Mane and Salah send warning to Premier League as speedy Liverpool stun Bayern

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The Reds were at their authoritative, attacking best at the Allianz Arena, beating the Bundesliga champions 3-0 to set up a final against Atletico


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If Premier League defenders decided to switch on the second fixture of the Audi Cup on Tuesday night, they would have soon been fretting.

Lining up against Bayern Munich was “a level up” for Liverpool during their pre-season preparations according to Jurgen Klopp, but the same aggressive attacking that undid Tranmere Rovers, Wigan Athletic, Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Hertha Berlin proved the trick again at the Allianz Arena.

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HD Sadio Mane Liverpool celebrate v Bayern

It was, of course, superior execution against supreme opposition.

As a storm broke over the stadium, so too did Liverpool with their own thunder and lightning on the ball as well as when they swarmed to win it back.

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Bayern had attempted to assert early control on their own turf, but were disrupted by Liverpool’s chaos - the pressing, the pace, the intent.

Mohamed Salah had already provided plenty of evidence since his initial £36.9 million switch from Roma as to why he’ll be torturous to opposition rearguards, but the game served up the first sample of the Egyptian operating in tandem with Sadio Mane.

And they made it rain for the opening 45 minutes. 

Roberto Firmino, renowned during his time in the Bundesliga for being a “thiever of balls,” dispossessed Corentin Tolisso and fed the Senegal international’s darting run.

Mane took a touch with his left, before using the same foot to blast across goalkeeper Sven Ulreich and put the Reds 1-0 ahead.

HD Sadio Mane Liverpool

Having only made his opening outing of pre-season in the 2-0 victory over Hertha Berlin on Saturday and admitting he’s not yet at 100 per cent, Liverpool’s reigning Player of the Season displayed a further bit of mastery as Klopp’s side doubled their advantage.

Firmino again released Mane, who stood up Javi Martinez and waited for Alberto Moreno’s overlap, before rolling the ball back and flicking it to the Spaniard.

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The left-back delivered a cross that Ulreich couldn’t quite cut out and despite Bayern having five markers in the box, Salah freed himself to head in at the far post.

Klopp applauded the patience, improvisation, support and intelligence behind the move, which was straight out of Liverpool's training playbook.

Mane was stationed on the left with Salah on the opposite flank, moving centrally when Firmino dropped deep.

The fluidity of the front three was mirrored in midfield, with Philippe Coutinho starting as a No. 8, sometimes taking possession further back than Jordan Henderson and also featuring as the left forward.

HD Mohamed Salah Sadio Mane

Liverpool’s fluidity will be one of their biggest assets in the upcoming campaign, while defence - their ultimate weakness - was quite impressive against Bayern. Loris Karius was proactive and commanding between the sticks, while Moreno turned in an accomplished performance, which was saluted by his manager.

Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip again displayed facets of a neat partnership, with the latter explaining that their contrasting styles merge well.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, at 18, stifled Franck Ribery and David Alaba. There are some sentences that do not need to be elaborated on - this is one of them.

And even when Klopp introduced multiple changes, those sent on continued to keep Bayern chasing the game.

Fantastic work from Ryan Kent to skip past Rafinha and set up Marko Grujic, who converted with aplomb, was ruled out due to Adam Lallana obstructing the goalkeeper.

A third for Liverpool did arrive, in audacious style too, with Ben Woodburn crafting a superb ball to Daniel Sturridge; the striker meeting it with a phenomenal clipped finish.

The England international had to be replaced having pulled his thigh in the process of scoring that beauty, but insisted the injury was “nothing serious” afterwards.

HD Jurgen Klopp

Despite Liverpool’s authority at the Allianz, Klopp noted the display was not as complete as he’d have liked it to be. 

“Nearly everything was super, but we're still in our preparations,” he said.

“We haven't played enough football so far. Bayern had too much possession tonight. We had to run around too much.

“But at times my team showed how good they can play football. The third goal was great. In attack we were really good.

“In the first half we were very dangerous on the counter, the pressing was very good.

“I see we are right at the start of getting there. We have trained a lot around these games. It's not that we are fresh and top fit for the preparation games. I am satisfied but I think we can play better.

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“It's Atletico [Madrid in the final] tomorrow and I hear it wasn't a friendly game for them against Napoli. I hope things will calm down as we want to play a bit.”

Diego Simeone’s men will undoubtedly attempt to be more frustrating opponents for the Reds, but if their attacking players are in a thunderous mood again, the forecast may be ominous for the La Liga side.

Similarly, too, for those tasked with negating Liverpool when the season starts. 

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