England’s most successful side in European competition, Liverpool ensured its place in the quarter finals of the Champions League courtesy of a 3-1 win over Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
Jurgen Klopp said his Liverpool side proved they are “back on the European stage” after an impressive win.
Sadio Mane scored twice at the Allianz Arena to put last season’s finalists Liverpool through with a 3-1 aggregate last-16 win.
“It’s a big step to get this club back on the European stage and I am really happy,” said Liverpool’s German manager.
“If Barcelona, if Real Madrid come here, they know this is a hard place to win.
“It’s a big step for us, let’s see what we can do with it, but we have a set a bar for this wonderful club that we really are back on the landscape of top international football.
“We think that is where this club should be, but let’s carry on, we have a lot to learn, a lot to improve, but we’re back.”
Having missed the goalless first leg at Anfield three weeks ago through suspension, Virgil van Dijk’s long pass led to Mane’s excellent first-half goal.
“His first goal was ridiculous, the calmness with how he’s finished it off,” Liverpool midfielder James Milner told BT Sport.
“He’s on fire at the minute and let’s hope it continues for the rest of the season.”
Dutch centre-back Van Dijk then headed Liverpool into a 2-1 lead from a Milner corner on 69 minutes after Joel Matip’s own goal had handed Bayern a first-half equaliser.
Mane made sure of Liverpool’s place in the quarter-final draw by nodding in six minutes from time.
Liverpool’s victory means they join Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Manchester United in the quarter-finals, completing a clean sweep of English sides reaching the last eight for the first time since 2008/09.
“It is good for English football — that’s what you want,” added Milner.
“We have good feelings from last year, so hopefully we can carry that on and go as far as we can.”
It is a bleaker picture in Germany as Bayern’s exit leaves no Bundesliga club in the quarters for the first time since 2005/06, as Borussia Dortmund and Schalke also bowed out in the last 16 — to Tottenham and Man City respectively.
“Both teams were very cautious for a long period, but the second goal took the belief out of us,” said Bayern defender Mats Hummels.
“Jurgen Klopp is good at neutralising the opponents’ strengths and he did that once again.
Liverpool have played 10 games, won four, lost four and drawn two. First, three of the wins came against Porto, Maribor and Hoffenheim, and the fourth came in the second leg of last year’s quarterfinal against Manchester City.
Those four wins also all came in last season’s competition. Their away record in this season’s has been plain old awful: played three, lost three, scored one, conceded six.
The defeats away to Napoli and Red Star Belgrade, in particular, were bad, among the worst Liverpool performances since Klopp took over the club in 2015.
Over all three group stage away games, the Reds managed five shots on target, one of which was a penalty.