Liverpool headed into their Europa League tie with Borussia Dortmund clear underdogs to the Bundesliga’s second best side. Given the way the Germans had dismantled Tottenham to the tune of 5-1 on aggregate just a few weeks earlier, Reds fans were hopeful but far from confident.
In the end, though, it was a near perfect away performance from Jürgen Klopp’s new club against his old club, one reminiscent of Liverpool at their best in Europe under Rafa Benitez, that has those same fans buzzing today. The players, too, are feeling good about how the game went, and about how their hard work paid off.
"It was almost the perfect execution of his gameplan," midfielder Adam Lallana said following the match. "If we’d won 1-0 or 2-1 it would have been massive, but we did very well in a tough test. A lot of energy was used, especially in the second half. It was a big effort from us, and we also had some really good chances."
Dortmund had the lion’s share of possession at home, but Liverpool’s hard work limited their chances and the favoured hosts went the final thirty minutes without a shot thanks to Lallana and his teammates. Outside the one goal Dortmund scored, it was also noteworthy that all the best chances went to Liverpool.
Dejan Lovren had a first half header that, had the defender got a little more on it, would have been a goal. Divock Origi had a one-on-one with the goalkeeper that was well saved in the final action of the half. Then, in the second, there was a flurry around the Dortmund goal with and two chances for Philippe Coutinho.
On one hand, then, there’s disappointment Liverpool didn’t outright win the match. On the other, being able to head home from Germany disappointed by a score draw in a two-legged European tie against favoured opposition is a hugely positive result, one that will only give the players confidence heading into next week.
"There’s maybe a little disappointment we didn’t score again since we created some good openings," added Lallana. "But they’re going to have to come at us at Anfield next week. We knew they’d be dominant, especially in possession, but we were ready to pick off their mistakes and exploit them."