Bayern Munich made light work of FC Barcelona in the Champions League on the weekend so here’s why Liverpool fans are smiling.
If Liverpool Football Club broke Barcelona last year when they overturned a 3-0 deficit at Anfield and scored the greatest corner of all time, then what on earth is losing 8-2 to Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals going to do to them?
Rewind the clock 15 months, Luis Suarez looks more baffled than upset as he stares at a scoreboard reading Liverpool 4 – 0 Barcelona while Philippe Coutinho sits dejected on the bench having dropped a stinker on his return to his former hunting ground.
After all, it was the second year in a row that the Catalan club had bottled a three-goal lead to crash spectacularly out of the Champions League.
On Friday night however, the two South Americans had very different experiences.
Having been shipped out to Bayern on loan to make way for Antoine Griezmann, Coutinho looked almost embarrassed at the final whistle.
The Brazilian started the match on the bench, being introduced with the 5-2 scoreline accurately reflecting the Bavarians domination across the previous 75 minutes.
In the space of seven minutes, Coutinho set up Lewandowski and tapped home twice himself from close range to register his only goal contributions since the restart.
Despite the former Red having forced his way out of the club to get a dream move to Barcelona, I found it extremely hard to be happy when the Catalans simply cast him aside.
At Liverpool, he was one of my favourite players to watch out on the pitch and I genuinely felt for him with how poorly he’d been treated in Spain.
His celebrations were a little sheepish given the embarrassing magnitude of the scoreline but you could tell the little magician had enjoyed the 90-minute spectacle.
He’s not the only one!
Liverpool fans would’ve tuned in regardless of Coutinho featuring for Bayern or not in order to get a glimpse of rumoured target and fellow former Barcelona player Thiago.
The Spaniard didn’t disappoint.
Given the role of the deeper-lying midfielder, Thiago was one of only three starting outfield players who didn’t register a goal or an assist but his 71 accurate passes were the most on the pitch while his three completed dribbles was second only to Alphonso Davies.
Bayern’s no.6 seemed to frequently be in the right place at the right time too to prevent his former club from countering against Bayern’s high defensive line.
Finally, there is one more reason that Liverpool fans would have been happy to see the back of Barcelona in this year’s Champions League.
Aside from watching Thiago, loving the irony of Coutinho rubbing the salt into Barca’s wounds and Bayern Munich being the only team that really looks like it would challenge Pep’s Man City, the German’s winning this year’s Champions League will actually benefit the Reds’ financially.
A clause from the deal Barcelona agreed with Liverpool upon signing Coutinho sees the Reds entitled to a £4.5m payout if he wins the Champions League in either the 2018/19 or 2019/20 seasons (he was ineligible to feature in the 17/18 season).
Incredibly, this is not specific to him winning it in a Barcelona jersey!
If Bayern beat Lyon, they would surely be the favourites to win the final and they’ll have knocked out some of the Reds’ biggest foes along the way.