It isn’t the result the fans wanted and it isn’t the result Liverpool deserved. But it also isn’t a bad one and, with a second leg still to play, there’s reason for confidence thanks to Liverpool’s performance and that it ended a nil-nil draw and not a score draw.
That result, at home in leg one, means any score draw in Munich when the two sides meet again sees Liverpool into the quarter-finals. A win would do, too, of course. And given how well Liverpool played at times, there will be—should be—confidence.
“It is not a game we will remember in 30 years,” was Jürgen Klopp’s take on the events of Tuesday evening at Anfield. “We wanted tonight to get a result we can work with and we can work with this. Nil-nil is the best draw you can have.”
It’s not a game that will be long remembered, but perhaps it should have been thanks to some long stretches of dominant play that saw Liverpool’s expected goals stand at 2.2 at the end of the night. They were unlucky not to score twice.
Bayern, meanwhile, created chances worth just 0.5 expected goals and didn’t manage a shot on target, meaning they would have been fortunate to end up with anything greater than the nil that they did record on the final scoresheet.
Liverpool, despite a makeshift defence, played well enough not just to win the game most nights but to win it comfortably. Now they will expect to go into the second game with their usual defence restored—and expecting Bayern to be more adventurous.
Bayern played it out on Tuesday looking for the draw. They set up defensively, kept their fullbacks back, and focused first on stopping Liverpool. And they didn’t even manage that, really, only surviving thanks to good fortune—or poor Liverpool finishing.
If they play the same way in the second leg, Liverpool will expect to score. If they push harder to score themselves—which they almost certainly will, being at home—Liverpool will have a stronger defence in place and look to hit back on the counter.
Nothing is given or guaranteed, of course, but Liverpool—and the club’s fans—shouldn’t be looking at Tuesday’s nil-nil as a bad result. It’s an unfortunate result, at least given how the two sides played. But it’s a result Liverpool can well work with.
“Bayern will feel better than we do now,” Kopp added. “But we have three weeks until the next game and day by day we will feel better.”