Liverpool go into the second leg of their round of 16 Champions League tie against Bayern Munich with every chance of qualifying for the last eight.
With the score finely balanced at 0-0 it could go either way out in Bavaria. Form Labs are here to provide insight and betting tips into Wednesday night’s huge clash at the Allianz Arena.
Bayern’s season has a far more positive outlook having won all three matches since the first leg, including 5-1 and 6-0 wins over Gladbach and Wolfsburg respectively in their last two, with those results enough to overtake Dortmund at the head of the table on goal difference for the first time since September. Our home form has continued to look strong since the Germans visited Anfield, registering 5-0 and 4-2 victories over Watford and Burnley, though we’ve only achieved a pair of goalless stalemates on the road at Man Utd and Everton.
It’s difficult to place too much emphasis on our league results with regards to European ambitions, with the pressure cooker of the title race far greater at this crucial stage of the season. Conversely, Bayern have being sauntering through domestic games with some relentless pressing creating plenty of chances, while by contrast they served up a cautious approach against us in the first leg. Frankly, that was a sign of respect from a European heavyweight and it will be interesting to see how Niko Kovac plays it back at the Allianz where the fans may demand a less negative approach.
Robert Lewandowski has rightly received plenty of plaudits this week having become the top foreign goalscorer in the Bundesliga’s history, and as the Champions League’s top scorer this term to date, is certainly a major threat at the spearhead of attack. However, it’s the midfield where this game is likely to be won or lost, with Thiago Alcantara and James Rodriguez set to be crucial to the Bavarians’ chances. The former in particular has an ability to wriggle out of tight scenarios and is quick to move the ball forward and get Bayern on the attack, while he certainly possesses the vision and ability to complete the pass. Our own pressing under Klopp could see this go one way or the other, but there’s certainly the danger that the Italian born Spaniard with a famous Brazilian father could make this a night to rue.
Bayern are however a tad stretched with Thomas Muller and Joshua Kimmich suspended, while Arjen Robben has joined long-term absentee Corentin Tolisso on the sidelines. That means they’ll be sweating over the fitness of Kingsley Coman and David Alaba, with 35-year-old Franck Ribery set to start this clash. Meanwhile, Trent Alexander-Arnold is fortunately expected to recover from the issue that culminated in a precautionary substitution late on against Burnley, which is crucial given what he offers with his deliveries from out wide. Moreover, we’re further boosted by the return of Virgil van Dijk after he sat out the first leg through suspension, and Bayern may regret not showing enough attacking ambition in the first leg when they had the chance to get at a backline without the Dutch captain.
Bayern are not quite the same force as in recent seasons gone by, but they remain a quality outfit and will have to show a little more going forwards than they did in the first leg. They’re certainly capable of scoring against us but a more open second leg is likely and any away goals we score should prove fatal. For all we’ve dropped points recently, teams haven’t been beating us and away from the pressure of the title race, a little more freedom could go a long way towards seeing us into the next round.
*Odds are subject to change
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