be no straightforward feat, however then Mane does appear to make it more durable for himself.
LIVERPOOL MIDFIELD DOES ITS JOB
It was one of many essential speaking factors mentioned right here earlier than this fixture and it in the end got here to fruition.
Liverpool’s management of the midfield was all the time going to dictate the state of the tie, however the unimaginable efforts of Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Keita went to waste due to these round them.
Certainly, Mane’s profligacy has already been mentioned and we’ll come on to defence as nicely. However make no mistake, the performances of these three can’t be neglected.
Henderson’s complete Liverpool profession has been encased with doubt, not from his managers it should be mentioned, however actually from the supporters.
What you possibly can’t deny, although, is that in residence fixtures in opposition to elite competitors, the Reds captain is an enormous affect.
The 28-year-old was in every single place on Tuesday, serving to to double up on electrical wingers Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry at any time when they tried to use area because the full-backs retreated into place.
Even with the shuttling throughout, he nonetheless managed to marshal area infield and fireplace fast balls out of the again. After which the 2 forward have been excellent at any time when they obtained the ball.
Keita’s first contact was so silky and his interchanging of play across the field was seamless.
Wijnaldum, working greater up the pitch, was once more wonderful. Nearly not possible to knock off the ball, his fixed twisting and turning dragged gamers out of place and he attacking with objective and guile.
A faultless efficiency from the center three, who may have one other big position to play within the second-leg.
INTENSITY BREEDS MISTAKES
One of many large discussions from this sport is simply how error-strewn each side have been. But, that owes to the ridiculous depth it was performed at.
Unhealthy selections led to unsuitable passes and wayward touches. The inaccurate choices have been usually taken and it was disproportionate quantity contemplating the standard on each side.
However neither staff was allowed time in possession. Each employed excessive presses to unsettle each other and the defences in notably actually struggled.
In the event you take a look at the primary half, Liverpool’s backline achieved a 76.6 % move success charge, down from the 90.2 % in opposition to Bournemouth on the weekend.
Bayern, too, additionally suffered with their 5 solely marginally higher with an 81.7-per-cent success charge, once more approach down on the 92 per cent they recorded at Augsburg.
That depth made for an enchanting watch, but it surely did additionally imply the standard was a lot decrease than we’d anticipate from two elite European sides. Each might want to enhance within the second leg.
Rattling. Gnabry is nice. Arsenal may use a participant along with his kind of creativity.
— Zito (@_Zeets) February 19, 2019
Contemplating Bayern Munich didn’t register a shot on the right track, choosing out certainly one of their attackers for reward would appear odd.
Nevertheless, Serge Gnabry was the standout. Not many wingers have precipitated left-back Andrew Robertson a whole lot of unease this season, however the former Arsenal man bought inside his head and mangled it with a show of trickery and direct working.
One piece of play specifically may have led to a aim. Early within the first half, the 23-year-old sumptuously introduced down an extended diagonal ball, feinted to his left, darted to the appropriate to go away Robertson bent off form after which fired the ball throughout aim.
Matip virtually diverted into his personal internet, just for Alisson to be in the appropriate spot to dam. Bayern’s ploy was apparent: to launch Gnabry as shortly as presumably and go away him one v one with Robertson.
The Germany worldwide was a continuing risk and that was additional evidenced within the second half when he elegantly moved in from his wide-right place to smack a left-footed strike simply over the crossbar.
Alisson was crushed by the tempo. Bayern’s greatest moments arrived after they have been in a position to launch Gnabry – it simply wasn’t fairly sufficient.
However contemplating the discuss for a very long time about this Bayern staff has been in regards to the lack of choices to exchange growing older wing males Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, it’s honest to say that on the large stage, Gnabry is doing his greatest to dispel that notion.