Liverpool vs Bayern : Bayern Munich have an outstanding record in this competition over the last decade, but they’re arguably in their weakest state for quite some time. Niko Kovac has struggled to give the side a clear tactical identity, and with a couple of key absences ahead of this trip to Anfield, Liverpool start as favourites.
== MATCH INFO ==
Team : Liverpool vs Bayern
Date : Wednesday, March 13
Start Time : 4:00 Pm Et
This game could be decided down the flanks. For so long defined by the wide combination of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, Bayern will start this contest with neither. Robben is out injured while Ribery travelled late after the birth of his child, while Thomas Muller is suspended and James Rodriguez set to be on the bench.
Therefore, Bayern are likely to start with Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry out wide; they are excellent wingers on their day, boasting a turn of speed and a trick. But Liverpool’s full-back pairing of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson should be capable of holding firm, and dominating the battles out wide.
Those two will also be crucial in an attacking sense. Bayern are likely to drop into a deep and narrow shape without possession, leaving plenty of space on either side. Alexander-Arnold and Robertson have proved excellent at switching play to one another with long diagonal passes, and that might be crucial in unlocking Bayern here.
Jurgen Klopp is likely to use his 4-3-3 rather than the more attack-minded 4-2-3-1 here, which means Mohamed Salah probably returning to the right flank, with Sadio Mane on the left. Those two will engage in battle with David Alaba and Rafinha, a fine full-back pairing who will nevertheless be somewhat nervous about dealing Liverpool’s flying wide players. Salah is likely to drift inside, and could be a serious threat in behind Mats Hummels, who isn’t the most mobile centre-back around.
Bayern’s chief goalscoring threat will come from Robert Lewandowski, who hit a sensational six goals in the group phase and will lead the line solo here. With Virgil van Dijk suspended after his red card against Napoli, Joe Gomez still out injured and Dejan Lovren doubtful, it seems that Fabinho will drop into the back to play alongside Joel Matip.
While Fabinho has played there on occasion and looked comfortable enough, playing against arguably European football’s best penalty box striker is a huge ask for a player more accustomed to playing in midfield or at right-back. Liverpool must keep a high defensive line, with Alisson sweeping behind.