Liverpool: 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 in a game of few chances and little drama.
But the result leaves it all to play for in the second leg in Munich on 13 March when the German side will be without defender Joshua Kimmich who will be suspended after picking up a yellow card.
Perhaps it was a case of both sides showing too much respect for the other — certainly both were wary of over-committing in attack — but for fans used to entertainment and drama on European nights at Anfield it was a let down.
“It is not the result or the game we dreamed of,” said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
“I can’t remember any chances for either side in the second half. It wasn’t a Champions League night from that point of view. From a result point of view, it’s OK.”
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.
“I can’t remember too many clubs who have avoided defeat and kept a clean sheet here,” said Bayern coach Niko Kovac.
“The fact that we managed to restrict them to very few chances shows that we played very well tactically as well as technically.”
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.
Key to that rearguard resilience was the performance from Brazilian midfielder Fabinho, who deputised well in the central-defensive role keeping Bayern’s scoring threat Robert Lewandowski quiet.
In midfield, Jordan Henderson delivered an excellent display, especially in the opening 45 minutes, when he broke up Bayern’s attempts to create and also contributed some drive to Liverpool’s forward thrusts.