Phil Thompson previews Liverpool vs Bayern Munich
Writing for the Times on Tuesday, Phil Thompson has previewed tonight’s Liverpool vs Bayern Munich match in the Champions League.
This is a last-16 knockout tie which will be played over two legs.
So how good are the Bavarians?
Thompson tackles that question by comparing Bayern to other sides Liverpool have recently met in world football’s premier club competition:
Bayern are a bigger name than Roma. It is probably bigger than the group-stage games against Paris Saint-Germain and the equivalent of facing Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the competition last season.
Virgil van Dijk & Manchester City
Liverpool will be without star defender Virgil van Dijk at Anfield tonight.
The Dutch international is suspended for the first leg against Bayern.
While assessing the impact of VVD’s absence, Thompson argued that only one Man City player has been as good as Van Dijk this season:
Nobody has been like Virgil this season and people are talking about him as player of the year. It would be great if a defender won that award because it would be some statement.
He has rated as a 9/10 each week and, for me, the only one who can come near him for the accolade is Fernandinho at Manchester City.
Joel Matip vs Robert Lewandowski
Without van Dijk, and with Dejan Lovren carrying a knock, Jurgen Klopp is likely to field Joel Matip alongside Fabinho at the heart of his defence.
Matip could be asked to take the lead role trying to nullify the threat of Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski.
However it’s worth noting that Matip’s record against the Polish striker isn’t great.
The former Schalke defender has played against Lewandowski on ten occasions.
Lewandowski has scored seven times in those matches.