Liverpool’s undermanned defence held out for a precious clean sheet but Bayern Munich will also be confident of progress to the Champions League quarter-finals after a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their last 16 tie at Anfield on Tuesday.
Liverpool’s goalless Champions League last-16 first-leg draw against Bayern Munich is “not a dream result but a good one”, says manager Jurgen Klopp.
The Reds will travel to the Allianz Arena on 13 March knowing a score draw will take them into the quarter-finals on away goals.Only Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane managed shots on target for Liverpool.
“I’m not over the moon but I’m completely OK with the game,” said Klopp.
“We made life more difficult with the last pass today – about 10 or 12 times a promising situation [fizzled out]. We can play better. We should play better,”He added.
“In the first half we had the bigger chances. 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.”
Liverpool named Joel Matip and Fabinho in a makeshift central defence, with Virgil van Dijk suspended and Dejan Lovren injured.
German Klopp told BT Sport: “It was a clean sheet without the big man (Van Dijk). A lot of people wouldn’t have expected that.
“The defending was good. A lot of things were really good.
“The positive is the result is OK, the best draw we can get. Yes, we can play better; we should play better.
“The tie is not over – we said that. We had to create the basis tonight that we can use in the second leg.
Sadio Mane wasted the best chance for the hosts when the Senegalese forward fired wide during an open first 45 minutes, but a cagey second half left it all to be decided when the sides meet again in Munich on March 13.
Without the talismanic presence of Virgil van Dijk through suspension and the injured Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren, Liverpool were forced to name a make-shift central defence with Brazilian midfielder Fabinho moved back to partner Joel Matip.
That unfamiliarity showed in the early stages as the hosts started nervously at the back.Matip breathed a sigh of relief when he turned Serge Gnabry’s driven cross towards his own goal only for the ball to bounce to safety off Alisson Becker’s chest.
However, the Brazilian goalkeeper played his side into trouble moments later to put pressure on Matip and when he was dispossessed by Robert Lewandowski, Kingsley Coman fired into the side-netting.
Liverpool were also posing plenty of problems at the other end when they got Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Mane into dangerous areas.Salah headed wide at the back post from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s perfectly measured cross.
Mane then passed up the best chance for either side as he shot wide on the turn after Naby Keita’s initial effort was blocked by the arm of Niklas Suele.