Liverpool vs Bayern Munich - 5 talking points ahead of Champions League first leg
Liverpool qualified for the Champions League Round of 16 by beating Paris Saint Germain at Anfield but suffered setbacks with losses away to PSG, Napoli and Belgrade, managing to qualify in the end with a narrow win over Napoli.
Bayern had a much smoother run in the group stages with the only hurdles being the draw against Ajax over both legs. Liverpool now face Bayern as we take a look at the five talking points of this big match.
#1 - The unstable defence
urned from injury and Niklas Sule is looking to be fit in time, Liverpool only has Joël Matip available. With Joe Gomez set to be sidelined for 4 to 6 weeks, Dejan Lovren unfit and Virgil van Dijk suspended, Matip will most probably be paired with Fabinho in defence. Both teams have not had a good defensive performance for the past few matches.
#2 - Forced changes in midfield
With Fabinho likely to be featuring in defence, captain Jordan Henderson could be partnering Naby Keita and Georginio Wijnaldum. James Milner could be the other option as Trent Alexander-Arnold would be taking on the right back duties from him.
With Thomas Müller suspended, Bayern would prefer James Rodriguez in midfield, the latter having played there for the past two matches.
#3 - Goalkeeping Genius
Signed for a fee of £66.8 million, Liverpool have consolidated their defence with Alisson Becker, who has 14 clean sheets in 26 appearances in the Premier League and a few great saves in the Champions League.
Up against him is Manuel Neuer, who is expected to be back in time from the injury setback. Neuer's records speaks for himself, the 2014 World Cup with Germany, Bundesliga titles with Bayern and especially top three in 2014 Ballon D'or. If Neuer isn't fit, Ulreich wouldn't be a bad replacement.
#4 - A battle of forwards
Mohamed Salah vs Robert Lewandowski. Salah, who is running for Golden boot in the Premier League has 17 goals to his name (tied with Sergio Agüero) as compared to Lewandowski who has 13 goals in the Bundesliga.
However, in the Champions League, Lewandowski has been the better performer with nine goals as compared to the three goals of Salah.
Mane and Firmino are not to be excluded either while Lewandowski would be looking for support from Gnabry and Coman who are set to be preferred over the ageing Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry.
#5 - Manager's face off
Title challengers for the Premier League and runners-up of last year's Champions League Liverpool are facing Niko Kovač's Bayern who are five points behind leader Dortmund in the Bundesliga.
While Jurgen Klopp would want to erase the memories of the loss against Real Madrid in the final of last year, Kovač would be looking forward to adding the Champions League trophy to his resume as the new coach of Bayern.
Verdict, this Tuesday, February 19.