LOTHAR MATTHAUS is here to give us his expert view on Liverpool vs Bayern Munich – and it’s bad news for his old club.
Lothar reckons Jurgen Klopp’s side are firm favourites to triumph in their Champions League showdown… and here’s why.
For me, Liverpool are one of the best teams in the world. They are my favourites for the Champions League – not Man City, PSG, Real or Barcelona.
But they have had a few problems in the last few games and of course they look a bit short defensively in this game with Virgil Van Dijk suspended and Joe Gomez injured – Roberto Firmino also missed training through illness.
Bayern are still in all three competitions, despite the poor season they have had by their standards.
Liverpool are a good pressing team. A German, Jurgen Klopp, pressing machine.
It’s terrible to play against a team when they come at you so strong, with and without the ball, so Bayern know they must find a way to cope with that.
With Liverpool it’s not just the front three but the midfield and full-backs who join and play the passes and put in the crosses.
Jurgen has changed the team a lot in the past two and a half years. He invested a lot of money, yes, but he invested that money in high quality.
That is the difference between what Klopp did and the money Jose Mourinho spent.
If you want players of the highest quality, you do have to spend £60m-£70m.
But the results come back from the right investment and now Liverpool have a chance to win the Champions League and the Premier League, after so many years.
VIRG OF GLORY
I don’t think Van Dijk not playing will change Bayern’s approach.
Sure, he has made the defence more stable but Bayern are not a defensive team, that will not change.
They always look to attack. They won’t have 10 players in their own half all game. They have that quality as well, attacking players who can hurt Liverpool and will get in the box.
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The biggest problem will be getting back in shape defensively. They have not kept too many clean sheets this season and they have to try to do that at Anfield.
Their style is to play up, up. But they might get caught out if they do that too much.
ROB THEM, LEWY
Robert Lewandowski has had some criticism but he knows how to find the net.
He is still very important for Bayern and one of the best strikers around still.
Of his type, I would still select him above anyone in Europe. He is at the same level as Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez.
Maybe in two years that might change but if I was a manager now, I’d have Lewandowski in my side.
For me he is a real No 9, a top player.
Every season he scores goals, in the Bundesliga and Champions League. He already has 25 this season, including eight in the Champions League.
In the big games, he knows what he has to do. Give him a chance. He will take it.
He works so hard for the team as well. Of course he gets upset if he is in a good position and doesn’t get the ball – which striker isn’t? – but he is definitely not the problem for Bayern.
This could come down to who has the best night – the best goalkeeper of the past few years, against the best keeper of the present.
Manuel Neuer is fit again. He will have to make big saves but he is the most important personality at Bayern.
Alisson is a really top keeper. He was great for Roma last season and he has performed superbly for Liverpool.
The save he made against Napoli kept them in the competition. When it mattered, in the crucial moment, he made the difference between them going through and getting knocked out.
In a game like this you need experience, not just young talent. You have to be able to cope with the power of the game, the atmosphere in the stadium.
Every player wants to play at a ground like Anfield on a big occasion like this one.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve won World Cups or Champions Leagues before, this is what it is about if you are a big player.
It is a special place for every footballer and you want to be involved. There will be extra motivation.
You know I am a Bayern Munich man. I am happy when Bayern win. But when I am talking as an expert, a pundit, I think Liverpool are stronger.
Liverpool 3 Bayern 1
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