Sunday’s reassuring 4-2 win over Burnley maintained Liverpool’s Premier League title charge, but the Reds swiftly turned their attention to the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich. Delicately poised after a goalless first leg at Anfield, Jurgen Klopp’s side will hope to summon the spirit and composure shown by fellow English sides Tottenham and Manchester United in winning the away legs of their respective last 16 ties. A score draw would also suffice for Liverpool, of course.

On the face of it, a return of nine goals in four league games since the first leg of this tie reflects well on Liverpool, although two of those ended in frustrating goalless draws, suggesting that it’s either famine or feast when it comes to their fortunes in front of goal. Bayern come into this game on a real high after demolishing Wolfsburg to go top of the Bundesliga on goal difference. Our statistical analysis looks for trends to see where this fixture might be won or lost.

Last six games in all competitions

Bayern Munich: W5, D1, L0, F18, A4
Liverpool: W3, D3, L0, F12, A2

The two goals conceded to Burnley in Sunday’s Premier League clash meant that a sequence of five consecutive clean sheets for Liverpool was ended, a run dating back to 4 February when Michail Antonio netted for West Ham. Three of the Reds’ last five games have ended 0-0, with the other three ending in convincing wins against Bournemouth (3-0), Watford (5-2) and Burnley (4-2). All three of those were at Anfield, though; the Reds have not won any of their last three away fixtures. Their last win on the road came at Brighton on 12 January.

Bayern have been in imperious form since the resumption of the Bundesliga in January, winning seven out of eight in the league to not only catch up with long-time leaders Borussia Dortmund but surpass them on goal difference. That was massively boosted in their two most recent outings, a 6-0 win over Wolfsburg at the weekend preceded by a 5-1 hammering of Borussia Monchengladbach. The goals have been flowing freely of late for Niko Kovac’s men, with Liverpool the only team to keep a clean sheet against them in their last 23 matches in all competitions, a run stretching back to mid-October.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FQJGFANtEQ

Liverpool’s European travel sickness

While Tottenham, Ajax and Manchester United all picked up impressive away wins in last week’s Champions League ties, the latter two retrieving a first leg deficit, Liverpool’s record on the road in Europe does nothing to suggest that they will follow suit. The Reds have lost their last five Champions League games played away from Anfield, with their last European victory outside of England coming against Porto at this stage of the competition last season.

The travel sickness began with a 4-2 defeat to Roma in the semi-finals of last year’s memorable European run. Having won the first leg 5-2 at Anfield, Liverpool did enough to advance to the decider, but they were running seriously low on oxygen towards the finishing stages of that second leg at the Stadio Olimpico. That semi-final effort ultimately proved to be in vain as, in the final in Kyiv, the Reds were beaten 3-1 by Real Madrid.

Liverpool then managed to progress to the knockout rounds of this season’s Champions League despite losing all three away games in their group. After a 1-0 loss away to Napoli in October, they fell 2-0 in Serbia against Red Star Belgrade, a team they had beaten comfortably at Anfield two weeks previously. A 2-1 defeat away to Paris Saint-Germain left Klopp’s side teetering on the brink of elimination before a narrow victory at home to Napoli got them through by the skin of their teeth. The Reds’ most recent away win in the Champions League came last April, a 2-1 triumph over Manchester City in the quarter-finals after a 3-0 win in the first leg at Anfield.

Bayern’s imperious home record in Champions League last-16 ties

In each of the last seven seasons, Bayern Munich have progressed beyond the first knockout round of the Champions League. With the exception of their ties against Arsenal in 2013 and 2014, when two-goal wins at the Emirates Stadium proved decisive, the Germans’ recent record in the home legs at this phase of the tournament has been frightening, to say the least.

The sequence began in March 2012 when, trailing 1-0 to Swiss outfit FC Basel from the first leg, Bayern smashed in seven goals without reply in the return fixture in Munich. Arsenal managed to win 2-0 and draw 1-1 at the Allianz Arena in the following two seasons, but Bayern did enough in London to progress. In 2015, they won a knockout round match 7-0 for the second time in four years, obliterating Shakhtar Donetsk after a goalless first leg in Ukraine.

Juventus gave them a much tougher test the following season but Bayern still prevailed 4-2 after extra time in the home leg. In 2017 they met Arsenal at the last 16 stage for the third time in five years, this time annihilating the Gunners 5-1 in both legs of the tie. Like Liverpool, they also enjoyed an emphatic first-leg win at this stage of the competition, hammering Besiktas 5-0 in Munich to make the away leg a formality.

In seven Champions League last-16 home ties since 2012, Bayern’s record reads: won five, drawn one, lost one, conceded six, scored 29 (an average of just over four per game). Liverpool can’t say they haven’t been warned about what could lie in store at the Allianz Arena this week, even if the Reds did win 3-0 on their only previous visit to the stadium in a pre-season fixture in August 2017.


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Liam Togher

Football writer from Ireland. Contributor to liverpoolfchq.com and taleoftwohalves.uk with Ronnie Dog Media.
Liam Togher