Liverpool vs Bayern Munich Odds and Expert Picks for Champions League
When Liverpool and Bayern Munich clash on Tuesday in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 matchups, it will be a meeting between two of the biggest European franchises in world soccer. Liverpool and Bayern Munich have combined for eight European Titles with the German side own the advantage of five titles to three. Bayern Munich is in the Round of 16 by way of topping Group E with 14 points (W4, D2). Liverpool snuck into the Round of 16 by virtue of head-to-head goals scored versus Napoli as both outfits finished level on nine points and tied for second. Liverpool will feel very fortunate to be here and it'll be interesting to see how they handle this competition given the fact that they are in the running for an EPL title.
As I mentioned, Liverpool has won 3 European titles in their rich history, including the memorable comeback win in 2005 against Milan. In that game, Liverpool trailed 3-0 at half time, before turning their fortunes and leveling the game up before winning on penalties for their latest European triumph. Liverpool's most recent European campaign ended in heartbreak, losing 3-1 to Real Madrid in the finals last year.
As for Bayern Munich, when you think about a European power, this is one of the few teams that comes to mind instantly. Bayern have won five titles, the most recent in 2013 when they got the best of fellow German side, Borussia Dortmund. Bayern continue to employ players well beyond their prime but are positioned well heading into this fixture. Beating Liverpool would not come as a shock to me.
As it currently stands, Liverpool are listed as slight -125 favorites to advance to the quarter-finals. If you believe that Liverpool can take the first step to getting back to the Champions League final and reversing their fortunes, you can grab a piece of them at +800 which is fifth favorite. If you believe that Bayern Munich has what it takes to overcome the English squad, you can grab them at -106 to advance and +1400 to win the entire tournament.
First Leg: Tuesday February 19 @ 3:00 pm
Second Leg: Wednesday March 13 @ 4:00 pm
When Liverpool kick off on Tuesday, they will be well rested and brimming with confidence as they are coming off a convincing 3-0-win vs Bournemouth on February 9, a game in which both Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah found the back of the net.
From a lineup perspective, Liverpool should feel extremely confidence that they have the right selection of attacking players to take advantage of Bayern's weakness, which is pace on the flanks. Liverpool can and likely will stick with the 4-3-3 formation that they've grown accustom too and that means Mane and Salah will have free reign to run at the aging and slowing defenders that Bayern will trot out there. If Mane and Salah can be productive, they should be able to take the defenders wider than they would like thus leaving plenty of room for the likes of Roberto Firmino to find open spaces in the defense. The service from the mid field will come from Naby Keita - who is starting to finally find his rhythm wearing a Liverpool shirt and Fabinho, who has been a Liverpool starting XI regular. However, Jurgen Klopp has some issues in defense, with Virgil van Dijk suspended for the first leg and Joe Gomez still recovering from a leg injury suffered in December.
Probable Starting XI: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson, Milner, Keita, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane
Bayern Munich Storylines
The perennial German powerhouse, Bayern Munich find themselves in a precarious position this late in the season. They are five-points back of the leaders in the Bundesliga, and are considered by many, underdogs heading into this matchup versus Liverpool. Bayern did have a slow start to the campaign, but as of late, have lost just once over their last 16 games, winning 13 of those games outright. Bayern still relies on scoring boatloads of goals as they have scored 47 goals in just 21 league games.
From a lineup perspective, Bayern will be hoping that their wide defenders and mid-fielders can play above their pay grade and contain the high-powered Liverpool attack. Bayern will also get a boost from the return of Manuel Neuer - the Germain international goalkeeper will man the sticks and his presence back their alone is enough to instill confidence for the defensive line. Up front, the ageless wonder, Robert Lewandowski leads the attack and he has been directly involved in 12 Bayern goals over his last 10 appearances.
Probable Starting XI: Neuer, Kimmich, Hummels, Sule, Alaba, Goretzka, Thiago, James, Coman, Gnabry, Lewandowski
Liverpool vs Bayern Munich Predictions
It's hard to believe that Bayern Munich are considered underdogs going into this matchup given how consistent they've been for the last decade or so. But, the German side simply does not match up well and will likely struggle to deal with the pace that Liverpool possess all over the field. We do like the in-form Mane/Firmino/Salah trio to wreak havoc on the Bayern defense, but are we really convinced Liverpool's injury riddled defense will be able to keep Bayern from scoring? If Bayern can get an away goal in this one, we like their chances at advancing given the fact that the second leg will be played at the fortress in Munich. Take Bayern at -106.
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