It’s Liverpool vs Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Champions League. Two European super powers going head to head for the first time in 18 years.
In what looks to be the clash of the round, Klopp will return to the Allianz Arena for the first time in 5 years. But before that we’ll host them at Anfield.
Bayern’s form at present doesn’t make this as ominous a tie as years gone by, but they boast an impressive playing squad including a red hot Robert Lewandowski who continues to post phenomenal figures (including 8 in the Champions League group stages this season, making him the top scorer in the competition so far). We’ll have to shut him out without big Virgil Van Dijk in the first leg at Anfield, though Lewa will be without his pal Thomas Müller after he inexplicably karate kicked Ajax’s Tagliafico in the head in the last group stage fixture.
The second leg sees us return to Munich. Of course, Bayern now play at the impressive Allianz Arena, having moved in after construction for the 2006 World Cup. Previously they had played at the Olympiastadion Munich, the ground at which Liverpool famously progressed to the European Cup final in 1981.
Bayern’s pedigree is plain to see. They’re a tour de force. But what is certain is that nobody wanted to pull Liverpool out of the hat for this round.
Ernesto Valverde: “We wanted to avoid a rival like Liverpool, the current runners-up in Europe.”
Niko Kovač : “That’s the hardest draw we could have gotten. Liverpool were in the final last year, they are currently first in the PL and top favorites for the Champions League”
Kovač has endured a tougher than imagined start to life as Bayern head coach. They currently sit third in the league after 15 games, having won 9, drawn 3 and lost 3. The last thing Kovac will want is a first knockout round exit from the Champions League. His aged squad won’t fancy Klopp’s relentless Liverpool side. Boateng, Hummels & Sule will be having nightmares thinking about the running power of our strikers.
This is what the Champions League is all about. Those spine tingling renditions of You’ll Never Walk Alone; Tony Britten’s Champions League anthem belting out as Jurgen and his boys out onto that Anfield turf, the whole world watching.