Liverpool have only failed to score in four games this season, and three of them have been in Europe. Short-term it means they are going to have to do it the hard way when these teams next meet, on March 13. As a pattern of results, it suggests there is something still to be said for those crafty, resilient defenders, that populate this tournament like man traps.
Bayern Munich are not the quickest at the back, but they know the course and distance and it showed. This is a club that has missed two Champions League semi-finals since 2010; they’ve had more than a few nights like this and were rarely alarmed. They came, they saw, they did a job.
It was a throwback of a game, after Liverpool’s high octane encounters last season. Munich kept a full strength forward line at bay and frustrated the home crowd into a state of tetchiness.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson 6; Alexander-Arnold 6.5, Matip 6, Fabinho 7, Robertson 7; Wijnaldum 7, Henderson 7.5, Keita 7 (Milner 76); Salah 6.5, Firmino 6 (Origi 76), Mane 7
Unused subs: Mignolet, Moreno, Shaqiri, Lallana, Sturridge
Booking: Henderson 57
Manager: Jurgen Klopp 7
Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1): Neuer 7; Kimmich 6, Sule 7, Hummels 7, Alaba 7; Thiago 7, Martinez 7; Gnabry 8, James 6 (Sanches 88), Coman 7 (Ribery 80); Lewandowski 6
Unused subs: Ulreich, Mai, Shabani, Rafinha, Davies
Booking: Kimmich 27
Manager: Niko Kovac 7
Referee: Paolo Valeri 7
Anfield was its usual noisy self to begin with, but long before the end there was a sense of frustration, that their magic trio were being handled. Liverpool had decent possession and good chances and were the better team – but Roberto Firmino was replaced by Divock Origi with 15 minutes remaining, a sure sign the best laid plans were going awry.
They could have nicked it, had Manuel Neuer not made a save from Sadio Mane at the near post with four minutes to go, but Liverpool didn’t have a whole lot to show for rather a significant shift.
It is far from a lost cause, mind. Liverpool usually score and, every time they do in the return leg, Munich will have to match it with double. Even a goalless draw gives the visitors a puncher’s chance on penalties, and Virgil van Dijk will be back, too – although there was little wrong with Liverpool’s marshalling of Robert Lewandowski in his absence.