Liverpool vs Bayern Munich

Together we won it 10 times - Liverpool vs Bayern Munich.

Article by DBM.

Alright ladies and gents, after ten days of drought not seeing our beautiful LFC play it’s finally match day again (yes, Jay!). In fact, it’s not any match day – we’ll finally have a European Night at Anfield again, facing one of the biggest giants in world football, Bayern Munich, who just like us have already won the Champions League five times. Whatsoever, both teams haven’t been up to their best as of late, so we might see two (somewhat) struggling European giants fighting for the next round in a fiercely contested dog fight manner:

Two-puppies-play-fighting

Joking aside - despite Bayern not being on their best form at the moment, it is undoubtedly one of the hardest teams we could face at this point. The harsh reality is, that both teams are not performing on a top level right now and both have a point to prove, which should make the game an extremely exciting one. For Bayern, it’s a make-or-break season: their new manager, Kovac, is under heavy criticism and advancing in the CL is vital for him. As such, we should expect Bayern to give their all from the very first second.

Our own focus is clearly set on the Premier League, with Klopp having already publicly stated that he’d prefer winning the PL with Liverpool. However, after our devastating loss in last year's Champions League final against the team that shall not be named, our players and especially Jürgen are eager to go all the way in the most prestigious football tournament.

The last time we faced Bayern was during pre-season about two years ago in which - let’s be brutally honest - we simply crushed them in what was a solid 3:0 win. Admittedly, it was just a friendly, but neither of the two teams changed a lot in terms of players, so it’s definitely a good starting point for comparison.

Absentees: 

The most worrying aspects for us are our injured and suspended players, which leave us little to no room for variation. In fact, we’ll even have to adapt by probably using either Fabinho or Henderson as a centre back.

Our long-term injured players, Gomez and Ox, are joined by Dejan Lovren (hamstring, ruled out), while Shaqiri is still in doubt and Firmino apparently got ill because the chef in Marbella - a diehard Bayern supporter - allegedly tried to kill him with a poisoned prawn. The most noticeable absence, however, will be the bastion of calm himself, VVD, who is suspended because of receiving a yellow card against Napoli. 

In case our magical number nine doesn’t get fit overnight the line-up will probably look like this:

Predicted-team-line-up-graphic

In Bobby’s absence, I’d expect Salah to play as the main striker with Shaqiri playing on the right. However, Klopp could still surprise us by picking either Origi or Sturridge upfront, thereby keeping Salah on the right. Personally, I think that starting Shaqiri is a good idea, mainly because he knows most of the Bayern players and he definitely has a point to prove against his old team. 

The midfield pretty much picks itself, as Fabinho moves back in defense to cover for our all-time injured Lovren. The only question is whether Milner or Keita will get the nod. I picked Keita because he has that little extra trickery/skill-set to surprise the opponent. Admittedly, he hasn’t shown a lot of that so far, but he has somewhat improved in recent games and, just like Shaqiri, knows the opponent pretty well from his days in the Bundesliga.

Bayern also has a few (key) players on their absentee list: 

Robben, injured.
Boateng, ill (those prawns seem to be very tempting).
Müller, suspended. 
On the other side Goretzka, who missed training yesterday should be fit and Kingsley Coman, who was slightly injured, has been given a go to play today. As such we can expect Bayern to line up in a 4-3-3: 

--------------Neuer
Kimmich - Süle - Hummels - Alaba
---Goretzka - Thiago - James
Gnabry - Lewandowski - Coman 

4 Key Battles:

Lewandowski vs our patchwork defense

Lewandowski on his day is simply scoring goals for fun – but not only that, he’s also an incredibly gifted player that helps his surrounding players play a lot. Considering our vastly weakened defense, there is no doubt that he will cause trouble. I didn’t single out a specific player against him because I perceive the job of dealing with Lewandowski as one the whole team needs to work on. In that matter, it will be extremely important that our midfield tracks back a lot to break up play and block passes directed at him. Minimizing his threat will be key to success against Bayern.

Trent Alexander Arnold vs Coman

With TAA just coming back from injury, this is going to be an extremely interesting one. Coman has lightning quick pace and his dribbling abilities in 1v1 situations make him frankly unstoppable by one defender alone. Trent is usually very solid, however he does have the odd positioning mistake in him every now end then, given that he’s still very young and learning. Nevertheless, we should be extremely happy he’s back and hope that he’ll be able to play fully fit tonight.

Mane vs Kimmich

This match-up is basically the same as Trent vs Coman, just on the other side of the pitch. Kimmich falls in the same mould as TAA: Home grown rising talent, really good with the ball & great offensive play, but lacking the defensive mindset sometimes. Liverpool would certainly do well in moving the play on that side, as putting pressure on Kimmich would also mean that he’d have to sacrifice some of his offensive play for defensive duties. Especially with Firmino most likely missing the game, the likes of Mane and Salah will need to perform on the highest level.

Wijnaldum vs Goretzka

Gini and Goretzka are their respective teams most inform midfielders at the moment. As both of them are typical, freely roaming box-to-box midfielders, they will regularly face each other directly in the middle of the park. Goretzka, who Klopp was allegedly also monitoring last summer is a very fast and dynamic all-rounder in midfield who can do it all – tackling, passing, scoring. Gini, being very similar to Goretzka, will need to watch out and track the opposing powerhouse all game, while also trying to keep the German on his toes.

European Nights...

Personally I’m extremely excited for the game to come – European Anfield nights are always something special and this is the opportunity to show what we’re capable of on the very big stage once more. Liverpool is pretty hyped in Germany at the moment, which means that also a lot of neutral fanatics are going to watch the game. Klopp himself will also be very eager to impress the people in his home country, so there’s even more reason to go out and deliver tonight.

So let’s bring it on, looking forward for some BOOOOOMs tonight!

Oh, and by the way, Stu, I almost forgot mentioning the Bayern Munich mascot: Berni the Bear (he loves Christmas).

Bayern-Munich-Mascot-Berni-Bear

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Prediction League bonus point questions:
1. LFC’s result (Win, Lose or Draw) 1pt
2. Final score (must have #1 correct to be eligible) 1pt
3. Total shots on target by LFC. 1pt
4. First LFC goal scorer. 1pt
5. Echo’s LFC player of the game. 1pt
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