MUNICH, Germany - Sadio Mané provided a thrilling reminder of what Liverpool missed last season as he led Liverpool into the final of the Audi Cup.
Mané 's absence through an injury to his left knee was keenly felt in the closing weeks of last season but against a startled Bayern Munich, he looked as good as ever.
There was a sting in the tail for Jurgen Klopp, however, with Daniel Sturridge sustaining what appeared to be a thigh injury as he scored the final goal in a 3-0 dismantling of their distinguished hosts.
Mané opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a wonderful finish and then provided a piece of magic to create the second for Mohamed Salah as Liverpool blitzed Carlo Ancelotti’s team. On Wednesday night Klopp’s side will take on Atletico Madrid, who earlier beat Napoli 2-1.
You could sense in the manager’s tone in the pre-tournament press conference that this game carried great importance, both from a personal and professional point of view. He wanted to see where Liverpool stood against one of Europe’s finest teams and on the evidence they provided, they stand up favourably. Bayern, who contest the German Super Cup on Saturday, had no answer to Liverpool’s flying start.
Roberto Firmino sent Mane sprinting away in the sixth minute to open the scoring, his left-foot strike deceiving Sven Ulreich.
Then, in the 34th minute, Mané bamboozled Javi Martinez with a drag-back that let in Alberto Moreno, and after Ulreich parried his shot, Salah nodded in the rebound.
Substitute Sturridge was put through by Ben Woodburn and his chipped finish was exquisite but he immediately pulled up. It remains to be seen how serious the issue is for the injury-tormented striker.