Liverpool and Bayern Munich played out an entertaining 0-0 draw in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash at Anfield. This leaves the second leg in Germany evenly poised but recent history suggests that Liverpool may have put the tie out of their reach already.
Before the first leg at Anfield against the Bavarian club, Jurgen Klopp made it loud and clear that he wants the fans to back the team to the hilt and push them towards a victory. According to Klopp, the Anfield crowd can take his team from 100% to 140%.
The gaffer’s comments may seem like an emotional one but there is more to it than meets the eye.
For any team, it is important to win their home matches in knockout stages to enhance their chances of moving forward and that’s given. However, for Liverpool, it has become a necessity based on the evidence of their performance in away matches.
The dreaded form away from home
Liverpool’s first taste of European football under Klopp was way back in his first season when he led the Reds to the final of the Europa League.
The Reds already played two group stage games before Klopp took over and in the remaining four group stage games, Liverpool won two and drew two. Out of those four games, there were two away games at Rubin Kazan and Sion – Liverpool won the former and drew the latter game.
The win away at Kazan would prove to be Liverpool’s only win away from home (including the final) during the entire campaign. In the knockout stage, Liverpool drew their away legs against Augsburg, Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund; and lost against Villarreal in the semifinal. To top it all off, Liverpool also lost the final against Sevilla.
Liverpool didn’t play in any European competition in 2016/17 but in 2017/18, they returned to the Champions League and romped to the final.
‘I’d buy a ticket’ for Liverpool vs Bayern – Klopp
In the group stage, Liverpool won their away fixture against Maribor 7-0 but drew against both Sevilla and Spartak Moscow. The draw against Sevilla was embarrassing as Liverpool led the game 3-0 at half-time.
In the knockout stage, Klopp’s men dealt a 5-0 trashing to Porto in their own backyard and followed it up with a 2-1 away win over Manchester City in the quarterfinal. However, since beating City at the Etihad, Liverpool hasn’t won a European match at any other venue other than Anfield. In fact, they’ve lost all of their matches away from home or at a neutral venue.
This poor run started with a 4-2 defeat to Roma in the second leg of last season’s semifinal which was followed by a 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in Kiev in the final.
This season, Liverpool were drawn in a tough group with PSG, Napoli and Red Star; and the Reds managed to lose all of their away matches. Not only did Liverpool lose, but they were also totally outplayed in those games. They also found the back of the net once in these three games and that goal was from a penalty.
Bayern’s home ground, Allianz Arena, is not an easy place to visit even though the Bavarian side isn’t in their best of form this season. This is a ground at which they’ve beaten the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus in recent years.
The envious home form
Liverpool’s form at Anfield is a stark contrast to their away form. In home games under Klopp in European competitions, the Merseyside club is yet to taste defeat. In 16 home games including the recent 0-0 draw against Bayern Munich, Liverpool has won 12 games, drawn four, scored 41 goals, conceded only 11 goals and kept ten clean sheets.
Klopp’s side has defeated European giants such as PSG, Manchester City, Manchester United, Napoli, Roma and Borussia Dortmund at Anfield so far.
‘I know Lewandowski and Hummels’ – Klopp on working with two star Bayern Munich players
Considering Liverpool’s contrasting home and away form especially in the recent fixtures, one can’t help but wonder if the Round of 16 tie against Bayern Munich is already out of their reach?