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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 21 October, 2019


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Welcome, all, to our coverage of what could prove to be another Famous European Night at Anfield.™

Bayern Munich are the visitors for the last-16 tie clash, remarkably making this the first meeting between the two sides in the Champions League era. 

Get in touch with us: email, tweet @gcooney93 or get involved below the line. 

Kick off is at 8pm, and team news is following here in a moment…

Team News 

Liverpool have been given the boost that Roberto Firmino is fit to start, having shaken off a virus. It means that the Brazilian continues his streak of playing in every European game Liverpool have played under Jurgen Klopp.

Virgil van Dijk is suspended owing to the accruing of yellow cards in the group stages, and with Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren injured, the centre-defensive partnership is the unconvincing Joel Matip and the out-of-position Fabinho. 

Jordan Henderson starts in midfield, along with Naby Keita. 

Bayern, meanwhile, have Kingsley Coman available after an ankle knock. Jerome Boateng is out through illness, while Leon Gortezka is out too: he is replaced by Javi Martinez. 

That’s quite a blow for Bayern – to lose Leon Goretzka to an ankle injury just before kick-off. After an initially slow start to life in Bavaria, he has been outstanding since the turn of the year. 

That Kingsley Coman is fit is a big boost, on the other hand. 

Liverpool have probably made their peace with van Dijk’s absence, having known it was coming since he sent Dries Mertens halfway to the river Mersey in the final group game at Anfield in December. 

That their central defensive pair are their fourth-choice defender (Matip) and their first-choice midfielder (Fabinho), however, is a glaring weakness. 

Those Liverpool fans who have spent a large portion of the last four years cursing Dejan Lovren…tonight may be ropey enough to make you actively miss him. 

Yellow Peril 

Two players will miss the second-leg if they get booked tonight, one on either team. 

Andy Robertson for Liverpool, and Joshua Kimmich for Bayern.

Fair to say that Alberto Moreno vs Coman/Gnabry/Robben/Ribery/Anyone is cause enough for Liverpool fans to lose some sleep between now and the second-leg, should Robertson pick up a booking tonight. 

The other game of the night, by the way, is in France as Lyon host Barcelona. While Barca are favourites, Lyon have a habit of raising their game for big games: they took four points of Manchester City in the group stages and ended PSG’s hopes of an unbeaten Ligue Un campaign at the start of the month. 

We’ll keep you updated on that game, but while we are on the topic of this clash, let’s take another look at this from Juninho. (Not the Middlesbrough one). 

Source: Soccer Goals/YouTube

Didi Hamann and Jamie Carragher, both of whom won this competition for Liverpool, are at Anfield tonight in a punditry capacity.

Liverpool v Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Anfield Source: Nick Potts

The42 can think of seven players to have played for both Liverpool and Bayern. 

Name ‘em: we’ll have our answers in 10 minutes. 

(Leave your answers in the comments below, or tweet @the42_ie). 

The winner earns…our respect. 

Here’s the answer to our earlier teaser.

The seven players to play for both Liverpool and Bayern Munich are: Didi Hamann, Christian Ziege, Markus Babbel, Emre Can, Xherdan Shaqiri, Pepe Reina and Xabi Alonso. 

Five minutes to kick off!

This is set up to be one of those wildly oscillating, goal-packed Anfield thrillers, given both sides are weakened in defence. 

Liverpool have Firmino fit to start, while Naby Keita is preferred to Jamie Milner in the middle, hinting that Liverpool intend to attack. That may be the pragmatic approach, given their central defensive partnership is Joel Matip and Fabinho. 

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson; Henderson, Winjaldum; Mane, Firmino, Keita; Salah 

Bayern, meanwhile have lost Leon Goretzka to injury, but have the in-form Kingsley Coman fit to start. Jerome Boateng is out through injury. 

Bayern: Neuer; Kimmich, Sule, Hummels, Alaba; Martinez, Thiago, James; Gnabry, Lewandowski, Coman 

Andy Robertson and Joshua Kimmich will miss the second-leg if they get booked tonight. 

The other game of the night is Lyon v Barcelona – we’ll keep you up to date with that game, too. 

The teams walk out to a characteristically raucous Anfield, surrounded by that cavernous rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone. Scarves in the air, flags flying; what a sight! 

Further to the below – the Champions League anthem is allegedly being played. It’s been entirely drowned out. 


Liverpool attacking the Anfield Road End (to your left, as you remember it from TV) in the first-half, per tradition. 


Liverpool are playing their traditional 4-3-3, of last season, meaning Mo Salah is on the right-wing and Firmino plays through the centre.

Huge boos for every Bayern touch early on. 


Sadio Mane concedes a free-kick for a late kick on James Rodriguez in the centre circle. Liverpool have settled quickly. 


Bayern are content to knock the ball aimlessly among themselves at the back early on, presumably aiming to quell the noise of the crowd. 


Horrible clearance by Alisson goes straight to Thiago in midfield, Bayern stitch a few passes together before Winjaldum wins an important tackle in the box. Henderson’s clearance hit a Bayern arm and Liverpool escape with a free-kick. Sloppy from the goalkeeper. 


Now Neuer gets himself in bother! He dawdles on the ball and is almost closed down by Mane, but scrambles the ball clear. 


Decent spell of possession now for Bayern, and are comfortable on the ball further up the pitch. They are settling.


A Gnabry dink into the box leads to a mix-up between Alisson and Fabinho – the ‘keeper came to claim it but the reinvented midfielder ended up heading it. Winjaldum ensured there was no danger, but a sign of the unfamiliarity at the back which Bayern will try and exploit. 


Better from Liverpool, as Winjaldum wins a free-kick 30 yards from goal. Salah or Alexander-Arnold to whip it in…


Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick was headed away. 


First chance for Salah! Henderson floats a ball over the top for Salah darting in behind from the right-wing, nut he can only prod it straight at Neuer. 


Ooof! Gnabry ghosts past Robertson on the right-wing, and his pull-back was cleared by Joel Matip…right at his goalkeeper! Liverpool survive, with Alisson looking none-too-impressed at his defender. 


Now Mane lashes a shot wide of Neuer’s right-hand post. Robertson was overlapping to his left, he should have slipped the ball to him. 


Matip is a bag of nerves. Alisson is nearly caught out dawdling on the ball, and he shifts the ball in a panic to Matip, who unfathomably hacks at the ball and gives it straight to Coman, who shoots into the side-netting. Liverpool: shaky. 


Leadership of the defence doesn’t seem to suit Joel Matip. He looks like he will implode if Bayern so much as look at him with any intensity. 


Bayern have had more of the possession so far, and have done a good job in taking the sting out of the crowd. 


Keita spoons an overhead kick meekly wide from the edge of the box.

That was a fun sentence to type. 

Liverpool v Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 - First Leg - Anfield Naby Keita attempts an overhead kick. Source: Peter Byrne


Better from Liverpool. Keita wins the ball in midfield and gambolls forward, picks out Robertson, who is forced backward by Kimmich. He wins a throw-in, and then Mane wins a free-kick ten yards in front of the corner flag. 

Chance here…


Salah heads wide! Bayern half clear the free-kick, and Alexander-Arnold does brilliantly to pick out Salah arriving at the back post, but he can only head into the side-netting. It was a slightly narrow angle, but he was totally unmarked!


Kimmich is booked for a tackle on Mane, significant as it rules him out of the second-leg. 


Keita jinks into the penalty area and forces Hummels into hacking the ball clear. He has started well. 


Robertson uncharacteristically skies a cross with Salah and Alexander-Arnold arriving at the back post, ending a move that began with a trademark spin and pass by Firmino ion midfield. He has been off-colour thus far. 


Big miss Mane! Great play by Liverpool as Matip chips the ball over the top for Firmino, Keita’s shot at the edge of the area was blocked by Sule, but the ball squirted through to Mane, who swivelled unmarked six yards from goal and screwed the ball wide of Neuer’s left-hand post.

Best chance of the game so far, what a miss! 


That all came from Matip striding forward and playing the ball forward, rather than playing it back to Alisson, as he has been doing for virtually all of the game thus far. 


Bayern win a corner, Keita blocking an Alaba cross. Here’s the first test for the van Dijk-less Liverpool. 


Fabinho clears. First test: passed. 


Alexander-Arnold is sloppily robbed of possession in midfield, and Gnabry’s shot from outside the area forces Alisson to stoop and push the ball behind for a second corner. 


Winjaldum clears. 


Another chance for Mane! Keita’s shot from the right-hand side of the box is deflected and loops into Mane’s path, but his overhead kick nestles into the stand. 


This game is beginning to swing left-to-right: Bayern win another corner, Alexander-Arnold tackling Coman. 


Half-a-chance for Lewandowsk, but the ball bobbles tamely into Alisson’s arms. Now Liverpool win a corner, Mane dispossessed by Kimmich. 


Chance! Matip! Salah plays in Firmino, whose cut-back is steered wide from point-blank range by Matip. Another big chance wasted. 

The42 needs half-time. 


Matip does really well to divert a Gnabry cross over his own crossbar, while heading directly for his own goal. Excellent defending. 


Corner is headed away by Firmino. 


Superb covering by Henderson, as Mane and Keita get mixed up and leave the ball for Gnabry. His sprint toward goal is read by Henderson, who comes across and ushers the ball back for Alisson. 


Divine play from Liverpool involves Salah and Winjaldum to set Firmino in behind, but his dink over Neuer from a narrow angle was off-target, and cleared before Mane could pounce. Firmino has been terrific thus far. One minute added on. 


Chance Firmino! Alexander-Arnold whips a ball into the area, and Firmino ghosts in front of Sule, but his flick toward goal by Neuer. 


Aaaaaaaaaaaand breathe. 

Chances a-plenty for both teams, with Bayern unsettling Matip and Fabino early on. While they have been nervy at the back, Liverpool finished that half the strongest, and both Mane and Matip will feel they should have scored. 

Firmino has been the game’s outstanding player, restored to the false 9 role he was so effective in last season. Salah, however, has been peripheral, while Mane looks Liverpool’s best goal-threat. Jordan Henderson has been terrific, Matip has banished his early nerves while Andy Robertson is curiously off-form. 

Serge Gnabry looks devilish down Bayern’s right, with Kingsley Coman testing Liverpool on the left, too. 

It remains goalless, however. Liverpool will feel that they should be in front. 


It’s goalless between Lyon and Barcelona at half-time, too. 


No changes from either side at the break. ‘Allez, Allez, Allez’ ringing around Anfield. 


A swift Liverpool counter is spoiled by a poor Mane pass to the right-flank to Firmino. Liverpool keep ball and eventually win a free-kick midway into the Bayern half.

The free-kick is taken by Alexander-Arnold…and it flies above everyone and behind for a goal-kick. 


Bayern are playing keep-ball in their own half again, as they did at the start of the first-half. 


A superb challenge by Fabinho dispossesses Lewandowski on the edge of the six-yard area, having been picked out by Coman.

The camera then cuts to a miffed Dejan Lovren, sitting in the stands and wrapped in a blanket. 


Alexander-Arnold concedes a free-kick for a foul on Coman, whose influence is growing. 


Another big chance for Liverpool!

Bayern’s attack breaks down, Mane finds Robertson in oceans of room on the left, and as he advances into the box, his effort is stopped by Neuer. The ball then hits Robertson, breaks for Salah near the endline on the right-hand side of the box, but he dithers and prods the ball tamely wide. 

Salah hasn’t been his usual self.


Henderson is booked for tugging back Javi Martinez in midfield.

Free-kick to Bayern, who are happy to take their time over it. 


Gnabry wins a corner by jinking into the box, Fabinho deflecting the ball behind. 

Gnabry has Robertson on toast. 


The corner ends in Bayern winning another corner. 


Martinez rises above everyone, but can’t make enough contact to divert the ball goalwards. 



Gnabry strikes the ball from 20 yards, and it whistles above Alisson’s crossbar. 


Alexander-Arnold sparks Liverpool to life with a mazy run into the penalty area, that Bayern belatedly deal with. Henderson is left in a crumpled heap in midfield having been caught by Thiago’s studs, for which the referee oddly doesn’t even call a foul. 

Bayern put the ball out, and Henderson is fine to continue. 


Alaba skews a ball out over the touchline under mild pressure from Salah. The game has devolved to something very ragged and scrappy since half-time. 


And then Matip passes the ball directly out of play. 



Scrappy Department: Coman controls the ball out of play. 



Gnabry steals the ball from Mane’s toe just as he’s about to shoot in the penalty area! That’s the best bit of play anyone has served up in ten minutes. 


Crikey, a Liverpool counter perishes as Salah inexplicably passes directly to a Bayern defender, with Alexander-Arnold to his right and Firmino to his left. 


Scrappy Department Hall of Fame: Alaba throws the ball out for a throw in. 


This is all Liverpool now, with Bayern flooding ten men either in or in front of their own penalty area.

Liverpool are struggling to break them down, however, and their final pass has often been errant. 


Now they’ve won a corner. Roar rises from Anfield. 


Lewandowski climbs to the sky to head it clear! 


Kloppball: Liverpool haven’t had a shot in the second-half so far. 


Salah does well to get wrangle a way by Alaba, and cutting into the penalty area he is stopped by….his own man, Winjaldum. 

Bayern seem to have declared for a draw here, they are sitting very deep, and hoping the pace of Coman and Gnabry can create something for them when the space is generous. 


Liverpool readying a double change: Milner will double the Ham-ez’ on the pitch, with Divock Origi coming on as well. 


Thiago picks out Gnabry with a gorgeous diagonal pass, but he cuts in and then shanks a shot into the stand. 

Naby Keita’s race is run – James Milner is on. 

Origi, meanwhile, is on for Roberto Firmino. 


Another rendition of ‘Allez, Allez, Allez’ rises from the crowd, as they bid to lift Liverpool for the final 12 minutes. 

James Rodriguez, meanwhile, flashes a shot wide of Alisson’s left-hand post. 


Better from Liverpool! Milner wins the ball in midfield, and Robertson’s shot is behind for a corner off Kimmich. 


Bayern clear after a bout of head tennis, Liverpool recover the ball, and the move ends with Trent Alexander-Arnold lashing a shot into the Kop. 

Franck Ribery is on for Bayern, replacing Coman, whose influence on the game receded as soon as it was mentioned by The42


Bayern seem happy with a 0-0, which you have to wonder is a good result for them. Liverpool will have van Dijk for the second, and plenty of space in which to counter in Munich. 


Liverpool win a corner – that’s cleared – and Henderson’s first-time hoist back into the penalty area rebounds for Matip in the ‘Gerrard-against-Olympiakos’ position…and he slices it horribly high and wide. 

He had missed it before he kicked it. 


Great save Neuer! 

Robertson whips a cross in from the left, which is met by the stooping head of Mane, and Neuer reacts well to tip the ball behind! 


Matip heads the corner over the bar. How have so many chances fallen to him!? 


James Rodriguez is replaced by Swansea City Legend, Renato Sanches. 


Divock Origi makes his best (only) intervention yet, and wins a free-kick 35 yards from goal, wide on the right flank. 


Alexander-Arnold again flights the free-kick over everybody

That’s the second time he’s done that. 


RTÉ, meanwhile, have lost their commentary link and are trundling through the last few minutes with a bit of punditry from Montrose. 

Please, please, please let something mad happen…


Final change for Bayern – Gnabry is replaced by Rafinha. 

There will be four additional minutes. 


“C’mon Mane”, says Liam Brady, plainly. 

Mane then loses the ball. 


Robertson concedes a free-kick, giving Bayern one last chance to steal it….


Ha! They play the ball backward, and it’s all over. 


Well, the end-to-end, goal-filled classic predicted by The42 finished goalless, naturally enough. 

Liverpool created enough in the first-half to win the game, but were frustrated by Bayern in the second and created nothing. Bayern, meanwhile, showed a total lack of ambition and by the time the second-half had started, they had lost all interest in scoring a goal. 

Given that Liverpool were without van Dijk, they can be satisfied with a clean sheet, and will be happy that the tie is alive given they played poorly.

As for Bayern – they will surely show more ambition in the second leg, but given that Liverpool should be back at their flinty best by then, and will have more space into which to counter and find an away goal, we make them favourites to progress. 

They may pay for their reticence in attacking a very shaky Liverpool back line. Bayern will also be without Joshua Kimmich for the return leg, as he picked up a booking tonight. 

So it wasn’t exactly another Famous European Night at Anfield, you can file that one beneath ‘tepid’. The tie remains in the balance, however, and don’t rule out the fact their might be another of those famous nights in store this season. 

Thanks a million for following us – the player ratings and reaction are on their way. 


About the author:

Gavin Cooney


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