Liverpool won for the first time away from Anfield in the Champions League this season on Wednesday night. The Reds controlled their last-16 second tie with Bayern Munich from the start and finished off the Germans 3-1. In-form forward Sadio Mane scored on either side of a Virgil van Dijk headed goal.
The Reds are now in the Champions League quarterfinal draw which will be held on Friday. With Liverpool ready for the quarterfinal round for a second time in two seasons, here are 3 things we learned from the Reds’ 3-1 win in Germany.
No Jordan Henderson, no problem
Liverpool lost captain Jordan Henderson less than a quarter of an hour into the fixture. The midfielder rolled his ankle and noticeably limped on following the innocuous incident.
Last season, such an injury would have had a far larger impact on Liverpool. However, Fabinho stepped right in and Liverpool didn’t miss a beat.
Manager Jurgen Klopp fielded a midfield of Henderson, James Milner, and Georginio Wijnaldum. His decision to select the trio was based on trust. But even with Henderson removed prematurely, Klopp was able to call on a midfielder that has become a staple in the team.
Fabinho’s early days at Anfield were filled with uncertainty. When the Reds played Arsenal at the Emirates, it was clear his teammates were not confident in the midfielder and avoided passing the ball to him.
That confidence has changed greatly. Fabinho is making key tackles (two against Bayern) and clogging up the midfield to prevent opposing counter-attacks. The competition for midfield places has also made the rest of the group work hard. Henderson has especially improved this term.
Joel Matip has become indispensable
Say what you want about centre-back Joel Matip. Sure, he had a Jamie Carragher-esque own goal in the first half, but Matip has become indispensable in the heart of defence.
Although he would have been third or fourth choice had Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren not suffered long-term injuries, Matip is showing his class next to Van Dijk.
Not only is Matip a stealthy defender capable of halting attackers, but he has shown his ability to carry the ball upfield to cut through defences and start attacks.
Matip is another example of Liverpool’s brilliant scouting. He was signed from Schalke on a free transfer (it seems they lose their best players every season on a free).
Gomez is the club’s future centre-back alongside Van Dijk. But with Gomez regularly injured, Matip is an excellent choice to come into the side.
By the way, Matip won five tackles and completed 83 percent of his passes. Although fans will see Matip scored the own goal, the move that set it up was due to Andrew Robertson being caught out of position.
Andrew Robertson suspended for next match
Regardless of which team Liverpool draw in the quarterfinals, Andrew Robertson will not be a part of the fixture. The Scotsman received a yellow card during Liverpool’s win over Bayern, ruling him out of the next match.
Presumably, James Milner will slot into left-back for the fixture. However, Joe Gomez could be fit in time.
Liverpool back-up left-back Alberto Moreno has played just five times all season. He has appeared in just one Champions League match, Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Red Star Belgrade at Anfield, while being left out of the squad on three occasions.
He was again left out by Klopp on Wednesday night.
Moreno hasn’t played since January 7th in the Reds’ FA Cup loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Klopp’s trust and patience have obviously run out with Moreno.
Despite his struggles at Anfield, Sky Sports reported Moreno is being tracked by Barcelona. He is free to leave Liverpool in the summer when his contract expires.