Pennant watch. Liverpool will be gifting Bayern this well-upholstered number. Hopefully captain Jordan Henderson won’t hold it too closely to his chest before handing it over, else folk spot it doesn’t quite match the red of the shirt.
Let’s hope Manuel Neuer also keeps his commemorative trinket well away from his clobber. Both pennant and shirt look lovely on their own terms, but they’re very much in business for themselves. A quick exchange before kick-off to avoid all this clashing, and everybody’s happy.
As expected, Dejan Lovren wasn’t able to make it back from injury, and so he sits it out with the suspended Virgil van Dijk in the stands. Liverpool name Joel Matip and Fabinho in the heart of their defence, while welcoming back Trent Alexander-Arnold and captain Jordan Henderson. Roberto Firmino had been suffering from a virus, but he’s better now and able to start.
As for Bayern: they make just one change to the team that fell behind twice at Augsburg last Friday, only to recover for a 3-2 win that closed the gap on Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga. Javi Martinez returns, taking the place of the injured Leon Goretzka.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Fabinho, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Keita, Mane, Salah, Firmino.
Subs: Mignolet, Milner, Sturridge, Moreno, Lallana, Shaqiri, Origi.
Bayern Munich: Neuer, Kimmich, Sule, Hummels, Alaba, Thiago, Martinez, James Rodriguez, Gnabry, Lewandowski, Coman.
Subs: Ulreich, Ribery, Rafinha, Davies, Mai, Sanches, Shabani.
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy).
Liverpool and Bayern Munich have ten European Cups between them. So it’s a little surprising, given their rich histories on the continent, that they’ve only met each other in Europe’s premier club competition once before. That was a semi-final clash in 1981, Liverpool winning on away goals thanks to Ray Kennedy’s late strike, a typically clinical, cute and clever finish from a quiet genius.
That tie apart, the clubs have only played three other competitive Uefa matches. Bayern came out on top in the semi-finals of the 1972 Cup Winners Cup, Gerd Müller (2) and Uli Hoeness doing the damage in a 3-1 win in Munich, Alun Evans scoring Liverpool’s consolation. Then in the 2001 Super Cup at Monaco’s Stade Louis II, John Arne Riise, Emile Heskey and Michael Owen put Gerard Houllier’s side three up, just enough to hold off a late Bayern comeback launched by Hasan Salihamidžić and Carsten Jancker.
So here’s a weird historical quirk. Both of the matches played at Anfield – in those aforementioned 1972 and 1981 double-headers – ended goalless. That trend has to end tonight, surely, with neither team looking particularly solid at the back. Liverpool are missing the suspended Virgil van Dijk as well as the injured Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren; they’ll most likely be depending on the makeshift pairing of Joel Matip and Fabinho. Bayern meanwhile have become uncharacteristically leaky: they’ve conceded eight goals in their last four matches. But what an attack: 20 goals in the last seven games, eight more than Liverpool have managed over a similar stretch.
Goals, then? Yes please! If you could! It’s the 1977, 1978, 1981, 1984 and 2005 winners against the 1974, 1975, 1976, 2001 and 2013 champions. It’s a battle for a place in the 2019 quarters! It’s on!