With Liverpool seeing off Bayern Munich at the Allianz on Wednesday evening, the Premier League can now boast having four teams in a Champions League quarter-final draw for the first time since 2008-09.
The first leg ended goalless a fortnight back, but two goals from Sadio Mane either side of a Virgil van Dijk header saw the Reds go sailing through in style against an ageing Bayern team that is visibly coming to the end of it’s cycle.
Mane’s first goal was a thing of beauty, with the Senegalese forward plucking a high ball out of the night sky and dinking a subtle finish into an unguarded net with Manuel Neuer dithering about in no-man’s land, as he’s increasingly prone to do.
The goal looked good from the live angle, but the replays – oh, the alternative angle replays – that’s where the magic truly lies…
The raking ball from Virgil van Dijk, the over-the-shoulder touch from Mane, the wriggly pivot, the chip, Neuer once again falling foul of his own conceit. Glorious, all of it.
As we’re feeling generous, here’s another batch of reverse angles…
Fast to slow in an instant. The awareness and composure to opt for the feather-light finish. Fine, fine stuff.
Mane added another late on which was less about his headed finish and more about the absolutely divine cross into him from Mohamed Salah…
The second leg ended 3-1 to Liverpool, with a Joel Matip own-goal the only consolation for Bayern.
The last eight of the Champions League awaits Jurgen Klopp’s ebullient side. A total ground-up squad rebuild more than likely awaits their vanquished German foes.