Sunday, May 19, 2019

Prediction: Liverpool vs Bayern Munich

Verdict: Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: Bet365

European heavyweights Liverpool and Bayern Munich lock horns at Anfield on Tuesday night in arguably the most eagerly-anticipated Champions League last-16 clash.

Liverpool

Starting with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side, while Tuesday’s hosts might have seen Manchester City reclaim top spot in the Premier League, the mood in the Reds’ camp should be on a high. Picking up a 3-0 win over Bournemouth before going for nine days of warm weather training, they will be glad to make a return to Anfield in midweek. With their EFL Cup defeat to Chelsea back in September their only loss on Merseyside in any competition this season, it has been their home form in Europe really catching the eye. Last year’s Champions League finalists are unbeaten in 19 consecutive European matches at Anfield, winning 14 of those contests. One man to watch for Liverpool on Tuesday will be winger Sadio Mane. Now scoring in his last four appearances for the Reds, the Senegal man also registered seven goals in his last seven knockout matches. Despite holding the second best-attacking stats in England’s top-tier, Klopp will know his side will need to improve on some of their recent defensive issues. Liverpool have managed to record just two clean sheets in their last seven matches across all competitions.

Team News

Dejan Lovren’s hamstring injury will be assessed before Liverpool’s Champions League last-16 first leg against Bayern Munich at Anfield on Tuesday.

The Reds are already without suspended centre-back Virgil van Dijk and injured Joe Gomez, meaning Fabinho could play at centre-back if Lovren is not fit.

Midfielders Xherdan Shaqiri and Georginio Wijnaldum have both returned to training and will also be assessed.

Bayern Munich

As for the visitors, despite seeing the gap to Borussia Dortmund cut to just three points and enjoying a three-match winning run, questions are being asked about boss Niko Kovač. Having to come from 2-0 down to beat a struggling Augsburg side over the weekend, Bayern Munich are without a clean sheet in their last six and have now conceded a staggering eight goals in their last four games. With the likes of Manuel Neuer calling for an improvement in their recent performance, the five-time European champions also hold a worrying record against Liverpool. Bayern have won only one of their seven matches in European competition against the Reds. While the Bavarians’ defensive issues might be coming under some scrutiny, Tuesday’s visitors do have the Champions League leading goalscorer in their ranks. Robert Lewandowski has already bagged eight goals in his six European appearances and is remarkably now averaging a goal every 67 minutes. The Polish international will also be looking to score in his fifth consecutive Champions League appearance, something he is yet to do so far in his career.

Team News

Jerome Boateng was not named in Bayern’s travelling squad due to illness, but Niko Kovac indicated later on Monday that the centre-back may feature against Liverpool.

Kovac also told the media that he will continue to monitor the fitness of Kingsley Coman. An ankle problem forced the forward off after he’d scored twice during Bayern’s 3-2 win at Augsburg last Friday

Key Factors to Consider

  • Bayern have won only one of their seven matches in European competition against Liverpool (D4 L2).
  • Liverpool are unbeaten in 19 consecutive European matches at Anfield (W14 D5), last losing at home back in October 2014 against Real Madrid in the Champions League (3-0).
  • Top scorer in the Champions League this season with eight goals, Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski will attempt to find the net in a fifth consecutive game, a feat he has never accomplished in a same season in the competition.
  • Bayern were one of five teams to remain unbeaten in this season’s Champions League group stages.
  • Bayern are the top-scoring side from set-pieces in this season’s Champions League with eight goals.

Conclusion

On paper, this has all the makings of a match that should produce plenty of changes at both ends. While both sides have an abundance of talent in the final third, both Liverpool and particular Bayern have suffered with defensive issues of late. With both sides combined seeing 10 of their last 12 matches end with both teams finding the net, we’re expecting a lively encounter at Anfield on Tuesday night.

Verdict: Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals  

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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