FC Bayern produce solid performance to shut down Liverpool at Anfield

In what was a much-anticipated Champions League second round meeting at Anfield, FC Bayern München produced an excellent defensive performance. They return home with a hard-earned goalless draw against Jürgen Klopp’s free-scoring Liverpool side.

The result sets up an enthralling return at the Allianz Arena, where Niko Kovač’s men will be looking to finish the job in front of their own supporters.

Goretzka out, Martínez in

The Bayern coach made just one change to the starting eleven that had earned a tight 3:2 win against FC Augsburg, with defensive midfieder Javi Martínez returning to the fold in place of the injured Leon Goretzka. Martínez joined Thiago Alcântara to form a strong-looking double six, while Joshua Kimmich remained at right-back.

Liverpool’s goal-scoring abilities were not in doubt. From the start, it was clear that the Bavarians would have to knuckle down and remain disciplined. The home team started strongly, and there were some shaky moments early on. With twelve minutes gone, Manuel Neuer got his first touch of the ball, gathering an on-target effort from the dangerous Mohammed Salah.

Bayern would have their moments. Liverpool ‘keeper Alisson was almost beaten when a Serge Gnabry cross struck former Schalke 04 centre-back Joël Matip, and Kingsley Coman then found the side netting.

Liverpool dominant

The Bavarians had little to offer for the remainder of the first half, and it was the home team that made all of the running. When Niklas Süle failed to deal with a Naby Keïta effort, Sadio Mané had a wonderful chance to break the deadlock. Thankfully, he sent his low shot wide. Five minutes before the break, Matip also had a sight of the Bayern goal.

The Bayern defence remained solid, with Javi Martínez the standout performer. The one negative was a 28th minute yellow card for Joshua Kimmich, ruling him out of the return leg in Munich.

The pattern was resumed in the second half, but Klopp’s side were unable to find a way past the well-drilled Bayern defence. The Bavariabs had struggled to keep a clean sheet all season, but just at the right time everything seemed to come together. There was a half-chance for Gnabry just before the hour mark, but that was as good it got for the visitors.

Shutout secured

With both teams neutralising each other in the middle of the park, there were few opportunities as the match rolled towards the final whistle. James Rodríguez fired wide after 79 minutes, and five minutes later Neuer did well to keep out a Mané header.

The result sets up what should be a thrilling encounter at the Allianz Arena in three weeks’ time, with situation just as it was back in 1981, when the then champions of Germany and England met in the semi-final of the European Champions’ Cup.

At the Olympiastadion in Munich, Liverpool would do enough to edge the tie, going through on away goals after a 1:1 draw. This time around, Bayern fans will be hoping for a more positive outcome.

Statistical Summary

Liverpool – FC Bayern München 0:0 (0:0)
– / –

Liverpool: Alisson – Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson – Henderson (c) – Wijnaldum, Keita (76. Milner) – Salah, Firmino (76. Origi), Mané

FC Bayern: Neuer (c) – Kimmich, Süle, Hummels, Alaba – Martínez, Thiago – Gnabry (90.+1. Rafinha), James (88. Renato Sanches), Coman (81. Ribéry) – Lewandowski

Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)
Attendance: 52,250

Yellow Cards: Kimmich 28. / Henderson 55.
Red Cards: – / –

Shots: 15 / 9
Passes: 505 / 526
Completed Passes: 393 / 434
Pass Success: 78% / 83%
Possession: 49% / 51%
Fouls: 10 / 13
Offsides: 1 / 2
Corners: 5 / 6