Liverpool and Bayern Munich played out a highly entertaining 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie at Anfield on Tuesday night, as the visitors took a welcome clean sheet back to the Allianz Arena.
The opening stages were fairly disjointed, as both sides came to grips with the other's press, and sought out avenues of space. But, as the first half progressed, these pockets of air were found more and more regularly - with the Reds stringing together some scintillating moves.
Sadio Mane missed a gilt-edged chance in the 32nd minute, scuffing his swivelled effort wide from around seven yards after Naby Keita's deflected shot found its way to him in acres of space.
As the second half went on, it was the Reds who were naturally pushing the hardest for an opener, but chances were at a premium, with the Bayern defence remaining resolute.
Check out our breakdown of the game below.
Key Talking Point
After all the pre-match talk was dominated with concern about the centre of defence, it was actually in the flanks where Liverpool were most worried by Bayern, particularly when Serge Gnabry was roaming down Andy Robertson's wing in the first half.
The second half was a bit more comfortable, and both Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold were able to delve higher up the field to aid their teammates. But those teammates were unable to translate any of their considerable pressure into real goalscoring chances.
And, when they did, it was usually scuppered by poor end product, with just two of their 15 shots testing Manuel Neuer.
Jordan Henderson has had an outstanding first half. 👏— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) February 19, 2019
Not a bad European night for Jurgen Klopp's men, but not as good as they've been in recent times on Merseyside.
Starting XI: Alisson (6); Alexander-Arnold (6), Matip (7), Fabinho (7), Robertson (6); Wijnaldum (7), Henderson (8*), Keita (7); Mane (6), Salah (7), Firmino (7).
Liverpool fans seeing Fabinho and Matip are starting at centre back pic.twitter.com/OcvQDMPCo4— ODDSbible (@ODDSbible) February 19, 2019
Substitutes: Milner (6), Origi (6).
STAR MAN - With Virgil Van Dijk suspended, the Reds were in need of a commanding presence at the back, and boy did they find it in Joel Matip. The former Schalke player looked as comfortable as you can be against an opponent as esteemed as Bayern.
While Gnabry and Kingsley Coman patrolled the wings, Robert Lewandowski was marshalled within an inch of his life by Matip, and that's no easy feat. Less said about his effort at death, however.
Key Talking Point
Just as with Liverpool, it was the absences in Bayern's starting XI that were more noteworthy than the inclusions. No Arjen Robben, no Thomas Muller, no Jerome Boateng, no Franck Ribery.
Banner criticising cost of tickets appears in the Bayern end. Anfield applauding. pic.twitter.com/FR0I88KrGT— Rory Smith (@RorySmith) February 19, 2019
But, if the main rap on them this season had been their ailing speed and conditioning, then perhaps the old guard's absence was telling. Because the Bavarians played with a speed and a press that troubled their opponents in a way many thought impossible.
No one highlighted this changing of the guard more than Gnabry and Coman, who were at the heart of everything positive Niko Kovac's side did at Anfield, though the centre back pairing of Niklas Sule and Mats Hummels were as good as they've been this season.
One day Gnabry will finally prove he's good enough for Arsenal— Barney Ronay (@barneyronay) February 19, 2019
Starting XI: Neuer (7); Kimmich (7), Sule (7), Hummels (7), Alaba (7); Thiago (8), Martinez (7), James Rodriguez (5); Gnabry (8*), Lewandowski (7), Coman (8).
Substitutes: Ribery (6), Sanches (N/A), Rafinha (N/A).
STAR MAN - No question here. The former Arsenal man - who never seemed to get a sniff at the Emirates, despite obvious promise - was simply electric. Every Bayern chance, every attack, every moment of danger seemed to be catalysed by Gnabry.
Not sure Arsenal made the right decision letting Gnabry move on _— Ray Parlour (@RealRomfordPele) February 19, 2019
He was no slouch in defence, either, providing his side with a couple of key interventions at the other end of the field.