Liverpool are currently at the top of the Premier League table, with just thirteen games of the season left to play.
The reigning champions Manchester City, as well as outsiders Tottenham Hotspur, are on their tail though and will be ready to capitalise on any stumbles the Reds suffer during the run in.
Jurgen Klopp has to manage his side’s charge for their first league title triumph in the Premier League era, but must also negotiate the tough upcoming Champions League tie with Bayern Munich.
The German coach may be tempted to play a weakened team against the German giants though, in order to preserve his star players for their all important Premier League title push.
Football FanCast’s Billy Meyers and Will Jones debate whether or not the Merseyside club should sacrifice their Champions League campaign in order to focus all their efforts on bringing a first Premier League crown to Anfield.
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Liverpool should certainly abandon their Champions League campaign in favour of focusing on the Premier League. Jurgen Klopp does seem to enjoy the European competitions, shown by the fact he has made it to the final of the Europa League with the Reds, and the Champions League final on two occasions, one whilst with Borussia Dortmund.
Despite that, there is only a slim, if that, chance of the Merseysiders winning the famous cup competition for a sixth time in their history, whereas they are in pole position to secure what would be their first ever Premier League title.
Additionally, both Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk are missing for the first leg of the last 16 tie against Bayern Munich (Goal), so judging by the Reds’ squad depth, it may even be a case of abandoning one trophy and focusing on the other, or missing out on both altogether in embarrassing fashion.
Yes, winning the Premier League ought to be a higher priority for Liverpool than anything else this season. However, that absolutely does not mean they should take on Bayern with anything other than a commitment to doing all they can to win.
For a start, the competition must be respected. The Champions League is not something to take lightly. What’s more, the Liverpool players will be hungry to progress in the competition. Knocking out Bayern would be a huge boost to the club and could give them an injection of confidence and belief for the rest of the season.
Setting a precedent of giving up on competitions is dangerous and will not serve to inspire the players. Most importantly, though, the Reds cannot afford to lose momentum. A heavy defeat in the Champions League, even with the context of a weakened team having been fielded, threatens to knock Liverpool’s confidence and upset their rhythm at a crucial stage of the campaign.