Liverpool Are 'Back in Big Football' After UCL Win vs. Bayern, Says Jurgen Klopp

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2019

MUNICH, GERMANY - MARCH 13: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates after the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Liverpool at Allianz Arena on March 13, 2019 in Munich, Bavaria. (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)
Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp believes the club has re-established itself among Europe's elite following their 3-1 UEFA Champions League win at Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

The Reds reached the final of the competition last season, but the best team they played in the knockout phase en route were domestic rivals Manchester City.

Per Reuters (h/t ESPN FC), Klopp feels beating a European giant like Bayern at the Allianz Arena could signal a mentality shift at Anfield:

"It is an important [win] for different reasons. Important money-wise but also confidence-wise.

"Liverpool's self-awareness now must be: 'We are back. We are back on the landscape. Back in big football.'

"That was part of the plan when we started the project.

"We still have space for improvement but beating Bayern here is a big one."

"It's a big step for us. We have set a mark that this wonderful club is really at the top of the landscape of European football."

It was all to play for on Wednesday after the two sides drew 0-0 in the first leg.

Sadio Mane put Liverpool ahead with a superb effort after turning the onrushing Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer on the edge of the penalty area:

The two sides went in level at the break, though, as Joel Matip inadvertently turned in Serge Gnabry's cross past Alisson for an own goal.

Virgil van Dijk's towering header put the Reds back in front in the second half before Mane sealed the win late on with a header of his own from Mohamed Salah's sumptuous cross:

Though Bayern have been below their usual standard this season—they are top of the Bundesliga only on goal difference and have spent the majority of the campaign trailing Borussia Dortmund—the result shows how far Liverpool have come under Klopp.

Football writer Joel Rabinowitz was impressed with how straightforward the match seemed for the Reds:

Liverpool are only in the Champions League for the third time since 2010, but they will be among the most feared sides in Friday's draw for the next rounds.

They have also become title challengers domestically once again. The ability to perform well on both fronts is something the likes of Barcelona, Juventus and Bayern have in common, and the Reds are muscling their way back into that elite group.

Regaining that status was a long, arduous road for Liverpool. Now, they face a different but similarly challenging task in keeping it season after season.

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