Liverpool held to scruffy goalless draw by Bayern Munich to set up exciting second leg

Chris Bascombe
Liverpool's Sadio Mane attempts an overhead kick during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match at Anfield, Liverpool - PA

Jurgen Klopp’s consolation from a generally unsatisfying Anfield stalemate is a positive historic omen.

The last time Bayern Munich earned a goalless draw in this stadium - in this competition - Liverpool not only emerged victorious from the tie, they won the European Cup.

That was 38 years ago. The modern Bayern will know better to take second leg victory for granted in the same way as that which cost the side inspired by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. The German champions have waited a long time for their chance to avenge that painful exit and will feel they have the platform. 

Perhaps that is why both sides showed content with the messy draw, the game failing to live up to its billing, neither side willing to take unnecessary risks in pursuit of that critical first strike. We hoped for a reconstruction of the Dortmund v Bayern epics Klopp was accustomed to in his Bundesliga years, or the verve witnessed at Anfield last season. 

It never materialised, the game stifled by the tidal waves of mutual respect. It lacked the usual edge and hostility in this arena on such occasions. Even the supporters were applauding each other, a Bayern banner protesting ticket prices provoking one of The Kop’s most raucous cheers. 

Bayern Munich fans held up a banner aimed at Liverpool's ticket prices

Some of the foes were too familiar, in the case of Klopp’s former Borussia Dortmund allies Mats Hummels and Robert Lewandowski the inside information vast.

Bayern were too wise, too experienced to fall into the traps set by those who have recently arrived here with backs stiffened, ridiculing the power of the stadium, only to depart with pride and ambitions destroyed.  The visitors sought to sedate with compliments, lining up to pay tribute to the power of England’s ‘most emotional club’. All part of the masterplan, it seemed. Bob Paisley , the manager who guided Liverpool to that 1981 triumph, used to call it ‘giving the opposition a bit of toffee’. Bayern were here for the result, not a stadium tour. They were more comfortable in these surroundings than any of those who have succumbed since Klopp started choreographing the Euro nights.

The reverence showed in Bayern's tactics as much as their words, the visiting full-backs David Alaba and Joshua Kimmich rarely leaving their own half in fear of leaving their centre-backs exposed to the pace of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. Bayern will have to show more adventure in the Allianz, although Kimmich won’t get the chance. His booking means he is suspended for the return leg.

Klopp was wise to protest the claims this Bayern side is a fading force. Despite minimal threat last night, they might still have grabbed the away goal.

The closest they came was on 13 minutes, Joel Matip’s attempted clearance fortunate to bounce off Alisson’s shin. Serge Gnabry, the most vibrant visiting attacker, provided the dribble and cross in the build-up, at that stage causing Andy Robertson as much concern as he has known since arriving at Liverpool.

Credit: REUTERS

For while, Virgil Van Dijk’s absence was disconcerting, palpable unease as Matip exchanged passes with emergency partner Fabinho, and goalkeeper Alisson’s hesitancy in possession offering too much encouragement to Bayern’s prowling attackers. 

This proved a contagion, as the visitors looked equally vulnerable without the injured Jerome Boateng alongside Hummels. It seemed Manuel Neuer fancied a game of Russian roulette with Alisson, always preferring the gamblers pass from goal kicks, often pausing before clearing to a red shirt. Despite ending goalless, strangely there were occasions neither defence looked on top, although Fabinho deserves most credit of all for growing more comfortable in his unfamiliar role.

Klopp could point to the better opportunities, Mane snatching spectacularly with several close range efforts, most memorably with an over-ambitious overhead kick. His attempts summed up a game full of threat without end product, moments of quality shadowed by those of carelessness. The Liverpool manager's greatest lament was directed at a series of wasted final passes, encouraging possibilities never becoming clear chances.

It was the same for Bayern. Kingsley Coman found the side-netting, and Gnabry was always willing to test Alisson from distance. Both can and will do more in three weeks' time.

There is disappointment Liverpool did not function as usual on the European stage, but optimism will be fuelled by the clean sheet. Van Dijk was missed – more so in an uneasy first half – so this may come to represent a missed opportunity for Bayern coach Niko Kovac.

Coman troubled Alexander-Arnold but his touch let him down on occasion Credit: GETTY IMAGES

At least Liverpool retained their unbeaten home record in Europe under Klopp, and there will be no trepidation about the challenge ahead. There was time in his Anfield career he would have been less enthusiastic about a trip to Munich – particularly in those early months when he was still forming his team and relying on the emotion of European nights as much as technical excellence of his players.

Not now. He my relish the spaces of the Allianz Arena and another opportunity to show compatriots the fruits of his labour - his message of Liverpool being competitors again a warning, not an idle boast.

Curiously, even amid the disappointment, this felt like a more mature, less haphazard Liverpool than last year, ready for the game of bluff with a canny opponent – even if the thrilling end product was absent.

A year ago Liverpool’s priorities meant the players could leave everything on the pitch – so much emotional energy expended there was little left in the following Premier League game.

No-one will dare admit it, but as the final 20 minutes fizzled out and the post-match duties observed, you sensed Liverpool minds already drifting to Sunday’s domestic date at Old Trafford.

10:20PM

Jurgen says he's not delighted but everything's fine

First half obviously we had to force a little bit, it was not a day where it clicked. Bayern is very strong, we made our life difficult with the last pass today 10, 12 times and shot them in the legs again, we can play better we should play better but that's it. I can't remember second half chances for both sides. It's not a Champions League night obviously for both sides but we have to create a basis tonight to use in the second leg. It's not a dream result but it's a good one and we can work with that.

Bayern is in "trouble" and then they get really serious. If they were confident they would have played their football and given us more space. We had our moments but in these moments you have to score. It's not a game we will remember in 20 years.

A cleansheet without the big man so that's very good, defending in general was good. A lot of things were really good against an outstandingly good side so I'm not over the moon but I'm completely OK with the game. So let's recover and play Man Utd.

9:56PM

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9:55PM

A tactical chess match

That's how Rio Ferdinand's described it and it's exactly what I enjoyed about the game too. Bayern had to work hard to cut out chances for Liverpool and did so superbly near their own box, sliding in early to block through-balls and inside passes.

But who stood out? Well, you can find out in our player ratings.

9:53PM

Reaction

 

9:52PM

FULL TIME

The right result! A great game to watch, both teams very evenly matched. I have absolutely no idea what's going to happen in the second leg.

9:51PM

90 mins+4 - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Javi Martinez has been outstanding tonight and looks absolutely knackered. He's got this uncanny knack of knowing exactly when and how to cut out Liverpool's passes in the final third and has done it again to deny Mane a shot of getting Salah in on goal. 

9:48PM

90 mins+2 - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Bayern are slowing it down as much as possible now. Any collision is an injury, every substitution takes forever. They're doing a very professional job. 

9:47PM

89 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Bayern Munich fans hold up a banner aimed at Liverpool FC's ticket prices during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between Liverpool and FC Bayern Muenchen

That's Bayern Munich fans slagging off the price of match tickets. It is way too expensive but at the same time near impossible to get tickets for games. Money always wins. £20 a game sounds good to me. 

9:44PM

87 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

I really like the way Liverpool players release the ball at the last moment when they're running at goal. They draw a defender in then just as the tackle is made, poke it on to keep the move going. 

Great save! Neuer gets down low to turn Mane's diving header wide of goal. That was the closest Liverpool have gone in this half.

Bayern players all have cramp now. Right on time. Renato Sanchez is away to come on for the final few minutes.

9:41PM

85 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Liverpool get the ball in the box a few times, Bayern head away, Henderson keeps trying and forces a curling cross to the far post... headed away again and it drops to Matip! He swings a leg from 20 yards but scuffs it out for a goal kick.

9:39PM

82 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Kimmich celebrates blocking Roberston's low cross with a little fist pump. Salah tries to compete in the area amongst the oak trees of Bayern centre-backs but he's totally lost and can't.

Ribery replaces Coman. 

9:37PM

80 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Alaba has started getting forward, something he hasn't done much of all game long. Are Bayern looking to sneak an away goal in the final 10 minutes? 

James tries a shot from 20 yards but hits it well wide of goal.

Ribery is getting ready to come on. Bayern definitely want an away goal, they reckon there's fun to be had here.

9:34PM

78 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Milner on for Keita, Origi replaces Firmino, who almost missed this one with a virus. Off to bed now, Roberto. Plenty of water. 

9:31PM

75 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Coman's first touch has been bad so far. That's the best possible word for it. He's let the ball roll under him, get away from him and has just been told off by James for the latest mistake which handed possession back to Liverpool after Bayern had spent a few minutes working hard off the ball.

And he's shown too much to Fabinho again. Bayern win a throw rather than getting a chance to shoot.

Origi and Milner getting ready to come on.

9:29PM

72 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

I think Bayern players were told to get stuck into Henderson in the halftime team talk. He's getting no time in this half and it's starting to get frustrated that he's being kicked and having to refrain from shooting or passing because a slide tackle's coming his way.

9:26PM

69 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Bayern have to clear their lines a few times in a row as Liverpool get the ball into the box for their forwards to attack. Mane brings it down but runs out of time to shoot, Salah is denied a shot by a slide tackle, Bayern get it away.

Mane has just controlled a clearance perfectly with his first touch. I wish I could do that.

9:24PM

67 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

James clears, falls over while doing it and claims a foul. He gets it and that ends a spell of Liverpool pressure.

9:21PM

64 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Henderson's taken a really sore one from Thiago, who catches him with the follow through of his pass. Alaba miskicks and puts the ball straight out for a throw when trying to hit down the line, Matip brings the ball out and hits a pass straight out for a throw. Neither team is at their best tonight.

9:18PM

61 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

 

9:17PM

59 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Gnabry dances past Robertson and Keita to get to the box but Fabinho says NO and doesn't let him past. The corner is headed behind for another corner, Martinez takes a heavy fall and needs a minute to compose himself. The second corner is whipped over everyone. 

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Gnabry moves inside from the right wing and tries a shot on his left foot from distance and holy hell that boy can hit a football. It flies just over the crossbar, with Alisson looking beaten. 

9:13PM

56 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

OOOOOHHHHHHH that's close.. Robertson has space, Keita doesn't find him, gets a second chance and Sule slides in to tackle but knocks the ball off Robertson. It loops.. is this going in?! No, it's wide of goal (hate when TV angle does that) but Salah is at the back post waiting. He controls on his chest and then, and then, AND THEN he punts it into the advertising boards. Not a great effort.

Henderson is booked for a foul on Martinez and can't believe it. Martinez presents the boot that's come off as part of the tackle as evidence for why Henderson shouldn't complain.

9:10PM

54 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Coman has room to run into down the left, Wijnaldum gets back to match him up, thec ross is cut back to Lewandowski, who tries to tuck the ball inside and flick an effort at goal. Fabinho takes him out with a superb, strong challenge inside the area. 

9:08PM

51 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Mane is scarily fast. He runs like a raptor when he's spotted a chance to win the ball back and Kimmich panics every time it happens.

9:05PM

48 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Fabinho launches the ball forward, Liverpool press high and win it back. Firmino wide right, he chips a ball in and it's headed away, then Lewandowski is penalised for a foul on Matip. 

9:02PM

KICK OFF 2

We're back. 

8:54PM

Opta stat

Bayern Munich have not attempted a single shot on target in a full half of a Champions League match (excl. extra-time) for the first time since April 2017 in the first half of their semi-final second leg against Real Madrid.

8:53PM

Really fun to watch

Here are some things I've noticed from that half.

  • Liverpool are playing very narrow, keeping players close to each other and attacking through the middle. Staying close helps the counter-press work better because there are bodies nearby.
  • Bayern Munich are very wide, trying to work the ball down the wings then hit early crosses in to Lewandowski, who looks like he's on the prowl tonight
Liverpool Bayern average positions Credit: OPTA
  •  Both goalkeepers seem a little nervous
  • Jordan Henderson has been excellent at keeping things ticking over
  • Robertson and Alexander-Arnold aren't themselves either, plenty of mistakes on show
  • Bayern are big, tall and strong - corners look very hard to defend against them
  • Bayern are taking their time when the ball goes out of play, they're happy keeping the score low

8:47PM

HALF TIME

Great game. The teams are really evenly matched, this could go either way! 

8:46PM

45 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Bayern win another corner as Gnabry hits an early cross towards Lewandowski. Firmino heads the corner away. 

Liverpool absolutely steam up the pitch with some brilliant skill from Keita beating two players, then Salah gets on it, A-A bursts bast on the overlap, Firmino now and he plays the pass behind the defence... but Bayern survive! Really close. 

8:42PM

43 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Here's a great stat for you: Sadio Mane has had more touches in the opposition box (5) than he has attempted passes (4) in this match so far.

8:42PM

42 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Bayern are dangerous at corners! Alisson has to be alert to deal with the danger as Lewandowski almost pounces on the loose ball! Matip and Fabinho aren't winning the ball in the air vs the massive Bayern lads. 

Henderson has been superb tonight so far, sitting behind the midfielders and cleaning everything up. 

Salah backheels Firmino in, it's a massive chance inside the box... he cuts it across the six yard line and MATIP SHOOTS wide. Great link play from the Liverpool forwards.

8:39PM

39 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Robertson and Alexander-Arnold have swapped wings and I can't tell if it's on purpose or because they're out of position following a set piece. There's a shot on goal by Liverpool, it deflects off a Bayern body and drops... and Mane's waiting and goes for the BICYCLE KIIIIIICCCCKKKKKKK which is way wide. 

Would have been cool if that had come off. 

8:37PM

36 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Firmino does superbly to keep the ball and run away from about four pursuers, waiting for options that don't come. Alexander-Arnold has given away possession near halfway! It's a corner. Fabinho heads that away, A-A tries to sprint away with it... and gives the ball away again! Gnabry can shoot, does, and wins another corner.

8:34PM

33 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

BIG CHANCE FOR LIVERPOOL! They break away, Keita tries a shot, it bounces through to Mane - who is just onside - and he spins then shoots towards the bottom corner. Wide. He should have hit the target at least there, it's a big chance.

Kimmich is down receiving treatment now. The physios are dripping some sort of liquid thing on his knee. 

8:33PM

32 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

average positions

This shows it pretty well. Liverpool are effectively playing an attacking midfield diamond behind two wide forwards, Bayern are definitely a 4-2-4. They want to go one v one in attack and defence.

Andrew Robertson is another player having a bit of a shocker. He's misplaced several crosses and his latest effort is a booted cross sent out for a throw-in.  

8:30PM

30 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Niko Kovac has been told to wise up by the referee, having fallen out with the fourth official for various reasons, most of them throw-in related. That's not the right hill to die on Niko. It's a throw-in. 

8:29PM

28 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Bayern's shape

 That's the shape in buildup. A 4-2-something, with players placed in between the lines of Liverpool defence/offence, whatever you want to call it. 

Kimmich has just picked up a booking, which rules him out of the second leg. That should mean Klopp sets the focus down the left wing to get Mane to take him on as often as possible.

8:26PM

26 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

I think Alisson's forgotten how to goalkeeper. His kicking has been dreadful so far tonight. Hopefully the nerves settle down - Neuer's not been much better.

8:26PM

25 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Mane shields the ball near the box as Sule tries to win it back with all the subtlety of a lorry trying to creep into your room at night. Alexander-Arnold stands over it, a mixture of zonal and man-marking from Bayern .

Crossed in, headed away, the ball loops in the air and Alexander-Arnold cushions the volley to the back post towards SALAH! He's headed wide! I think he's scared of getting clattered there and pulled out a wee bit. 

8:23PM

23 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

I think Bayern's plan is a 4-1-4-1 out of possession and a 4-2-4 when attacking. Lewandowski and James are trying to block the ball out from the back through the middle, Coman and Gnabry are racing up the wings whenever they can to attack one v one with Liverpool's back four.

8:21PM

20 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Bayern are pressing as high up the pitch as Liverpool were in the opening minutes and it's really testing Matip and Fabinho's ball control. Salah , Firmino, Salah, Keita... and there's a bit of hungry hippos situation on the edge of the box which ends with Keita just getting a stab at goal. Wide.

8:17PM

17 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Big, big chances for Bayern Munich. Alisson takes way too much time on the ball, puts Matip in trouble and there are three Bayern forwards chasing it up. Coman takes it on and moves to free up a shot inside the box, slamming one into the side netting. 

8:15PM

14 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Bayern get up the other end of the pitch, attack the right wing and a low ball is drilled into the box... and there's a runner! THIS MUST BE A GOAL! Saved by Alisson! I'm not sure how much he knew about that, it was absolutely drilled at him. 

Credit: BT SPORT

The ball came off Matip and pinged back off Alisson's chest! 

8:13PM

13 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Liverpool have a free-kick wide right, Bayern's defensive line is way high and the cross is dealt with. Chipped passes are headed away by Bayern defenders, Henderson has the ball at halfway, looks up for a pass and then hits a long ball towards Salah.. and he's in! WHAT A PASS! Salah shoots on the volley but it's saved by Neuer! That would have been something special.

8:12PM

12 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Gnabry floats a cross into the area and Alisson comes off his line to punch away... but Fabinho doesn't want to risk it and goes for the header. The two clash and it very nearly hands Bayern a big chance to score. They apologise to each other afterwards.

 

8:10PM

10 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Coman looks to be staying wide when Alaba comes forward and letting the left-back underlap him. Bayern are just keeping the ball for a bit now, passing around, moving up the pitch then passing backwards.

8:08PM

8 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Mane almost catches Neuer on the ball! He's not enjoying this high press at all - there's never a pass onto him that looks in any way safe.

8:07PM

6 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Sule and Hummels are both staying pretty deep here, which makes sense. Alisson's given the ball away inside the Liverpool half and there's a chance for Bayern to attack.

8:03PM

3 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Three players crowd around Lewandowski the second he gets on the ball in Liverpool's half. Liverpool's high press is making Bayern think about where they want to play their passes, the crowd roars them on and eventually Neuer has to just pump it forward. Alisson threads a pass into Wijnaldum, who turns Martinez and wins a free-kick. That would be a yellow card were it not the opening few minutes.

8:01PM

1 mins - Liverpool 0 Bayern Munich 0

Long pass out to the wing, Mane and Firmino chase it, Liverpool push high and take the game to Bayern immediately. 

8:00PM

KICK OFF

The referees are from Italy. I don't know what that means other than that I naturally expect there to be lots of free-kicks, especially against Liverpool because English teams always seem to have this reputation as overly aggressive. 

And we're off! Liverpool start the game.

7:58PM

Here come the players

The teams come out onto the pitch to the opening bars of You'll Never Walk Alone. The music cuts out early and the fans keep singing along... perfectly in tune and in time... and then they start playing the Champions League theme tune. 

The home fans are completely drowning out the Champions League song, it's great!

7:53PM

Starting lineups reminder

 

7:45PM

What's the most important time period of this half?

1-20: Liverpool can come out the blocks and absolutely pummel Bayern, score two and then pick them off on the counter. This leaves space at the back for Bayern to exploit. High risk but very high reward.

21-45: Both teams should have sussed each other out and be looking to set little traps and latch onto mistakes.

7:35PM

Rio Ferdinand on the difficulties facing Fabinho

Partnerships are built on being familiar with each other. When Matip plays with Van Dijk he knows where he's going to go, Liverpool aren't as good without Van Dijk. Fabinho can play multiple positions and he's done OK but not against a team like Bayern Munich. 

7:30PM

Big welcome for the buses

he FC Bayern Munich team bus arrives the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between Liverpool and FC Bayern

 If you didn't already know, people in Liverpool absolutely LOVE buses. Can't get enough. Here's the Bayern Munich bus arriving at the ground - just look at all the eager fans taking notes on what kind of vehicle it is. 

 

7:23PM

Anfield's up for a big game

 

7:21PM

Owen Hargreaves reveals why he left Bayern

"That's why I left Bayern Munich! There's often not a title race.

"Kimmich going forward has been world class but defensively, Bayern aren't at their best. Neuer isn't at his best, Hummels is over 30 now and not as quick.."

7:18PM

Why full-backs are so key tonight

If Bayern are a 4-4-2 tonight, Liverpool can isolate their two strikers (or striker and James Rodriguez) by pushing those full-backs way up the pitch and forcing Gnabry and Coman to track them.

Bayern will be trying to do the same thing when they're in possession but as the home side, the onus is on Liverpool to attack.

6:53PM

Bayern Munich's starting lineup

I think that's a 4-4-2/4-2-3-1 for Bayern, who obviously want to try and take advantage of the weak Liverpool defence tonight. James will drop behind Lewandowski quite a lot, Kimmich and Alaba will get forward from full-back, Thiago and Martinez are in charge of controlling the middle of the park. 

6:50PM

Liverpool starting lineups

Liverpool

Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Keita, Mane, Firmino, Salah

6:43PM

This guy

Credit: REUTERS

Having a great time, doing an impression of Joey from Friends if Chandler had been a Bayern Munich fan.

6:33PM

The Chaaaaampioooooons

Hello! It's another night of European action between two of the continent's very best teams. Bayern Munich might not be the all destroying outfit of previous seasons but they have some very dangerous players, experience and the nous to navigate these types of tricky ties.

Liverpool lost in the final of last season's competition and scared their opponents to death on the way there. Fast starts, breathtaking counter-attacks and an exhausting amount of counter-pressing did the trick in 2017/18 - will it work now?

There's an injury crisis at Anfield at the moment and that could have repercussions higher up the pitch. Without Van Dijk (suspended) and Lovren (injured) and Gomez (even more injured), Liverpool have to use Fabinho as a makeshift centre-back next to Joel Matip. They'd normally probably select a fairly attacking midfield too, designed to push Bayern ever further towards their own goal, but without safety at the back can they really risk it? 

Klopp has a lot of decisions to make and we'll know what those are in about 30 minutes when teams are announced. 

Bayern had a bad start to the season but look to have stumbled out of the dizzying cloud of Bundesliga defeats to cut the lead at the top of the table to rivals Borussia Dortmund. They're missing a few key players tonight too like Muller (suspended) and Robben (injured) but still have more than enough to challenge. Klopp is, of course, familiar with taking on a Bavarian giant and will have had a plan ready for weeks to take on his old enemy.

Will it work? Will Liverpool emerge victorious? We don't know, but you can follow all the buildup, action and get live analysis right here in this very liveblog.

Teams will be with us soon and you can watch along if you happen to have BT Sport. If not, there will be a lot of words on this webpage anyway. Enjoy!