Bayern Munich vs Liverpool
| Wednesday, March 13th |
Champions League | Allianz Arena
8PM BST / 3PM EST
Liverpool head to the Allianz Arena looking to make consecutive Champions League quarterfinals for the first time in a decade, and the path there is a simple one, if not easy; score at least one goal and don’t lose.
Since the first leg at Anfield, things have been going rather well for Niko Kovač’s men, as three straight wins and a 12-1 goal difference has seen them overtake Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga table for the first time since late September. Jérôme Boateng is back and Robert Lewandowski can not stop scoring.
The only degree of hardship facing the Bavarians on Wednesday night will be the continued injury absence of Arjen Robben, and the suspension of right-back and future club legend Joshua Kimmich. The former has been a recurring issue all year - and for the majority of Robben’s career, to be honest — but the latter is a new problem, and one that, given the current form of Sadio Mané, could spell genuine trouble for the Germans.
Having come away from Anfield without conceding — a rare feat in 2019 — Bayern will undoubtedly fancy their chances of repeating the accomplishment and advance to the next level of the competition.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Milner, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Mané, Firmino, Salah
On Liverpool’s end, results have been more of a mixed bag since the first leg, as the Reds have alternated nil-nil draws with thumping goalfests, putting nine past Watford and Burnley while failing to score at Manchester United and Everton. Manchester City have bypassed Jürgen Klopp’s men in the table as well, and while the difference is only a single point, it is indicative of a team struggling to consistently produce sufficient offense.
Injuries cause uncertainty as well, and Naby Keïta has remained on Merseyside with a minor knock, while the trio of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren and James Milner will be subject of an match fitness assessment on the day of the game.
All of which makes picking a starting XI largely a guessing game. Virgil van Dijk returns, having missed the first leg through suspension, and the Dutchman is likely to be partnered by Joël Matip. Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho are likely to feature in midfield, and should provide the Reds with a solid platform from which to build their performance.
Up top, Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, having managed to find the back of the net only six times between them in this season’s Champions League, are healthy and ready to begin pouring in the goals. Surely.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “We are strong enough to give them a proper game and that’s the only thing you can expect in a situation like that, in a good situation. If we can push ourselves in a special mood and play a proper football game, then we have a proper chance and that’s all I need.”
Niko Kovač: “The world will be watching us. Everyone’s excited: the players, the coaches, the fans and the media. It’s a tough game and the pressure is always on in knockout games but that’s a positive, not a negative.”
The Officials (ITA)
Referee: Daniele Orsato
Assistant referees: Lorenzo Manganelli, Fabiano Preti
Fourth official: Marco Di Bello
Video Assistant Referees: Massimiliano Irrati, Marco Guida
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.