Sadio Mane endured another difficult night in front of goal in Europe as Liverpool were held to a goalless draw at home to Bayern Munich in their Champions League Round of 16 first leg.
The Senegalese forward was guilty of squandering great opportunities to break the deadlock, continuing a frustrating individual trend in the competition.
His best chance arrived in the first half when he reacted well to a loose ball on the swivel, only to drag his left-footed shot wide of Manuel Neuer’s post.
He wasn’t alone in his wastefulness either, with Liverpool as a whole struggling to supply the conviction that was required in the final third.
Mane’s misses on the night mean he has now been at fault for eight clear-cut chances amounting to nothing in the Champions League, according to Liverpool Echo columnist Andrew Beasley.
Whilst such a stat can be perceived as a negative, it must also be looked at as a sign of how active he has been as an attacking threat throughout the tournament.
The contest remains ideally-poised for another intriguing matchup when the two sides meet for the second leg in Munich on March 13.
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“But in the first half we still had chances; if Sadio hits the ball a bit better, he strikes twice with a bicycle kick, which is obviously pretty rare.”
“How it always is, a goal would have changed the game. It was like it was. The first half was still absolutely OK, we created. In the second half nobody created anymore.”
Credit must meanwhile go to Bayern Munich’s defensive stability and the huge respect they showed in recognition of Liverpool as one of Europe’s most dangerous attacking sides.
Manager Niko Kovač notably reigned in the attacking ambitions of full-backs Joshua Kimmich and David Alaba as a means of combatting the influence of opposite numbers Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson. This was also the case for the likes of Thiago Alcântara and James Rodríguez, who were often forced to prioritise their defensive work over their usual playmaking responsibilities.
That said, Liverpool could well have been heading to Germany with a win had they managed to find one or two clinical touches.
The game proved the latest indication of how valuable Naby Keita could be in the near future, with the Guinean causing the visitors problems with the speed at which he was able to transition into attack. All that was missing was the decision-making and execution of his final ball, which will undoubtedly come with time.
A meeting with the Bundesliga champions at the Allianz Arena now awaits as an entirely different challenge and one in which Bayern are unlikely to sit back in the manner they did at Anfield.
Regardless of their poor record away from home in Europe so far this season though, Liverpool will still feel rightly confident of grabbing the away goals they need.