The knockout stages of the Champions League returns back to Anfield once again as the Reds faceoff against Jurgen Klopp’s former foe, Bayern Munich. The Anfield Talk’s Logan (@kidddlogan) previews the first leg of the Round of 16 tie.
Liverpool makes a return to the knockout stages once again, but this time there is a special feeling in the air. With the Premier League title race looming over Anfield, there is a pure belief of a double. Bayern Munich has a tall mountain to climb tonight as the Anfield crowd will be top class once again to push the Reds over the injuries and suspensions.
Klopp and his men returned back from a warm-weather training session in Marbella after the thrashing of a struggling Bournemouth side. Since the return from Spain, the Reds were handed some massive blows to the squad for the matchup with Bayern. Roberto Firmino trained yesterday by himself as he is recovering from a virus and is in question to line up against Bayern. Klopp refused to rule out Dejan Lovren for the match, but it is very likely he will not feature.
Liverpool should be able to capitalize on Bayern’s struggles defensively this season. The counter attack has been Bayern’s biggest weakness so far this season. Sadio Mane and Mo Salah have be readily available to chase down the balls over the top to catch out Bayern’s centre-backs.
With the suspension of Virgil van Dijk for the first leg, Liverpool will have to put in a complete defensive shift. From the forwards to the defence, Liverpool has to be able to collectively defend against this very dangerous Bayern attack. Expect Fabinho to partner Joel Matip at the back due to the absence of Lovren. Keeping Bayern off of the scoresheet in this first leg is pivotal as the tie shifts back to the Allianz.
Niko Kovac’s Bayern squad has been very inconsistent so far this season. The defensive struggles have been the headline as they’re currently losing out on the title race this season. Robert Lewandowski has lead the front lines for Bayern this season and along with his comrades, will be licking their chops at the defensive struggles Liverpool have for this first leg. Getting the crucial away goal will be the top priority for Kovac as they look to take a lead back to the Allianz.
Thomas Muller will not be available for the German side as he is suspended for the first leg. Arjen Robben and Corentin Tolisso are also sidelined for the first leg with injuries.
I think that it could be another classic European night at Anfield. I believe that Liverpool can pull out a 2-0 win.