Bayern Munich held their nerve at Anfield three weeks back and now Liverpool will need to do the same… Here’s @sam0007ster‘s preview ahead of the Champions League reverse fixture.
Pessimists continue to highlight that 2018/19 Liverpool is not the same gung-ho, helter-skelter, fast-flowing machine it was twelve months ago. In their defence, it isn’t as fiery as what fans are used to under Jürgen Klopp.
However, the manager knows full well that this season’s Liverpool is a far more adept, balanced and well-oiled machine.
In fact, 2018/19 Liverpool – which includes a world-class goalkeeper, and arguably the best centre-back in world football – is tailor-made for nights like this. A tough night lies ahead, but it should be enjoyed.
Embrace it, don’t endure it. Only two years ago, Liverpool were struggling to make the Champions League group stages, let alone the quarter finals. Context is king, remember that.
Since the 0-0 draw, Bayern have won three on the spin in the Bundesliga. Including an impressive 5-1 away win against Mönchengladbach and a 6-0 win against Wolfburg at the Allianz Arena.
Bayern Munich are on a positive streak as they prepare to host the Reds. It’s fair to say Liverpool will have to be at their very best tonight if they are to progress.
Liverpool have earned draws away at Old Trafford and Goodison, coupled with wins at home against Watford and Burnley. Four games, nine goals scored, only two conceded.
Klopp will of course be confident, though. He will know Bayern inside out and if the Reds can get an early goal, Bayern would then have to net twice. The basic point is this: everything is up for grabs.
Liverpool will be without Naby Keïta after a minor issue forced him to pull out of the 21-man squad. However, the team thankfully includes youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold after he was substituted as a precaution on Sunday.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain continues to recover from a long-term knee problem after recently playing 40 minutes against Derby for the U23s. The England international is still unavailable to feature for the first team.
Bayern will be without Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Müller who are both suspended. Arjen Robben (calf) and Corentin Tolisso (knee) are also sidelined with injuries.
However, the hosts will be boosted by the news that Kingsley Coman and David Alaba are expected to be fit after short-term injuries.
Spirit of 81?
38 years ago, Liverpool travelled to Munich for the second leg of the European Cup semi-final after drawing 0-0 with the Germans at Anfield – sound familiar?
Ray Kennedy scored that day, and whilst his goal was cancelled out, a 1-1 draw was enough to send Liverpool to the final in Paris. The rest, of course, is history.
Can Liverpool etch their name onto the last-eight cut-back list?
The Reds have lost all four of their last Champions League away games, so drastic improvement is certainly needed tonight. Klopp’s men have to be bold and hold their nerve. It promises to be an exciting evening.
Sam’s predicted line-up
Alisson; TAA, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Henderson; Mané, Salah, Firmino.