Liverpool hold edge over Bayern, say pundits
Liverpool have several factors in their favour for return leg on March 13
Liverpool still have the edge over Bayern Munich, said various pundits after a 0-0 draw at Anfield in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie yesterday morning (Singapore time).
Here are their reasons:
1) BAYERN MUST ATTACK
The Bundesliga champions must ditch their defensive shell to score at the Allianz Arena, which would leave gaps at the back for Liverpool's speedy attackers to exploit.
That's why former Manchester United skipper Rio Ferdinand is still backing Liverpool to advance.
Ferdinand, who predicted a 3-1 win for Liverpool before the match, said on BT Sport: "If I'm a Liverpool fan, I'd be the happier of the two. I feel I can go (to the Allianz Arena) and score...
"I'm confident Liverpool will go through, because of the attacking prowess they've got, the devastation they wreak.
"Bayern are going to have to come out a little bit more at the Allianz. (When) they do that, that's when this Liverpool team will come alive and be able to pick them."
Former Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood, speaking on Sky Sports, echoed Ferdinand's sentiments.
He said: "The onus is on Bayern to come out now. They have to come out and score against Liverpool, but they have to be very cautious that they don't concede against one of the best front threes in European football."
Former Liverpool midfielder Steve McMahon, also speaking on SkySports, believes the Reds will be able to find the net in Munich.
He said: "Away from home, Liverpool can score goals. We've seen that with the pace and power that they have and it's a tricky one, but it's not over by a long shot."
2) REDS' CLEAN SHEET
Sherwood also feels that a clean sheet is a positive for Liverpool, as it means the Reds can progress to the quarter-finals with a score draw in Munich.
They had done so against Bayern previously - in the 1981 European Cup semi-finals - when they drew 0-0 at Anfield but advanced to the final after drawing 1-1 away.
The Reds went on to beat Real Madrid to lift the trophy at the Parc des Princes.
Said Sherwood: "It is a great result tonight. A 2-1 win would have been a worse result because Bayern getting the away goal would have been a disaster for Liverpool, but that didn't happen."
Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson feels similarly.
He told the club website: "Of course, (Bayern) will be happier with a clean sheet but a clean sheet at home in the Champions League is so crucial.
"We know that when we go over there, one goal counts as a wee bit more than that and, if we can grab one, then they have to score two at least."
3) KIMMICH'S SUSPENSION
Bayern right-back Joshua Kimmich, who was cautioned for a tackle on Sadio Mane in the 28th minute, will miss the return leg on March 13 as it was his third yellow card in this Champions League campaign.
His absence could prove crucial, said former Manchester United and Bayern midfielder Owen Hargreaves.
Speaking as a pundit on BT Sport, Hargreaves said: "That yellow card really could change everything because they're going to need to score at home, and he's their greatest source, really, of assists.
"It's a big, big loss. Rafinha will play who is very trusted, but he doesn't give the attacking threat that Kimmich does."
Kimmich, who has racked up 10 assists for Bayern this season, will be unavailable along with Thomas Mueller, who did not play in the first leg, too.
However, midfielder Leon Goretzka and winger Arjen Robben are set to return.
4) VAN DIJK'S RETURN
Virgil van Dijk's suspension meant midfielder Fabinho had to be deployed in central defence, along with Joel Matip.
And Sherwood believes his return would definitely be a boost, saying: "Let's not forget, they had no Virgil van Dijk tonight, he'll be back for the away leg.
" It is a very positive result for Liverpool."