Liverpool’s 3-1 Champions League win at Bayern Munich proved they are “back at the top level of European football”, according to manager Jurgen Klopp.
Last year’s finalists eased into the quarter-finals courtesy of two goals from forward Sadio Mane and another from defender Virgil van Dijk.
“The second half was very mature,” said German manager Klopp.
“In the moments we did play football we immediately destroyed the organisation of Bayern. It’s absolutely deserved.”
Liverpool’s win means there are now four Premier League sides in the last eight, following victories for Tottenham, Manchester United and Manchester City.
Barcelona, Juventus, Porto and Ajax make up the rest of the quarter-finalists. The draw takes place on Friday.
Klopp added: “Whoever we get as an opponent we will take. The boys love the competition, they really dig in in these moments.
“The attitude was outstanding. The front three were outstanding, the boys who came on helped a lot.
“We’ve laid down a marker tonight that LFC is back on the top level of European football.”
‘I have to watch Mane’s goal 500 times’
Mane gave Liverpool a 26th minute lead – and a precious away goal – after outwitting Rafinha and keeper Manuel Neuer before Bayern levelled on the night when Joel Matip inadvertently turned into his own net.
Van Dijk headed in the second after the break as the Reds once again took a firm grip of the tie before Mane sealed the win with a header late in the game.
It was an impressive defensive display from Liverpool who limited Bundesliga champions Bayern to only two efforts on target.
“We haven’t defended like we usually defend in our away Champions League games so far, today we did,” added Klopp.
“In a game like this there will be mistakes, but you have to stay in the game and try and control it in the moments you can control it.”
The German also hailed Mane’s first goal, which was the one moment of great quality in the match.
“The first goal, I have to watch it back probably 500 times – it’s outstanding what Mane was doing,” he said.
The Senegal forward has now scored 10 goals in his past 10 games, while Liverpool’s record £75m signing Van Dijk has three goals in his past four outings.
The Dutch defender said: “It is a great evening. We knew it would be tough as they have a great team with fantastic players.
“We were unlucky on their equaliser, but we got the job done and we’re into the last eight. It is very important and it feels amazing to score.”
‘We were too defensive’
Meanwhile, Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski said his side failed to put Liverpool under enough pressure.
“We knew it’d be a tough game,” he said. “But in both games we played too defensively. We didn’t try to push forward and create situations. Today we didn’t risk that much.
“We played too deep. We tried to push Liverpool, but sometimes it was two against four. It wasn’t our game.”
Bayern coach Niko Kovac added: “We still have two titles to fight for. We’re top in the Bundesliga and we’re still in the cup. Our goal is to win both of these competitions.”