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Who’s the Mane! Sadio fires double as Liverpool see off Bayern Munich in Champions League

Who’s the Mane! Sadio fires double as Liverpool see off Bayern Munich in Champions League
Sadio Mane scored twice as Liverpool produced a dogged display with flashes of attacking flair as they beat Bayern Munich 3-1 in Germany to reach the Champions League quarterfinals.

Senegalese star Mane struck the first and last goals of the game in Munich, either side of an own goal from Liverpool defender Joel Matip and a strike at the right end from Virgil van Dijk, as last season’s finalists booked their spot in Friday’s last eight draw.

The win for Jurgen Klopp's men against a largely toothless Bayern means there are four English teams into the quarterfinals as Liverpool join Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham.

It also completed a last 16 hat-trick of wins for Premier League teams against German opposition after Bayern joined Schalke and Borussia Dortmund in being dumped out.  

With the tie on a knife-edge at 0-0 after cagey first leg at Anfield, it was Mane who proved the most incisive of his team’s fabled attacking trident as Liverpool ran out deserved winners at the Allianz Arena.

The Senegalese was superb throughout, capping a lively performance with a header from Mo Salah's delightful pass five minutes from time.

It was his second of the game and sent Liverpool through, as a disappointing Bayern were consigned to concentrate on domestic matters in the Bundesliga. 

Ahead of the game Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp had raised eyebrows on social media with his selection of club captain Jordan Henderson in central midfield ahead of in-form Brazilian Fabinho.

But the issue resolved itself to the misfortune of Henderson when he was forced off with what appeared to be a foot injury inside the first quarter of an hour.

Bayern saw more of the ball in the opening stages as they were already showing more attacking intent than at Anfield, and had the first chance of note on eight minutes when Thiago Alcantara curled a right-footed shot over Alisson’s bar, after sloppy play from Roberto Firmino in the center of the park.

Two minutes later and the Bayern masses at the Allianz Arena were baying for a penalty when Robert Lewandowski went down in the box under pressure from Virgil van Dijk, although referee Daniele Orsato waved play on without troubling the VAR as contact appeared minimal.

Bayern enjoyed close to 75 percent possession in the opening stages, but Liverpool slowly found their feet, with Firmino firing a ferocious shot wide of Manuel Neuer’s post on 25 minutes.

Soon after the deadlock was broken though, with rashness from Neuer and a cool head from Mane handing Liverpool the lead.

Controlling a beautifully weighted long ball from Liverpool central defender van Dijk, Mane found himself on the 18-yard box but with his back to goal and the attentions of a Bayern defender to deal with.

But his task was made easier when Neuer inexplicably vacated his goal and charged to meet him, only to be sold a dummy on the turn as Mane then chipped into the net.

It was a smart piece of play from the in-form Mane, who struck his ninth goal in 10 games, but there were questions over Neuer taking his “sweeper-keeper” mantra to extremes.

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The German had certainly seen better moments in his 99 previous Champions League appearances for Bayern.

It left Bayern needing to score at least two to reach the last eight, but they snatched one of those on 39 minutes when Liverpool suffered their own comedy of errors at the back.

Escaping the attentions of full-back Andy Robertson, Serge Gnabry broke down the right and fired the ball across goal, where Liverpool center back Joel Matip turned the ball past Alisson and into his own net with Robert Lewandowski lurking at the back post.

Two errors, two goals and the teams went in level at the break.

When the teams returned it was Bayern, understandably, who made the early running and the livewire Gnabry flashed across the Liverpool goal on the hour mark, although no one was there to meet it.

But while Liverpool’s attacking trio of Mane, Firmino and Salah looked dangerous as the game began to open up, it was center half van Dijk who handed them the all-important second away goal when the Dutchman towered over the crowd from a corner to head home with 20 minutes left.

Who’s the Mane! Sadio fires double as Liverpool see off Bayern Munich in Champions League

Van Dijk has brought poise and calm to the Liverpool defense, but it was his intent at the other end that saw him mobbed by teammates as he appeared to put the tie out of reach for Bayern.  

Into the last 20 minutes and Bayern labored and Liverpool continued to look the likelier to score.   

Mo Salah went on a weaving run but couldn’t finish it off, but Mane applied the killer blow when he finished a lovely flighted pass from the outside of Salah’s boot to head past Neuer.

Liverpool marched on as they still nurture hopes of a Premier League and Champions League double, but they may well run into familiar opposition in the next round as one of four English teams in the hat. 

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