Following Liverpool’s stalemate draw with Bayern Munich on Tuesday night, BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson believes that, contrary to the panic surely felt by the Kop that a trip to the Allianz Arena could go either way, the Premier League side holds all the cards in the clash set to take place on 13th March.
Well, writing for BBC Sport, the former defender said:
“When I look through the Bayern side, it does not really frighten me the way it did in the past when the likes of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben were in full flow.
“They [Bayern] had clearly done their homework and made very few mistakes defensively at Anfield, and at the back they read the game very well.
“But they never really looked like getting an away goal, which means there is a good chance they will have to win the return on 13 March to go through.
“If they go on the attack at any time, they have to be very wary of Liverpool’s threat on the counter.”
Indeed, the Bavarians sat back and soaked up the Reds’ pressure very effectively, yet also largely looked unwilling to get forward and counter. Does the 0-0 actually mean advantage Liverpool going into the second leg?
Even without the suspended Virgil Van Dijk, Jurgen Klopp’s side completely nullified Robert Lewandowski – admittedly the Pole wasn’t afforded much support or service from his teammates, who were far more concerned with keeping a clean sheet it would seem.
However, the big Dutchman will be available, assuming he is fit, for the clash in under a month’s time and that will, first of all, be a huge confidence boost to Liverpool but also make Bayern’s job a lot harder.
One assumes that Fabinho will return to the midfield where he is best used, while the added defensive security provided by van Dijk’s restoration at the heart of defence and the Brazilian’s deployment further afield will give Liverpool a strong platform to defend Bayern when they inevitably look to attack next time out.
Jurgen Klopp has gotten quite inventive with his excuses this season. FFC’s James Jones think he has no one but himself to blame for Liverpol’s poor form in the video below…
Niko Kovac surely knows that he cannot play quite so defensively at the Allianz Arena as Liverpool will likely make no mistake in taking any one of the many opportunities they had at home, giving the visitors the away-goal advantage that will then be almost insurmountable for the Bundesliga champions.
Bayern have to attack Liverpool and, when they do, the Reds will do what they do best by nicking the ball back and countering at full pace and force.