Sadio Man, Mohamed Salah and Daniel Sturridge scored the goals in Liverpools 3-0 win at Bayern Munich in the Audi Cup
Sadio Man announced his return to full fitness, and Liverpool their readiness for the Champions League play-offs, as Jrgen Klopps side recorded a convincing win over Bayern Munich in the Audi Cup. Nothing against Crystal Palace, Leicester City or Hertha Berlin, said Klopp ahead of Tuesdays friendly: But this is the next level and I think we are ready. He thought right.
The Senegal international scored one and created one as Liverpools formidable attacking range overwhelmed the Bundesliga champions on home soil. Daniel Sturridge added an outstanding third before limping off with what appeared a thigh injury sustained in the act of scooping the ball over Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulreich.
Man is still working up to full speed from the knee ligament injury that curtailed his last campaign on 1 April and had looked inevitably rusty in the win in Berlin on Saturday. In Munich, however, he was sharp, fast and punishing. As all of Liverpools forwards were. Mohamed Salah and substitute Sturridge completed a hugely encouraging night for Klopp ahead of Fridays draw for the Champions League play-off stage.
Bayern started brightly but could not live with Liverpools devastating pace and penetration on the counterattack. Klopps team struck from their first foray forward, created entirely by Roberto Firmino who dispossessed Corentin Tolisso in central midfield and played a perfectly weighted pass behind Javier Martnez into the path of Man. The striker, switched to the left to accommodate new signing Salah, took one touch before beating Ulreich with a convincing finish.
Salah almost made it two moments later when connecting with Alberto Morenos excellent low cross from the left but Ulreich saved smartly at the back post. The Bayern keeper, standing in for the injured Manuel Neuer, also saved well when Moreno swept a free-kick from 20 yards towards his top corner. Liverpools out-of-favour left-back, it must be said, enjoyed a fine evening as he and Man terrorised Rafinha at right-back.
Although the hosts controlled much of the play they rarely threatened to break down Liverpools compact and disciplined defensive shape. That, as much as anything else on display at the Allianz Arena, bodes well for the coming season with Klopp stating Liverpools overall defending must improve.
The Liverpool manager did not restrain his celebrations when Salah extended the advantage on 35 minutes. Klopps delight stemmed from the quality of the build-up and with good reason. Man held the ball up on the left of the penalty area, teasing Rafinha all the while, before releasing Moreno to the by-line with a delightful flick of the instep. The Spanish left-backs low cross took a slight deflection and found Liverpools 36.9m record signing unmarked at the back post where he headed over the line from close range.
Bayern looked a bewildered and despondent side after Liverpools second goal. Carlo Ancelottis team face their first competitive match of the season on Saturday the German Supercup Final against Klopps old club Borussia Dortmund and their preparations have been far from ideal. The Bundesliga champions have lost to Arsenal, Milan, Internazionale and now Liverpool in pre-season. Robert Lewandowskis obvious displeasure at the poor quality service he received was perhaps another indication of an unhappy Bayern camp.
The Liverpool fans in Munich indulged in a series of Ols in the second half as their team prospered in possession. Man had departed at the interval, enabling Philippe Coutinho to move forward from the left-sided midfield role from where he delivered quick, accurate and telling balls into the front three in the first half. Firminos intelligence on the ball and awareness of those around him was also instrumental in Liverpools impact in the final third.
Sturridge sealed Liverpools victory with five minutes remaining when he raced on to a delightful through ball from fellow substitute Ben Woodburn and lofted a glorious chip over Ulreich. In doing so, however, he appeared to suffer a thigh injury and was swiftly replaced by Dominic Solanke. The one sour note on Liverpools night.
Klopps team will now play Atltico Madrid in Wednesdays final after Diego Simeones team beat Napoli in a feisty encounter earlier in the evening. Jose Callejon swept the Italians ahead before Fernando Torres scored past his former Liverpool team-mate Pepe Reina and Luciano Vietto made it 2-1. Atltico defender Diego Godn was sent off late on for a second bookable offence that sparked angry exchanges between the two benches.
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