Milner hails ‘on fire’ Mane as Liverpool march on in Europe

Reuters/Andrew Boyers

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 Manchester City, 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.

REUTERS/Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, Editing by Simon Jennings

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