Klopp backs Liverpool to recover from Bayern stalemate

Manager says team needed to convert chances in first leg against Bayern


Afp February 20, 2019
NOTHING TO FEAR: Liverpool boss Klopp is convinced his side will fight back and win when they face Bayern in the second leg away from home in Germany. PHOTO: AFP

LIVERPOOL/ LYON: Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool are still firmly in contention for a place in the Champions League quarter-finals despite their dour 0-0 draw against Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

Klopp's side were frustrated by a disciplined Bayern display in the last-16 first leg at Anfield.

The usually free-scoring Reds now face a daunting task in the second leg at the Allianz Arena on March 13.

Bundesliga champions Bayern have lost only two of their last 26 home Champions League games, winning 22 of those.

But Liverpool boss Klopp is convinced his side have nothing to fear in Germany.

"The positive is of course the result is ok, the best draw we can get. Yes we can play better, we should play better," Klopp said. "The tie is not over. We said that. We had to create the basis tonight that we can use in the second leg. It was a big fight. We had the bigger chances. It's not a dream result but it is a good one. We can work with that."

Liverpool's progress to last season's Champions League final was marked by a series of swaggering displays at Anfield.

But Klopp admitted the well-drilled Bayern defence didn't allow Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane to click into gear.

"It was not a day when we clicked in the first minute. Bayern are physically very strong and it was difficult to come through," he said. "We made our lives more difficult with the last pass today. I don't know how often, at least 10 times there was a promising situation or a good counter-attack. We immediately shot into their legs, it doesn't make much sense. We had our moments but in these moments we have to score. Then the game can change completely."

Klopp had expected Bayern, hit by injuries and suspension, to adopt a cautious approach and the result was a hard-fought but hardly action-packed encounter.

"When Bayern are in trouble, they get really serious like this. That was how it was. I didn't expect them to play attacking football," he said. "We played against an outstanding side. I'm not over the moon, but I'm completely ok with the result. It was not a game we will remember in 20 years."

 

Valverde finds positives as Barcelona draw blank

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde shrugged off his team's struggles in front of goal after they were held to a 0-0 draw away at Lyon in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.

The Spanish side had most of the chances at the Groupama Stadium, with Luis Suarez firing just wide in the second half, although it was Lyon who came the closest when Martin Terrier hit the bar early on.

Lionel Messi and co. were once again left frustrated on the road at the business end of the competition, and have now gone six away matches without winning in the Champions League knockout rounds, scoring just a single goal in that time. It is a run that goes back three years.

Desperate to end Real Madrid's recent European dominance, Barca must now finish the job when the teams meet again at the Camp Nou on March 13, but Lyon remain in the tie.

Barcelona's form needs to improve between now and then, though — they have drawn four of their last five matches in all, and have scored just once, from a penalty, in their last three outings.

"We played good football, but you have to hit the target as well, and we didn't," Valverde said. "We are on the right road, though, and the tie is still up in the air. We will try to win it in front of our fans."

He added: "I am not happy with the result, but I am happy with the performance and with what we created. We didn't score, but that is how it is. It is not easy to win away from home in the Champions League."

 

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