Liverpool may have claimed the notable scalp of Bayern Munich in the last-16 of the Champions League, but Steve Nicol claims the Reds’ performance in a 3-1 win at the Allianz Arena was “atrocious”.
Having played out a 0-0 draw at Anfield, Jurgen Klopp headed to his native Germany on Wednesday looking for a priceless away goal.
Sadio Mane’s inspired spinning finish inside 26 minutes delivered just what the Reds were after and allowed them to seize control of a heavyweight encounter.
A Joel Matip own goal briefly offered hope to Bayern, but second-half efforts from Virgil van Dijk and Mane ensured that it would be Liverpool marching on into the quarter-finals.
The Reds have earned plenty of plaudits for the manner in which they set about securing European progress, but a former defender believes the failings of an out-of-sorts opponent contributed more to their success than anything that they delivered themselves.
Ex-Liverpool star Nicol told ESPN FC: “I would love to say that Liverpool came and were just too clever and sat in a great spot.
“But the truth is that I don’t think Bayern knew what they wanted to do.
“Clearly in the first leg they sat and gave nothing away.
“But at home, and the reason we all thought they were favourites, you’d expect them to be pushing again, but they didn’t. They didn’t go forward, they just sort of sat and waited.
“If you look at the stats, the only reason they had more possession was because Liverpool kept giving them the ball.
“That had nothing to do with what they were doing. Liverpool on the ball in this game overall, I thought they were atrocious. I thought they were as bad as I’ve ever seen.
“But it goes to show you stats don’t mean anything, and the only thing that matters is the scoreline, and Liverpool won 3-1.”
The Reds have joined Premier League rivals Manchester United, Tottenham and Manchester City in the quarter-finals.
Their next opponents will be revealed in Friday’s draw, with Barcelona, Ajax, Juventus and Porto completing the line up of last-eight hopefuls.