John Gibbons: Liverpool will punish Bayern’s lack of Anfield ambition

Liverpool and Bayern Munich played out a 0-0 draw in their Champions League clash and John Gibbons feels the Germans made a mistake to settle for that…


Well, that wasn’t how it was supposed to be. Liverpool played twice at home first twice last season in the Champions League knockout stages and scored a total of eight times.

Blowing the opposition away with relentless attacking play before they could catch their breath.

That wasn’t how it was supposed to feel. All those famous European nights where The Kop has inspired a Liverpool victory, so many times against the odds. So many times against world class players who turned up full of bravado, but ended up paralysed by noise.

Against Bayern Munich, there wasn’t much of all that. Everyone tried their best, it just wasn’t one of those special nights, no matter how much we wanted it to be.

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Liverpool applied pressure, but Bayern responded. They were able to keep possession well and quieten the crowd.

Liverpool had chances first half, but frustratingly few second. If anything, the Germans looked comfortable. Which is a word you rarely use about the opposition at Anfield. So much for the ageing, creaky defence I was promised.

But, that’s not to say Liverpool played badly either. Firmino battled hard and Mane threatened. Keita probed and Henderson dominated. Fabinho was a revelation at centre half.

It was always just one pass away.

There was plenty of lads not doing a lot wrong, just not quite enough of them doing a lot right. Or maybe that is harsh. Right, but not special. It was a game that needed a special moment to light it up, and the Liverpool players couldn’t quite provide it.

Bayern looked a touch too pleased with themselves at full time for me. They’re going to have to beat this Liverpool team now.

Reckon you can do that? Well, all the best. They’ll have to show more going forward than they did tonight, and should face a Liverpool backline that’s much stronger, with real centre halves set to return.

Although a few attacking players who might return themselves. It’s set up to be a great game anyway. The Liverpool fans who are travelling over to Munich can’t say they aren’t going to witness a match with everything on the line.

The away leg is a long time in the future, though. After Old Trafford, Goodison and a total of four games that may shape the destiny of the Premier League title.

But, Liverpool will go to Germany in four weeks’ time with plenty to respect, but not a huge amount to fear. For all Bayern’s old-school sensibleness and German-ness, they might regret not trying to force an away goal. Especially if Liverpool can.

It’s different from last season, but the whole season has been different. A team built in a different way.

Designed to be sturdier and capable of withholding pressure, of which there will be plenty in Germany. Fewer games like Roma at home, but less games like Roma away too. The Maribor seven a distant memory, but so too the Sevilla collapse.

Football is a balance and Liverpool have got it right this season more often than last. Even if I was desperate for the ten-minute blitz last night where the opposition look dazed and The Reds rampant.

The bookies will probably favour the Bavarians now, but I still fancy the Scousers. This team is more serious about its business this season, but the business needs to be winning trophies.

If Liverpool are going to do that it’s a massive few weeks ahead, at home and abroad.

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