John Barnes Claims Liverpool Start as Favourites in UCL Clash With Bayern Munich

Liverpool legend John Barnes has claimed the Reds are favourites in their Champions League last 16 clash with Bayern Munich.

Jurgen Klopp’s side take on the Bavarian giants in the first leg of their tie on Tuesday evening, and Barnes has claimed that the latter have suffered from the consequences of an ageing side. 

FBL-EUR-C1-REAL MADRID-BAYERN MUNICH

With the likes of influential stars Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery now in their thirties, the former England international revealed that the Reds should have too much energy and dynamism for the ?Bundesliga side.

Speaking exclusively for bookmaker comparison platform BonusCodeBets.co.uk, he said: “?This is the first time that I would make ?Liverpool favourites, if you had to play Bayern in the last 4/5 years compared to playing them now, they don’t seem to have the same drive and determination that they had previously. 

“Liverpool have too much pace for them, the game will be won on strength, hunger and determination of which Liverpool have in abundance.

?Bayern aren’t as dominant in the Bundesliga and have a number of old players in their squad. Of course, they are still a fantastic team, but they don’t seem to have the same dynamism as we’ve seen in the past with Robben and Ribery.

“Bayern, Real Madrid and Barcelona in the last five or six years have been the three dominant teams in Europe – but if you look at what they’re doing in their leagues now, teams are much more able to compete with them and get results. It’s a good time for Liverpool to be playing Bayern.”


However, despite claiming Klopp’s men would start as favourites for the game, Barnes raised some concerns about the impact Virgil van Dijk’s absence could have on the rest of the side, but backed his former club to cope without the Dutchman.

He added: “It’s a one-off opportunity here with Virgil van Dijk suspended and Liverpool will need other players to step up. ?Lovren proved he was a good player this summer in getting to the final of the World Cup, but Van Dijk playing so well has really impacted his game-time. 

“Should Van Dijk have been out of action for 5-7 games, the result would be evident on the team. But the players on Tuesday should be able to cope without him, hopefully for Liverpool’s sake his absence isn’t too much of an issue. They are playing against a good side, so we’d much rather have him than not, but hopefully it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

“With players like Lewandowski and Robben, they’ve got some fantastic players with lots of quality in all areas of the field, and on a one-off opportunity they can make something out of nothing.”

Despite the Reds being on course for their first ?Premier League triumph in over two decades, Barnes insisted this season would not be considered a failure if they failed to pick up any trophies.

Jurgen Klopp

Barnes revealed: “The season would not at all been a failure if Liverpool weren’t to win anything. I would rather finish second in the league, 5 or 6 points off the top and not win the champions league, rather than win the champions league, but be 20 points off the top. That shows you the team you are in terms of consistency, week in, week out. 

“Winning the cups, but being 20 or so points off the top, shows an inconsistent team. You can win the Champions League by luck when you look at teams like Porto that have won in the past. 

“If you’re 4/5 points off the top, you’re consistently challenging each week, you’re performing in a good manner. It’s always about how close you can get to the top of the league for me showing the team you are domestically.”

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Liverpool Handed Scare as Roberto Firmino Misses Training Before Crunch Bayern Munich Clash

?Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino was a no-show at Liverpool’s Melwood training ground on Monday, ahead of the club’s crucial Champions League first leg clash against Bayern Munich at Anfield on Tuesday night. 

The Reds had expected to be without Dejan Lovren, who was also absent from the session, as well as the recovering Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the fitness of ?Firmino had never been in doubt. 


??But, according to Liverpool Echo reporter James Pearce, as revealed on his personal Twitter account, the Brazilian forward was not present at Monday’s training session ahead of the pivotal European battle against the Bavarians. 

In a series of tweets, Pearce explained: “Dejan Lovren not training at Melwood. Looks certain to be Fabinho alongside Matip at CB v Bayern. Oxlade-Chamberlain taking part in the warm up but not full training yet. Youngsters Ki-Jana Hoever and Corey Whelan also involved. No sign of Firmino in training.”

Confirming the story, Pearce followed up by explaining the striker has a virus, but could not reveal whether it would concretely rule him out of Tuesday’s match. 

The 27-year-old has 11 goals and five assists to his name this season, with his two goal contribution in the ?Champions League lending him a healthy one in three record in the competition.

Roberto Firmino

Alongside teammates Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, Firmino was the joint second highest scorer in last season’s competition, with 10 goals from 13 games as his side reached the final.

There had been good news earlier in the day, when Georginio Wijnaldum was confirmed to have trained well following his bout of illness last week, but it looks like the sick bug has now struck down another important figure in Jurgen Klopp’s dressing room.

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Bayern Considering €75m Move for Paulo Dybala Amid Interest From Liverpool & Inter

?Bayern Munich are thought to be considering an offer for Juventus forward Paulo Dybala, as the Bavarian giants look to re-shape their attack in the summer. 

Despite a recent revival, the Bundesliga champions have fallen short of expectations so far this season, and sit two points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund having played a game more than their title rivals.

With veteran wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery out of contract in the summer, and forwards Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski both entering their 30s, speculation has been rife that coach Niko Kovac could look for a new long-term talisman in the summer – and Italian press say that Dybala offers one potential solution. 

The news comes from Tutto Mercato Web (via ?Focus) who say ?Bayern are serious about a €75m bid, and are prepared to offer the player an annual salary of €10m to see off interest from Liverpool and ?Inter

Times change, but Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge expressed his admiration of the player back in 2017, when he openly admitted he would like to bring the Argentine to the club. 

“There are some excellent players in the market at the moment, and when I think of one I would like to bring to Bayern, I think of someone like Dybala,” he said.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge

It looks a long way from concrete this stage, but it’s an improvement on the ?swap deal for Mohamed Salah speculation we were working with at the tail end of last week. 

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Liverpool vs Bayern Munich Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

?Liverpool host Bayern Munich in the first leg of a colossal Champions League round of 16 encounter at Anfield on Tuesday.

In what is a meeting between two of the most successful sides in the competition’s history, Liverpool will be looking to repeat last year’s feat of going all the way to the final, whilst Bayern will resume their quest to claim a first European crown since 2013.

?Liverpool head into the game in strong form, with a 3-0 win over ?Bournemouth keeping the Reds level with ?Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table. Meanwhile, ?Bayern maintained their quest to retain the Bundesliga title with a 2-3 victory over Augsburg last time out.

Jurgen Klopp’s side finished as runners-up to PSG in the group stage this term, whilst Bayern came out on top of Group E, before the two sides were paired together for what is arguably the pick of the ties in the last 16.

Check out 90min’s preview of everything you need to know ahead of Tuesday’s huge first leg on Merseyside.


Where to Watch

?When Is Kick Off? Tuesday 19 February?
?What Time Is Kick Off? ?20:00 (BST)
?Where Is It Played? ?Anfield
?TV Channel/Live Stream? ?BT Sport 2
?Referee? ?TBC

Team News

Liverpool will be without star defender Virgil van Dijk in what is a considerable blow to Jurgen Klopp’s rear-guard setup ahead of Tuesday’s game. The Dutchman is set to serve a suspension after receiving a yellow card in the Reds’ previous Champions League outing against ?Napoli.


Joe Gomez continues his rehabilitation from a fractured leg after undergoing successful surgery, with the Englishman set to miss a further four to six weeks.

Fellow defender ?Dejan Lovren is also a doubt for the European clash after the Croatian recently suffered a recurrence of an ongoing hamstring problem.

Meanwhile, long-term absentee ?Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remains out after sustaining multiple knee ligament damage at the back end of last season, though there is hope that the midfielder may return before the end of the current campaign.


Bayern Munich have multiple injury concerns of their own, though wingers Arjen Robben and Kingsley Coman are both set to overcome fitness issues in time to feature at Anfield.

However, Corentin Tolisso will miss out as the central midfielder continues to recover from a cruciate ligament rupture.


Predicted Lineups

Liverpool? ?Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Matip, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Mane
?Bayern Munich ?Neuer; Kimmich, Sule, Hummels, Alaba; Goretzka, Alcantara, Rodriguez; Gnabry, Lewandowski, Coman

Head to Head Record

Liverpool have a respectable record from their previous encounters with Bayern Munich, though the two sides have only met seven times previously, with the last clash between the two coming in the 2001 UEFA Super Cup.

Liverpool won 2-3 on that occasion, courtesy of goals from John Arne Riise, Emile Heskey and Michael Owen.

Michael Owen

Bayern’s last win over their Premier League counterparts came in the 1971 UEFA European Cup Winners’ Cup.

In all, Liverpool have won two and lost one of their seven previous meetings with Bayern, whilst the other four encounters ended in draws.


Recent Form

Liverpool are enjoying a strong run of form of late, having not lost since a 2-1 defeat away to Wolves saw Jurgen Klopp’s side eliminated from the FA Cup in January.

The Reds have won three and drawn two of their previous five outings since then, with a 3-0 win over Bournemouth last time out in the Premier League enabling them to keep pace at the top of the table alongside champions Manchester City.


Meanwhile, Bayern’s resurgence under Niko Kovac has continued in recent weeks. Three consecutive wins in all competitions have drawn the Bavarians closer to Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund, following a surprise defeat away to Bayer Leverkusen at the start of February.

Here is a look at how both sides have fared in their previous five outings:

?Liverpool Bayern Munich?
?Liverpool 3-0 Bournemouth
(09/02)
?Augsburg 2-3 Bayern Munich
(15/02)
?West Ham 1-1 Liverpool
(04/02)
?Bayern Munich 3-1 Schalke
(09/02)
?Liverpool 1-1 Leicester
(30/01)
?Hertha Berlin 2-3 Bayern Munich
(06/02)
?Liverpool 4-3 Crystal Palace
(19/01)
?Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 Bayern Munich
(02/02)
?Brighton 0-1 Liverpool
(12/01)
?Bayern Munich 4-1 VfB Stuttgart
(27/01)

Prediction

History suggests that there is little to separate the two sides, and with both looking to go the distance in the Champions League this season, Tuesday’s match is set to be another close encounter between two highly competitive sides.

Both teams head into the clash in strong recent form and full of goals, with Anfield set to play host to a football spectacle of the highest order.

Liverpool and Bayern both possess top quality in all areas of the pitch and, whilst there is likely to be goals, both sides could ultimately cancel each other out in the first leg of the tie, though any strikes for the visitors would hand them the advantage on away goals.

Prediction: Liverpool 2-2 Bayern Munich

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Naby Keita Claims That His Experience Playing Against Bayern Munich Could Help Reds in UCL Tie

?Naby Keita has suggested that his previous experience of playing against Bayern Munich could work to Liverpool’s advantage as the two sides prepare to do battle in the Champions League.

Jurgen Klopp’s side host the Bundesliga champions in the first leg of their round of 16 tie at Anfield on Tuesday, and Keita has some inside knowledge of how to play against Bayern from his time in the German top flight with RB Leipzig, prior to joining Liverpool last summer.

Keita’s record against the Bavarians is less than impressive, having lost four and won just one of his previous games against ?Bayern for Leipzig, and he was sent off in a DFB-Pokal meeting between the teams last season. The midfielder told ?Bild: “The dismissal left me extremely bitter.

“I thought the referee’s decision was very harsh. I had taken a lot of fouls without any of them being punished. And then for me there were two quick cards.

“For me, this match is a chance to do better.

“I’m not the only expert in this regard – in Xherdan Shaqiri we have an ex-Bayern player. And of course our coach Jurgen Klopp knows all about them. But yes, I know about Bayern’s strengths and how to play against them.”

?Liverpool are aiming to go one better in the Champions League this season than in the previous campaign, having lost to ?Real Madrid in last year’s final, and Keita admitted that it was the chance to play at the highest level that attracted him to joining Liverpool ahead of this season.

“I moved to Liverpool to win trophies. In the championship we are well in the race, and we have a chance in the Champions League.

“We are working hard to present one or the other trophy to the fans at the end of the season.”

Jurgen Klopp,Juergen Klopp,Naby Keita,Georginio Wijnaldum

Liverpool’s quest to pip champions ?Manchester City to the Premier League title this season also heats up this week, as Klopp’s side travel to face ?Manchester United in a huge league encounter next weekend, just five days after taking on Bayern in the Champions League.

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