Liverpool will be well rested coming into their last 16 Champions League clash with Bayern Munich and will be looking to take the early initiative with the 1st leg being at Anfield. The German giants come into this one off the back of a league win over Augsburg, although they did concede two goals against a team that have struggled all season to find the back of the net. Form Labs bring you their betting preview and tips for the game and don’t forget to head over and check out where the value lies with our selection of enhanced odds available.
Home Form Carried Liverpool
Liverpool relied upon their form at Anfield to carry them into the knockout rounds as they lost all three road trips during the group stages, though they’ve been better in front of the Kop all season and will hope to lay down a marker against a Bayern team that have been well below par this term.
The Bavarian giants toiled badly in the first half of the season, though despite a strong run of results since late November, they still have much convincing to do, especially at the back.
Bayern Defence Conceding
Indeed, Niko Kovac’s outfit are without a clean sheet in six matches since the turn of the year. Each of these games saw at least four goals in total, while this is by no means a new phenomenon as 14 of their past 15 games now have seen at least three strikes, as 11 saw a minimum of four.
They’ve particularly struggled when facing teams that are quick in the transition from defence to attack, and the rapid speed of Liverpool’s forward forays will have them running scared.
No Van Dijk For The Reds
The team news only increases the potential for a high-scoring game, with the big blow as far as Liverpool are concerned the absence of key man Virgil van Dijk.
The Dutch captain is suspended for the first leg and joins injured pair Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez on the sidelines, leaving Jurgen Klopp little choice but to pair Joel Matip with Fabinho.
Both are comfortable on the ball, but the defensive discipline won’t be as certain without their leader marshalling them.
Liverpool Will Look To Attack
That could well leave attack as the best form of defence for the Reds and they certainly produced some thrillers at Anfield last term, beating City 3-0 and Roma 5-2 as they finished as the competitions’ top scorers.
This term, the 3-2 win over PSG could have been a wider margin, they put four past Crvena Zvezda, while the 1-0 win over Napoli was understandably nervous as a draw would not have sufficed on matchday six.
Steve Staunton Previews Liverpool v Bayern Munich
Bayern Have Problems Of Their Own
It’s not as though Bayern don’t have their own problems though. Jerome Boateng’s form has been a concern for some considerable time now, Manuel Neuer hasn’t been his commanding old self since the metatarsal fracture that saw him miss virtually the whole of last season, while as good as Joshua Kimmich is going forwards his defensive positioning remains suspect.
With that in mind, we’d be highly surprised if this game didn’t contain a few goals. In fact, the strongest aspect of their team is in attack, with Robert Lewandowski netting 25 across all competitions this term despite supposedly not producing his best, and though Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery aren’t getting younger, they’re still performing to a high standard, while the likes of Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry have deputised well.
However, this is an ageing team in need of regeneration, and that makes Liverpool deserved favourites to take advantage – particularly given their penchant for a fast start.
Liverpool v Bayern Betting Tips
Bayern may not have played since Friday, but Liverpool have had the entire week off to prepare as their FA Cup involvement had already come to a premature end.
Meanwhile, three of Bayern’s four defeats this term have come on the road, whereas Klopp’s charges have suffered defeat at Anfield just the once this term (courtesy of an 85th-minute winner by Chelsea in the League Cup back in September).
However, we can’t envisage a clean sheet owing to Bayern’s forward talent, coupled with the absence of van Dijk, and so Liverpool to win and both teams to score is highly appealing.
Inevitably, Mo Salah and Lewandowski lead the way in the betting markets, but Sadio Mane is in great form with goals in each of his past four league appearances, while he netted 10 goals in 11 matches in this competition last term. He also has the added advantage that his direct opponent will be Joshua Kimmich, leaving him at a healthy price to get onto the scoresheet compared to the others.
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*odds subject to change