Paul Glatzel strike inspires Liverpool U23s to victory

ThisIsAnfield.com - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 21:00

Paul Glatzel’s second-half strike earned Liverpool Under 23s a hard-earned 1-0 win away to West Ham U23s on Monday night, seeing the young Reds jump two places in Premier League 2.

West Ham U23s 0-1 Liverpool U23s

Premier League 2, Chigwell Construction Stadium
February 18, 2019

Goals: Glatzel 77′

The U23s were back in league action looking to make progress in the table and stop of a run of six draws in seven matches.

Neil Critchley made three alterations to the team that drew 0-0 at Burnley in the Premier League Cup last time out.

Shamal George replaced Caoimhin Kelleher in goal, while Isaac Christie-Davies and Curtis Jones came in for Abdi Sharif and Bobby Duncan.

In-form Glatzel, captain of Liverpool’s U18s, made his second start for the U23s two days short of his 18th birthday.

 Liverpool's substitute Curtis Jones during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Neil Critchley makes three changes; Paul Glatzel retains place
  • Goalless at the break after forgettable first-half
  • Glatzel fires Reds in front in the 77th minute
  • Much-needed win sees Liverpool rise to fifth in the table

West Ham made a positive start at the Chigwell Construction Stadium and Dan Kemp’s dangerous cross just evaded a host of players.

Glatzel burst through but couldn’t find Glen McAuley in acres of space for a tap-in, as both sides looked lively early on.

Mesaque Dju went down inside the area but nothing was given – a penalty would have been an extremely soft decision.

Alfie Lewis dragged a long-range effort harmlessly wide of George’s post and it was the hosts who looked the more likely to open the scoring.

There was another penalty appeal from West Ham after George Johnston appeared to handle the ball, but their protests were waved away.

Ajibola Alese was fortunate not to receive a second yellow card, leaving Liverpool the team feeling aggrieved this time.

The Reds offered little in an attacking sense as the first-half progressed, barring a Rhys Williams attempt that was blocked.

It took until the 36th minute for either goalkeeper to make a save, with George catching confidently from Kemp’s driven attempt.

Glatzel was close to putting the Reds 1-0 up shortly before half-time, but Kristijan Belic made a vital last-ditch challenge.

 Liverpool's manager Neil Critchley during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool and Leicester City at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The second half had a similarly forgettable flow to it initially, as Liverpool looked increasingly like recording a seventh draw in eight games.

Jones had the visitors’ first shot on target before the hour mark but it never threatened to find the net. The silky midfielder was below-par throughout.

There were clear signs of Critchley’s youngsters upping their game in the final quarter and they got the breakthrough with 13 minutes left.

Glatzel couldn’t miss from a couple of yards out, tapping home from substitute Abdi Sharif’s low cross to bag his 23rd goal of a superb season.

Johnston, Glatzel and Connor Randall and McAuley all came close to doubling the lead – McAuley hit the post in the dying seconds – but it didn’t matter as Liverpool held on to rise to fifth in Premier League 2.

It was a much-needed win, in what hopefully signals the start of a strong end to the season.

 Liverpool's captain Paul Glatzel during the FA Youth Cup 4th Round match between Liverpool FC and Accrington Stanley FC at Langtree Park. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

TIA Man of the Match: Paul Glatzel

Liverpool U23s: George, Randall, R.Williams, Johnston, Juanma, Coyle, Christie-Davies, Lewis (Larouci 66′), McAuley, Jones (Sharif 74′), Glatzel (Duncan 85′).

Subs not used: Atherton, Gallacher.

Next Match: Bournemouth (A) – Premier League Cup – Monday, February 24, 1pm (GMT)

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Match report: Glatzel gives U23s win over West Ham

LiverpoolFC.TV - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 20:54

Paul Glatzel's poacher's finish earned Liverpool U23s a 1-0 win over their West Ham United counterparts in Premier League 2 on Monday night.

In the final stages of an encounter that had lacked opportunities for long periods, the striker – who celebrates his 18th birthday on Wednesday – pounced on an Abdi Sharif assist to convert from close range.

It was Glatzel’s first strike at U23 level but his 23rd of the campaign overall and proved the difference between the sides at Chigwell Construction Stadium.

For all the commitment and energy from both teams in the opening 20 minutes, genuine goalscoring chances were rare, with the Hammers perhaps enjoying the better of it.

And it was they who launched a futile appeal for a penalty midway through the half, when a strike by Ajibola Alese struck George Johnston en route to goal.

In one of the cleanest passages of play, West Ham’s Jahmal Hector-Ingram made ground with a direct dribble along the right flank on 28 minutes and lifted an inviting cross to the edge of the Liverpool box.

Oladapo Afolayan was there to meet the ball with a first-time hit that was sent too close to goalkeeper Shamal George to cause any real concern.

The most promising avenue for Critchley’s side had been through balls to the runs of Glen McAuley and Glatzel, with both finding space but unable to exploit it fully.

They did combine five minutes before the interval, though.

McAuley used time on the right-hand side of the West Ham box to pick out his fellow forward in the middle and Glatzel’s low shot was blocked by the recovering Kristijan Belic.

The stalemate of the opening 45 minutes continued into the early stages of the second half, though Curtis Jones did get a sight of goal just shy of the hour mark.

Glatzel’s hard work deep in the left corner paved the way for the opportunity but, having spun around the marking of Alfie Lewis in the area, the Reds No.10 fired straight at the goalkeeper.

The Hammers carved out a clear chance at the other end soon after, substitute Dan Chesters sliding in Mesaque Dju on the left, but the final finish flew harmlessly off target.

And, instead, it was Liverpool who found the breakthrough on 77 minutes.

Connor Randall intelligently nodded a long diagonal to the right into the forward run of substitute Sharif and he squared for Glatzel to rush in and force home the winning goal from yards out.

McAuley knocked a stoppage-time effort off the near post after scampering free near the right corner flag, but the visitors had done enough for a hard-fought win.

Liverpool U23s: George, Randall, Juanma, R. Williams, Johnston, Coyle, McAuley, Christie-Davies, Glatzel (Duncan, 85), Jones (Sharif, 74), Lewis (Larouci, 66).

Unused substitutes: Atherton, Gallacher.

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Match report: Glatzel gives U23s win over West Ham

LiverpoolFC TV - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 20:54
Paul Glatzel's poacher's finish earned Liverpool U23s a 1-0 win over their West Ham United counterparts in Premier League 2 on Monday night.
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Liverpool is the most difficult draw there is, says Bayern boss Kovac

ThisIsAnfield.com - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 20:00

Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac feels Liverpool are the toughest Champions League draw his men could have been handed but has backed the Bavarians to get a positive result at Anfield on Tuesday.

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds were runners-up in the competition last season and are currently second in the Premier League, level on points with leaders Manchester City, who have played a game more.

Kovac said at his pre-match press conference ahead of Tuesday’s last-16 first leg: “I want to say once again we are playing tomorrow against an opponent where it is the most difficult draw.

“If you look at what Liverpool did in the Champions League last season, and what they are doing in the Premier League this season, then you have to say it is the most difficult draw that there is.

“The atmosphere will definitely be good, but I’m sure my players have gone through a lot of big games with great atmospheres, so that’s not an argument that we shouldn’t be able to compete tomorrow.

“We just have to get into the game, be focused, stand up to the first attacks and then we’ll try to play our game, and (then) we can get a successful result.

“The Champions League is undoubtedly special and tomorrow when the lads leave the hotel or come into the stadium, they’ll know what it’s about, why they need venues like this and opponents like this.

“I’m completely convinced everybody will be right in the head and produce performances they have to to get a result tomorrow.”

 FC Bayern München's Thiago Alcántara and Robert Lewandowski during a training session at Anfield ahead of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and FC Bayern München. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Bayern are currently second themselves, behind Klopp’s old club Borussia Dortmund, in the Bundesliga, which they won last term for a sixth successive season. They exited last year’s Champions League in the semi-finals.

Former Bayern and Croatia player Kovac took charge at the club last summer, succeeding the retiring Jupp Heynckes.

The visitors look set to be without Jerome Boateng on Tuesday, the defender having been hit by gastroenteritis and not travelled with the squad.

Winger Franck Ribery is another player who did not come across from Germany with his team-mates on Monday, following the birth of his daughter during the night, but he was due to arrive ahead of the match.

It appears Kingsley Coman, who scored twice before coming off with an injury in Friday’s 3-2 win at Augsburg, will be available.

Leon Goretzka trained individually on Monday having picked up a slight ankle problem. Thomas Muller is suspended.

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Liverpool v Bayern Munich: Team news

LiverpoolFC.TV - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 20:00

Jürgen Klopp is unsure on Dejan Lovren's fitness, but Liverpool's boss is upbeat over Georginio Wijnaldum and Xherdan Shaqiri's chances of facing Bayern Munich.

Wijnaldum returned to full training in Marbella last week having suffered with illness before, during and after the Reds' 3-0 win over Bournemouth last time out.

Former Bayern man Shaqiri missed that victory due to a slight abdominal strain, although he is set to come back into contention for Tuesday's Champions League last-16 first leg at Anfield.

The potential availability of centre-back Lovren, who has been out since early January due to a hamstring injury, is less clear, however.

[embedded content]

"I don't know 100 per cent. It's Monday and we play on Tuesday so most of that should be clear," Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com, after being asked for an update on the trio.

"Gini trained and looked really well. Shaq did a lot, so it will be close, we have to see. Dejan, I actually have to wait minute by minute if there is a chance or not. But that's pretty much all, I would say."

Virgil van Dijk's suspension, along with the absence of Joe Gomez (leg) and doubt over Lovren, means Klopp may deploy Fabinho in central defence versus the German champions.

"If - if - [Fabinho plays there] in the Champions League against Bayern Munich it's not an easy job," the manager said.

"But we thought it makes sense we don't leave our last row alone defending against Bayern; [so] it all depends how we defend in general. That's it."

Meanwhile, Jerome Boateng was not named in Bayern's travelling squad due to illness, but Niko Kovac indicated later on Monday that the centre-back may feature against Liverpool.

"We'll have to wait and see - if the doctors say he's not an infection risk, then he could yet be an option," the Bundesliga club's coach said.

Kovac also told the media that he will continue to monitor the fitness of Kingsley Coman. An ankle problem forced the forward off after he'd scored twice during Bayern's 3-2 win at Augsburg last Friday.

"He's improving by the hour. Kingsley needs to be completely pain-free," he confirmed. "We're optimistic that the medical team will have him in shape by tomorrow night."

Thomas Muller (suspended), Arjen Robben (thigh) and Corentin Tolisso (knee) are definite absentees for the visitors.

Last time out

Liverpool v Bournemouth (February 9): Alisson, Milner, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Keita, Mane, Salah, Firmino.

Augsburg v Bayern Munich (February 15): Neuer, Kimmich, Sule, Hummels, Alaba, Thiago, Goretzka, Rodriguez, Gnabry, Coman, Lewandowski.

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Liverpool v Bayern Munich: Team news

LiverpoolFC TV - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 20:00
Jürgen Klopp is unsure on Dejan Lovren's fitness, but Liverpool's boss is upbeat over Georginio Wijnaldum and Xherdan Shaqiri's chances of facing Bayern Munich.
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LFC Women to face Man City in FA Cup quarter-finals

LiverpoolFC.TV - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 19:06

Liverpool FC Women face a trip to Manchester City Women in the quarter-finals of the SSE Women's FA Cup.

The live TV draw saw the Reds picked last out of the hat and given an away tie at the Academy Stadium.

Vicky Jepson’s side secured their place in the last eight with a 2-0 win over Millwall Lionesses at Prenton Park on Sunday.

Second-half goals from Kirsty Linnett and Rinsola Babajide ensured a fourth straight victory for the Reds.

Quarter-final ties are due to be played on Sunday March 17.

Full draw

Reading Women v Manchester United Women

Aston Villa Ladies v West Ham United Women

Durham Women v Chelsea Women

Manchester City Women v Liverpool FC Women

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LFC Women to face Man City in FA Cup quarter-finals

LiverpoolFC TV - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 19:06
Liverpool FC Women face a trip to Manchester City Women in the quarter-finals of the SSE Women's FA Cup.
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Awoniyi stars but FA Cup dreams end for two Reds – Liverpool FC Loan Watch

ThisIsAnfield.com - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 09:45

Taiwo Awoniyi continued his host-streak in front of goal but two Reds saw FA Cup hopes ended on a mixed weekend for Liverpool’s loanees.

Such has been the superb form among the borrowed Reds recently, a quiet spell was bound to arrive at some stage.

Unfortunately, it came this weekend but the positive was that nine Reds featured with only six going without game time.

Nathaniel Clyne and Danny Ings had no fixture with Bournemouth and Southampton out of the FA Cup, while Sheyi Ojo, Adam Bogdan and Allan Rodrigues went unused.

Pedro Chirivella was another not to play as he is currently unavailable for Extremadura due to registration problems, which could reportedly see his loan ended before it has started.

Meanwhile, Colombian youngster Anderson Arroyo should continue to feature for KAA Gent’s U21 side on Monday night.

Productivity with decisive contributions were in short supply, but thankfully Awoniyi saved the show by starring for Royal Excel Mouscron.

Here’s the full lowdown on all the action, starting with the goal machine.

There’s just no stopping Awoniyi…

Mouscron's Taiwo Awoniyi celebrate after scoring during the Jupiler Pro League match between KAA Gent and Royal Excel Mouscron, in Gent, Friday 24 November 2017, on the day 16 of the Jupiler Pro League, the Belgian soccer championship season 2017-2018. BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS

Awoniyi has been on fire since re-joining Mouscron and his stunning form continued on Sunday night as he inspired his side to a 3-0 win over Cercle Brugges.

The 21-year-old had a hand in all three goals in the victory – which was Mouscron’s fifth in a row since Awoniyi returned – as he scored one, created another and had a hand in the third.

First came the goal as Awoniyi opened the scoring immediately after the restart, curling a fine finish into the far top corner after a great burst of pace and tidy foot-work – as seen here.

Then came the assist for his side’s second of the night shortly after, as Awoniyi unselfishly played a clever reverse pass into the path of Selim Amallah who finished.

And a fine night’s work was completed as Awoniyi instigated the move for the third goal which wrapped up the three points with a neat turn and pass.

That makes it four goals – including two match winner – and two assists in five outings since making the move back to a team which seems to bring the best out of the striker.

Long may the stunning run of form continue.

FA Cup dreams ended for two loanees…

Doncaster Rovers' Herbie Kane (Dave Howarth/PA Archive/PA Images)

Herbie Kane and Harry Wilson came into the weekend eyeing FA Cup shocks against Premier League opponents and thus a place in the quarter-finals of the famous competition.

But the challenge of overcoming top-flight opposition proved one too far as the youngsters and their respective teams exited after impressive runs to the fifth round.

Kane and his Doncaster team had particularly impressed to reach that stage, but a last-eight place proved out of touch for the League One side after a 2-0 loss to Crystal Palace.

Kane – who played a key part in Donny’s successful cup run with three goals and two assists – completed all 90 minutes of the tie in his usual central midfield role.

And pleasingly, Kane held his own with a hard-working display in a game that will have provided a valuable experience in competing against top-flight opponents.

Harry Wilson of Derby County during the Pre Season Friendly match at the Pride Park Stadium, (James Wilson/Sportimage via PA Images)

Meanwhile, Wilson’s Derby saw their own strong run come to an end against Brighton, as the Rams narrowly lost 2-1 at the Amex Stadium.

Wilson too played all 90 minutes of the cup tie as Frank Lampard selected his strongest side, but the Welshman struggled to influence proceedings with his usual authority.

Though cup dreams are dashed for Wilson and Kane, the chance for glory is still very much alive as the pair can now put all their efforts into fighting for promotion with their respective clubs.

Six more Reds were in action across the weekend…

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Kamil Grabara during a preseason friendly match between Bury FC and Liverpool FC at Gigg Lane. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

It was the in-form goalkeepers who provided the main positive among the rest of those who featured.

Kamil Grabara made it two clean sheets in two Danish SuperLiga games at AGF Arhus as the Polish stopper posted a second successive shutout in a 2-0 win over Sonderjyske on Friday night.

And in Turkey, Loris Karius enjoyed the taste of victory too, with the German helping Besiktas to a 2-1 victory at Malatyaspor on the same evening.

Staying in Europe, Marko Grujic has shone in almost every outing for Hertha Berlin this season but endured a rare quiet afternoon as his side were held to a 1-1 draw by Werder Bremen.

There was one Red in Football League action and that was Ovie Ejaria, who returned from illness as Reading faced promotion-chasing Sheffield United in the Championship.

Rangers Oviemuno Ejaria during the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round, first leg match at Ibrox, Glasgow. (Jeff Holmes/PA Archive/PA Images)

Taking up a central midfield role, it proved to be a frustrating afternoon for Ejaria as an ankle injury forced him off at half-time of the eventual 4-0 defeat.

Two Reds were in action north of the border in the Scottish Premier League, but there was frustration all round with a winless weekend.

Ryan Kent has been in great form at Rangers recently but couldn’t provide the moment of inspiration on Saturday as he endured a frustrating game in a 0-0 draw with St Johnstone.

And finally, Liam Millar made a fourth consecutive sub appearance for Kilmarnock, playing the closing stages of his side’s last-gasp 1-0 defeat to Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic.

Liverpool’s Loanees This Weekend

 0, on 08.12.2018 in Berlin / Germany. ¨ | usage worldwide

  • Kamil Grabara (AGF Arhuas) – 90 mins vs. Sonderjyske, clean sheet
  • Loris Karius (Besiktas) – 90 mins vs. Malatyaspor
  • Harry Wilson (Derby) – 90 mins vs. Brighton
  • Ovie Ejaria (Reading) – 45 mins vs. Sheffield United
  • Ryan Kent (Rangers) – 90 mins vs. St Johnstone
  • Marko Grujic (Hertha Berlin) – 90 mins vs. Werder Bremen
  • Herbie Kane (Doncaster) – 90 mins vs. Crystal Palace
  • Liam Millar (Kilmarnock) – 8 mins + stoppage time vs. Celtic
  • Taiwo Awoniyi (Club) – 90 mins vs. Cercle Brugges, goal & assist
  • Anderson Arroyo (KAA Gent U21) – To play Standard Liege on Monday night

Not in action: Nathaniel Clyne, Danny Ings, Pedro Chirivella, Adam Bogdan, Sheyi Ojo, Allan Rodrigues

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Bayern Munich confirm 21-man squad travelling to Liverpool – with 3 key absentees

ThisIsAnfield.com - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 09:18

Bayern Munich have named a 21-man squad to travel to Liverpool for Tuesday night’s clash, with Jerome Boateng, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery missing out.

Bayern head to Merseyside for the first leg of the Champions League last 16 facing defensive issues and missing big-name personnel, much like their hosts.

This sets up the tie as an interesting battle between the two managers, with Niko Kovac looking to outsmart Jurgen Klopp as they both seek an early advantage before the return leg at the Allianz Arena on March 13.

Thomas Muller is suspended for the visitors, while Robben was already ruled out with a thigh injury, and now Bayern have confirmed Boateng and Ribery have also remained in Bavaria.

Ribery is absent due to the birth of his child, though could still join the squad.

Corentin Tolisso is another not named, with the Frenchman out for the long term with an ACL tear, with Kovac turning to inexperienced cover throughout his squad.

Lars Lukas Mai (18) and Maxime Awoudja (21) are included as part of the defensive ranks, while Alphonso Davies (18), Meritan Shabani (19) and Jeong Woo-yeong (19) flesh out Kovac’s forward line.

That youthful quintet have played 29 first-team minutes between them this season, with third-choice goalkeeper Christian Fruchtl also yet to make an appearance.

Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (Sven Hoppe/DPA/PA Images)

It is, therefore, relatively easy to predict Bayern’s starting lineup for Tuesday night, with Manuel Neuer in goal behind a back four of Joshua Kimmich, Mats Hummels, Niklas Sule and David Alaba.

Thiago Alcantara, James Rodriguez and Leon Goretzka could make up the midfield again, though Rodriguez may be required to support Robert Lewandowski in attack.

Two of Javi Martinez, Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry are likely to take up the final pair of spots, with Coman still considered a doubt due to an ankle problem.

If Ribery does in fact make a late flight to England, he could start in place of the Frenchman.

Meanwhile, Liverpool will definitely be without Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, while Dejan Lovren and Xherdan Shaqiri are doubts, along with long-term absentees Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ben Woodburn, Nat Phillips and Rhian Brewster.

Bayern Munich Squad vs. Liverpool

 Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group E match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by Chris Brunskill/Propaganda)

Goalkeepers: Neuer, Ulreich, Fruchtl

Defenders: Sule, Hummels, Alaba, Kimmich, Rafinha, Awoudja, Mai

Midfielders: Thiago, Martinez, Rodriguez, Goretzka, Sanches

Forwards: Lewandowski, Coman, Gnabry, Davies, Jeong, Shabani

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Debating how Liverpool should line up in the Champions League against Bayern Munich

ThisIsAnfield.com - Mon, 02/18/2019 - 08:00

Liverpool face Bayern Munich in the Champions League last 16 first leg on Tuesday—but is that where priorities should lie for Jurgen Klopp‘s team?

When it came to the FA Cup, the fanbase seemed somewhat split on how strong a team should be put out and how seriously the competition should be taken.

That was, of course, due to the Reds being top of the Premier League and in with their best chance of winning the competition in years.

Now, another six weeks further along, the same question is being asked by some over the Champions League—with some supporters adamant that the entire focus should be on preserving energy and fitness for the remaining domestic games.

To judge just how seriously fans want to take the European exploits remaining this season, This Is Anfield has gathered the thoughts of four supporters with regards to team selection this week.

Karl Matchett (@karlmatchett) spoke to James Nalton (JDNalton), Dave Hendrick (@DaveHendrick_) and Guy Drinkel (@guydrinkel) to see how each would operate in Jurgen Klopp‘s shoes…

Where does this game rank in your priorities right now, given upcoming opposition, the gaps between fixtures and squad fitness?

 Liverpool's manager J¸rgen Klopp celebrates after the 3-0 victory over AFC Bournemouth during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

JAMES: Liverpool vs. Bayern Munich stands out on the fixture list as one of the biggest games in world football so will, and should, be treated as such.

A four-day break follows before the Manchester United game on Sunday, so there will be time to rest and prepare.

Bayern can be got at, so get at them now and make it easier to rotate in the second leg. I think there is a danger that prioritising one competition over the other can backfire in both.

DAVE: It’s low on my list of priorities to be honest. I’d rank all remaining league games ahead of it.

It’s great to play teams like Bayern as they, like us, are proper European royalty. But the Premier League has got to take centre stage in our priorities.

Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (Sven Hoppe/DPA/PA Images)

GUY: I think this game definitely ranks below the upcoming United game, as the Premier League is everything this season.

I’d say it’s a comfortable second on the priority list though, before other league games, as a Champions League run can add an extra spark to the team.

KARL: I’m with James overall: it’s a huge fixture and it’s part of our push to become one of Europe’s most feared teams again.

Too many were quick to dismiss Liverpool’s run to the final last season as having played “easy” teams along the way, despite that being absolute nonsense.

Beat Bayern and it’s a notable scalp, regardless of what happens after. Players will notice and so will future opponents.

Can this Liverpool squad realistically compete for both the league title and last into the last four again in Europe?

 Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the third goal with team-mates during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

JAMES: If everyone stays fit, then yes, but when there are injuries or suspensions in certain areas the squad can begin to look a little light on quality in depth.

This will be a big game in terms of seeing how they cope without a key player…

DAVE: I don’t think so. I don’t think we have the depth. We have no quality depth in defense or attack, bar Xherdan Shaqiri, and after the midfield three that played against Bournemouth I don’t think there’s enough quality there either.

A fully fit Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would have made a difference, as would a motivated and integrated Daniel Sturridge, but neither of those things are there this season.

 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

GUY: I think it’d be terribly difficult to go deep in Europe with the current squad and realistically go all-out for the league at the same time, so I suppose if we get past Bayern there will be a decision to be made in terms of rotation.

Hopefully the fixtures fall kindly but, as I stated previously, the league should take priority.

KARL: It can if there are no injuries to what we’d term the first XI…but then that’s not really the squad, is it?

If Liverpool have to play without two of the front three, or if another centre-back goes down for a few games against top-class opposition, we will struggle.

We can beat Bayern and then beat United, but from here to May using mainly only 15 players or so is a big ask.

Who will be the single most crucial player to fulfil Van Dijk’s responsibilities?

 Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' during the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

JAMES: Fabinho. If he plays in defence then he will need to provide the assured presence at the back which none of the other centre-backs can, and lead by example.

If he plays in midfield then he will need to protect a back line which will be considerably weaker in Van Dijk’s absence.

DAVE: Fabinho. There’s a huge amount resting on his shoulders for this game. He’s got to become the leader of the defence for this game, even if he plays in midfield for it.

I expect him at centre-back next to Joel Matip and he’s going to have to be talking and organising all game long, as well as dealing with the direct threats that come into his area.

I’m confident he can handle it though, he’s an exceptional footballer.

 Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' celebrates scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

GUY: I think the most crucial player will be Fabinho regardless of which role he actually plays; if he’s in midfield he can protect the makeshift defence, but if he’s at centre-back he’ll have one of the best strikers in the world directly against him.

KARL: Looks like a solid consensus here! Fabinho needs a 10/10 game, no question.

Give your preferred Liverpool line-up for the first leg against Bayern…

 Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson appeals for a penalty during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

JAMES: Alisson; Trent, Fabinho, Matip, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Keita; Mane, Firmino, Salah.

DAVE: Mignolet; Hoever, Philips, Matip, Moreno; Milner, Henderson, Lallana; Sturridge, Origi, Woodburn. That’s what I want. I want us out of the Champions League and 100 per cent focused on the Premier League.

But I expect Klopp will go with James’ team above.

GUY: Alisson; Milner, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson; Henderson, Gini, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane. I’d have Wijnaldum as the deepest midfielder and let the other two press and harrass.

KARL: Same XI for me as James, with Henderson as my holding midfielder. I want Wijnaldum surging through into the attacking line, just like he did against Bournemouth.

Bayern have weaknesses in their defence and they must be exposed by movement off the ball, particularly from deep.

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