Mane guides Liverpool to history in Champions League

Super Sadio Mane helps Liverpool equal 10-year-old Champions League record

Two goals from Sadio Mane and another from Virgil van Dijk saw Liverpool join Premier League rivals Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, meaning English clubs have matched their own record in the competition.

The Premier League is the only one in Europe to have ever had four clubs represented in the quarter-final stage of the elite club competition, with Manchester City, Man. United and Tottenham already booking their places in the last eight thanks to aggregate wins over FA Schalke 04, Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund respectively.

And  Jurgen Klopp’s men completed the line-up by repeating the feat achieved by English teams in the 2007/08 and 2008/09 seasons courtesy of their 3-1 second-leg victory over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night.

There had been previous instances of all three of a country’s entrants reaching the last eight but the Premier League’s long-established ‘big four’ at the time – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United – made history by seeing off AC Milan, Olympiakos, Inter Milan and Olympique Lyon respectively in 2008’s last 16.

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Liverpool beat the Gunners 5-3 on aggregate in their quarter-final clash before falling to Chelsea in the last four, after the Blues had seen off Turkish side, Fenerbahce, in their last eight clash.

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Meanwhile, the Red Devils beat AS Roma and then Barcelona before winning on penalties in the only all-English final in the competition, with Chelsea captain John Terry hitting a post before Edwin Van Der Sar saved from Nicolas Anelka.

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The following season, Arsenal’s penalty shoot-out win over Roma in the round of 16 ensured a repeat performance the following year, and the Gunners and United went on to beat Villarreal and FC Porto respectively in the last eight.

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However, the greatest excitement came in a thrilling second leg between Chelsea and Liverpool, with the Blues salvaging a 4-4 draw to complete a dramatic 7-5 aggregate win. Chelsea would end up getting controversially edged out by Barca in the semi-finals. United on their part comfortably beat Arsenal in the semi-final, but  with the Catalan giants victorious in the final after goals from Samuel Eto’o and Lionel Messi.

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Those are two of the five occasions when one nation provided three semi-finalists – including the preceding 2006-07 season when Chelsea, United and eventual runners-up Liverpool were all present.

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Spain was the first nation to achieve that feat in 1999-2000, when Valencia beat Barcelona in the semi-finals before losing to Real Madrid in the final, with England’s Steve McManaman among the scorers. Then AC Milan won a local derby against Inter in 2003 and went on to edge Juventus on penalties in an all-Italian final.

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