Weblog: The football punter

Klopp's Liverpool can expose Bayern defence

BT Sport 2, 8pm Tuesday

Liverpool's Anfield fortress could be the decisive factor when the Reds host Bayern Munich in their Champions League last-16 tie.

Jurgen Klopp's side benefit significantly from home advantage and have gone unbeaten there for 19 European matches. Real Madrid were the last continental side to taste success on Merseyside in October 2014 and and no visitors have been able to silence the Kop in this season's Premier League either.

Paris St-Germain and Napoli have already lost at Anfield in this season's Champions League, while 17 previous ties against German opponents have resulted in three draws and 14 wins for a refreshed Liverpool outfit.

A weekend breather will have done Klopp's squad the world of good and they can hit this match at full tilt as they look to go one better than last season's runners-up place in the Champions League.

Bayern, behind Bundesliga pacesetters Borussia Dortmund, are not the force they once were and odds-against quotes for Liverpool to take a lead to Munich are worth snapping up, even with Virgil van Dijk suspended.

Van Dijk's absence is a major handicap, made worse by an injury to Joe Gomez and the probable absence of Dejan Lovren, who faces a late fitness test.

A more likely scenario is Fabinho alongside Joel Matip and the former Monaco utility man has shown that he can play in that position as the Reds try to contain Robert Lewandowski, who leads this season's Champions League Golden Boot race with eight goals.

Lewandowski has 25 goals in 30 Bayern appearances this season, but more often that not, the Munich men are long odds-on to beat mediocre Bundesliga opponents.

This is a different test entirely and there are major doubts as to whether Bayern can create enough opportunities for Lewandowski to mask the obvious problems at the heart of their defence.

They have conceded three times in four games in this season's Bundesliga and Bayern also shipped three at Ajax in a draw in the Champions League group stage.

Coach Niko Kovac, a novice as a boss at Champions League level, is being blamed in many quarters for Bayern's dodgy defence but it could be more a personnel problem with Munich managing just two clean sheets in their last 17 Champions League away matches.

Those shutouts came at Benfica and AEK Athens - hardly comparable sides to Liverpool - and even though Bayern have scored at least twice in 12 of their last 13 Champions League road trips, expect the Reds to gain the initiative if this turns into a shootout.


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Chelsea v Burnley

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Expert verdict
Chelsea have ten victories from 13 matches in all competitions at Stamford Bridge and should add to that impressive record when they host Burnley.The Blues have their sights set on a top-four finish, but could be vulnerable to a Burnley attack that has scored ten goals in five away matches.