Solid and smart Bayern hold Liverpool at Anfield

Reuters/Carl Recine

Bayern Munich showed all their Champions League experience and quality organisation as they held Liverpool to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their last 16 match at Anfield on Tuesday.

The result leaves it all to play for in the second leg in Munich on March 13, although the German side will be without defender Joshua Kimmich who will be suspended after picking up a yellow card.

It is no accident that Bayern have reached the semi-finals of this competition in six of the last seven seasons and they showed their pragmatic calmness to subdue Liverpool’s normally lively front three.

Mohamed Salah, the man Liverpool look to for moments of inspiration, to create a goal out of nothing, had a night to forget with one of his poorest displays in this competition.

Liverpool simply could not find the fluency and rhythm that brings the best out of their forward line although they will be pleased, in the absence of their defensive rock Virgil van Dijk, to have kept out Bayern.

There were few clear-cut chances in the game although Liverpool created several half-openings in the first period.

The first was one of the best they managed — Jordan Henderson looking for Salah, who had snuck in behind Niklas Sule, but the Egyptian’s toe-poke at full stretch was straight at Manuel Neuer.

At the other end, their goalkeeper Alisson Becker had to be alert to keep out a mis-hit clearance from Joel Matip that hit him in the chest.

Kingsley Coman fired into the side-netting after a sloppy give away from Alisson but that was a rare sign of jitters from either defence.

Bayern were content to sit deep after the break and the closest Juergen Klopp’s side came in the second half was a diving header from Sadio Mane in the 86th minute which Neuer pushed around the post.

This was not a night that will go in the list of great European encounters at Anfield, a fact reflected in a rather flat atmosphere for much of the game, but Liverpool know they still have a chance to progress.

“You’re playing an experienced team. They’ve been here and done it for five or six years,” said left back Andy Robertson.

“We’ve kept a clean sheet, could’ve scored a couple of goals but the tie is well and truly alive. If we score there it’s crucial.”

REUTERS/Reporting by Simon Evans Editing by Christian Radnedge

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