Teams from the English Premier League make up half of the Champions League quarter-finalists after Liverpool beat Bayern Munich in the Allianz Arena. Barcelona also makes the cut after beating Lyon at the Nou Camp.
For the first time in a decade, English Premier League (EPL) clubs make up half of the quarter-final madness after Liverpool marched in and out of the Allianz Arena as a Titan amongst giants.
From the moment the Champions League anthem screamed around the unforgiving home of the bastions of German power and precision, Liverpool looked like a lion’s claw amongst pigeon feet.
Jürgen Klopp said that he could watch Sadio Mané’s opener 500-times such was the technical brilliance in which the Senegalese international manufactured the all-important first goal.
With the ball at the feet of Virgil van Dijk deep in the Liverpool half there seemed no fear until the Dutchman sent Mané racing towards the edge of the Bayern box. Manuel Neuer, heralded as the gatekeeper for the new generation of sweeper-keepers, rushed out of his goal to meet the Liverpool #10, but was made to look like a chump as Mané brought the ball down from the sky with a deft touch, spun past the keeper with an even more delightful right-footed twist and then floated the ball into the Bayern net.
Liverpool could have gone two up ten minutes later when Mané released Andy Robertson down the left only for the Scot to smash his shot into the frame of Neuer at the near post.
Four minutes later, and Bayern was level.
Serge Gnabry broke the Liverpool offside trap and Robertson’s muscle to square for Robert Lewandowski standing on the goal line only for Joël Matip to scoop the ball into his own net.
Bayern went into the second half with hope, but Liverpool cut the neck off it when on 68-minutes van Dijk rose higher than anyone to connect with a James Milner corner to power Liverpool into a 2-1 lead.
With the first leg goalless, Bayern needed a brace.
It didn’t come, and with six minutes remaining of normal time, Mo Salah found space on the right-hand side of the penalty area before chipping a delightful ball into the box with the outside of his left peg, and there was Mané to head home the winner from six yards.
Liverpool joins Spurs and both Manchester clubs in the quarter-final draw taking place on Friday.
Joining them in the bag is the second favourite Barcelona after they breezed past Lyon 5-1 at the Nou Camp, winning 5-1 on aggregate after the French had held them to a goalless draw in the first leg. Lionel Messi (2), Philippe Coutinho, Gerard Piqué and Ousmane Dembélé sealing the win. The only blot on the copybook for Barcelona was a hamstring injury to Dembélé that will sideline the World Cup winner for at least a month.
Round of 16 Results
Real Madrid 1 v 4 Ajax (3-5 agg)
Dortmund 0 v 1 Spurs (0-4 agg)
Porto 3 v 1 Roma (4-3 agg)
PSG 1 v 3 Man Utd (3-3 agg, Utd win on AG)
Man City 7 v 0 Schalke 04 (10-2 agg)
Juventus 3 v 0 Atlético Madrid (3-2 agg)
Bayern 1 v 3 Liverpool (1-3 agg)
Barcelona 5 v 1 Lyon (5-1 agg)
Champions League Odds
Man City 9/4
Man Utd 12/1