Jürgen Klopp says Liverpool are back on the map after win over Bayern Munich – The Guardian

Jürgen Klopp says Liverpool are back on the map after win over Bayern Munich - The Guardian

Bayern Munich become third Bundesliga side to be dumped out of Champions League

• We are back on the international landscape as a club• Jordan Henderson could miss Fulham game with ankle injury

Liverpool confirmed there will be four English clubs in the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 2009 with a comfortable and clinical defeat of the German champions and Bundesliga leaders. Sadio Mané scored twice in a superb individual display while the equally impressive Virgil van Dijk also scored in Liverpools first European away win of the season, and arguably their finest under Klopp. The manager said victory at one of European footballs powerhouses, following on from last seasons appearance in the Champions League final, confirmed Liverpools place among the elite in the game.

Read more Scoring three goals here is massive and a big step for us, a big, big step, the former Borussia Dortmund manager said. We will see what we can do with it but it is a fantastic sign. We set a mark for LFC tonight that we are back on the international landscape as a football club. I am really happy about the result and the fact that we are through. I knew we had a chance but I didnt expect it would happen, but the boys made it happen and it was really brilliant.

How Bayerns hated rivals gave Liverpool a CL helping hand

This is important for where we want to get to. There are some places in world football that whatever team comes here – Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona – they wouldnt expect to win it. They know its a tough place to come. This club always has outstandingly strong football teams but we kept them away from our goal as well as possible. There were not too many difficult situations in and around our box and that is a massive sign.

They summarise the game with an anecdote about Oliver Bierhoff, the legendary former striker who now serves as general manager of the German national team. At the start of the game he was pictured in the stands with a Bayern scarf wrapped around his neck. By the time Liverpool were 3-1 ahead, he had binned it off.

It is not about playing free-flowing football because that is not possible against a side of this quality, you have to find different ways and we found them. That makes me really proud and happy because I think this club deserves recognition and awareness again. We are back – thats good, we have a lot to learn but we are back. We are back. There is no doubt we are back again.

Over at Die Welt, the prognosis is similar, with their writer noting that: “The English clubs prove this season that they are far ahead.” They acknowledge that Munich deserved to go out, putting them no longer among “the absolute elite of Europe”, now requiring the “need to change fundamentally”.

Read more Liverpool suffered an early setback when the captain, Jordan Henderson, limped off with an ankle injury that is set to rule him out of the Premier League trip to Fulham on Sunday. Andy Robertson also picked up a booking in stoppage time that means he will miss the first leg of the quarter-finals but they were the only blemishes on an otherwise impeccable night for Klopps team.

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He said: I see it like all the boys see it in dressing room and everybody who sees it with us, it is a big night. The only shadow is Hendo twisting his ankle, but it is Hendo so hopefully not too serious. It is always a bad sign when you have to change early, you dont want that in the middle of the park. We wanted fresh legs, not to rest Fabinho but to bring in fresh legs. We wanted to play more football than we did in first half, and we changed and did that in the second half much better.

In the first half we scored an outstanding goal – wow – and by half-time time everybody knew it would not be easy for Munich, and that is important information for the opponent after they were happy with a 0-0 at Anfield. You have to try and impress the other team and we did that. I was really happy with how strong the second half was, how mature it was, how much football we played. Bayern has so much quality, unbelievable, and we impressed them and thats a massive thing.

Neuers mistake wasnt an isolated one. Bayern were dreadful and, when tested against truly top opposition, they came up short all across the pitch. Liverpool, even some way off their best on this bitterly cold night in Munich, exposed Bayern as a shadow of their former selves. A side in dire need of an overhaul, a side short on inspiration.

Klopp insisted he took no extra satisfaction from Liverpools victory in eliminating his former Bundesliga rivals from the Champions League. I am not like this. Its not sweeter for me because its Bayern. It doesnt bring back better results from the time when we lost. I wanted to win for Liverpool, not to beat Bayern. Its just a good moment for Liverpool and lets enjoy that.

Rafinha had been eased out of contention a little too easily and there were other Bayern players who could have reacted sooner, but it was ultimately a blunder that handed Liverpool the crucial initiative on their way to a fully deserved 3-1 victory. One which ended Bayerns Champions League hopes at this stage for the first time since 2011.

There was a time when the sight of Manuel Neuer charging out of his goal was a source of relief for Bayern Munich fans. In his prime, Neuer would never misread the situation. 

“I cant compare myself with Neuer,” he said. “He is one of the best in the last 10 years, maybe he is the best one. He has won everything and Im just starting. He is a reference for me and is a great guy as well. I have played against him, playing against him is a dream come true. I cant compare myself to him.”

He would always get to the ball first. Neuer is no longer in his prime. As he lumbered out towards Sadio Mane on Wednesday evening, the Bayern fans feared the worst. 

In the 27th minute, Neuer was all at sea. Wandering off his line with no real purpose allowed Mane to swivel and loft the ball into the empty net. Neuer absolved himself of blame in a post-match interview, indicating that Manes skill rather than his rash decision was the reason for the goal.

Ahead of the game, Neuer had declared that it was about time Bayern claimed a major scalp in the Champions League. In reality, defeat to Liverpool proved that he and his team are no longer good enough to do so.

The fact is that German football is now only second-rate, grumbled the editorial in Germanys biggest newspaper, Bild, this morning.

It certainly looks that way. Bayerns exit crowned a miserable trilogy of defeats for German sides, all of whom have been outclassed and eliminated by Premier League opponents in the last-16. Now, for the first time since 2006, there will be no Bundesliga team in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Neither the Bundesliga title nor progression in the Champions League were primary aims for the Black and Yellows this season but it speaks volumes about the immediate impact of Lucien Favre and the signings made by a cleverly restructured club hierarchy that both suddenly appeared possible.

With its fan ownership model and internal competitiveness, the Bundesliga has always suffered from the fact that it has a lot of good teams but no super clubs. Bayern were always the exception that proved the rule, but now they too appear to have dropped out of Europes elite, missing out on the quarter-finals for the first time since 2011.

Bayern Munichs 3-1 defeat at home to Liverpool on Wednesday night made it three out of three for English sides in their knockout ties with German opposition this season, after Tottenham Hotspur made light work of Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City humiliated Schalke.

At the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night, there was the unmistakable sense that this was the end of an era. The brilliant generation of German players who rose at the turn of the decade is finally over the hill.

German football has endured a chastening month but, if there was ever to be a year in which no Bundesliga team qualified for the quarterfinals of the Champions League, then this was quite logically going to be it. The effects of this “Dexit” wont be as permanent.

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