Today, Bayern are going to be visiting Liverpool in the Champions League Last 16 knockout clash. Without any hesitation, this can easily be called the most difficult Champions League clash this year. Liverpool is in top form sitting at the top of the Premier League table despite of one or two minor setbacks. Bayern, on the other hand, have begun to recover from the slow start to their season. They are second to Dortmund in the Bundesliga table. Now admittedly, my favourite team is Bayern Munich, but all things considered, I strongly doubt they can win this match. But they are the ones I’m going to be rooting for! Here, I’m going to be listing some key players from each side whose performance the result will depend on.
The Brazilian goalkeeper will need to be on his toes to keep the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Leon Goretzka from scoring tonight. His form has more or less been okay this season, with some excellent saves. Tonight’s match will be extra hard for Alisson as he does not have his defensive rock Virgil Van Dijk in front of him. Dejan Lovren too is injured. He will have to work extra hard to earn a clean sheet.
A Center midfielder usually, Fabinho might have to fill in for Virgil Van Dijk at the Center Back position tonight. The last time he played in that position, he performed quite well, and he will need to do so again to ensure that no goals are let in.
After a lot of angry remarks about his form in December and January, Keita is finally starting to show the potential that tempted Liverpool to cough up 52 million pounds to sign the center midfielder. His passes to the front will be key to the goals that Mo Salah and Co. score.
The Egyptian King is in great form (as he always is) and he is going to be waiting to go out there and score some goals. The performance of Salah will decide how close this match is, and whether Liverpool slip up or not.
The German captain has not been in ‘Neuer-esque’ form lately. He has not kept a clean sheet for the past six games. Even after being provided with a defence line consisting of Mats Hummels, Niklas Sule, David Alaba and Joshua Kimmich, he has conceded a lot of goals. Today, it’s not going to be easy for him against the likes of Salah, Firmino and Mane, all of whom are in great goal-scoring form.
The centre back has been consistent lately, but he needs to do a little bit better if he’s going to stop his team from slumping to a first knockout clash loss. Liverpool are going to go all out today in terms of attack, and Hummels needs to put his best foot forward.
Second only to Lewandowski in the Bayern top scorer’s chart, Goretzka has been performing well. He forms a nice partnership in the middle with Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman. His assists to Lewandowski in the front will be crucial for a Bayern victory, and he might have to score a goal too, to get his team to win.
The Polish goal-machine might just be in the best form that he has been in ever at Bayern. With 25 goals and 11 assists, he is truly a force to reckon with. He is going to be the one to score the goals for Bayern. If he doesn’t fire, then I’m sorry to say, Bayern is done for.
Note For Bayern Coach : Niko Kovac, honourable sir. I know you might not like James Rodriguez all that much, but please please play him tonight. He really can make a difference. From one person who really cares about Bayern to another, please play him. Thank you.