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Liverpool could face some tough sides in knockout round of the Champions League – but here is why they can beat them all

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Alisson saves from Arkadiusz Milik

Alisson saves brilliantly for Liverpool

Liverpool did it the hard way, but they did it. The Merseyside club made it into the last 16 of the Champions League with a 1-0 win over Napoli, and there were some heart-stopping moments along the way.

From Sadio Mane’s misses to Alisson’s big save in stoppage, this match certainly lived up to its billing and Anfield was a bundle of energy pushing the Reds towards victory.

In all honesty, Liverpool should have won this game by a comfortable margin, but things are never easy for us.

Our poor away form saw us lose all three group games not held at Anfield, and this played a huge role in us finishing second in the group behind PSG.

Last season, we topped the group and we got a decent tie in the first knockout game with a trip to Porto. Of course, the Estadio do Dragao is a difficult place to visit but we won the first-leg 5-0.

Expecting something similar seems a bit of a stretch, given who all we could face in the first knockout round.

Tough tie awaits Liverpool

Finishing second means we will face one of the other group winners in this season’s competition. We can’t face a Premier League side as UEFA rules prohibit same country teams meeting in the first knockout round, and our possible opponents could be:

Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona, Porto, Bayern Munich/Ajax, Lyon, Real Madrid/Roma, Juventus.

That makes for some tough games, and if things work in our favour we could be drawn against a Porto or Ajax, but that’s wishful thinking.

There is another issue we have to keep in mind with Virgil van Dijk missing the first leg of the knockout round due to his yellow card against Napoli.

Liverpool have been excellent in the Premier League but their performances in Europe haven’t been outstanding this season.

However, to progress, they need to get some things right.

Liverpool need to tweak things to get the best out of the side

Jurgen Klopp has tweaked a lot with his formation this season, and it has worked more often than not. Shifting from the crazy heavy metal 4-3-3 last season, the German has deployed a safer 4-2-3-1 with Mohamed Salah leading the line and Roberto Firmino playing behind the Egyptian.

This pragmatic approach makes it difficult for teams to break us down but our attack isn’t as fluid as it was last season.

The Reds struggled with their 4-3-3 in Europe this season, and some of our worst displays actually came with this formation in use.

James Milner Liverpool

Looking at the opposition, only the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona should scare the Reds. We have a decent record against Borussia Dortmund with that magical night in the Europa League a couple of years ago.

Further, Bayern Munich aren’t the dominant force they were under Pep Guardiola and have already lost three Bundesliga games this season.

The Reds should keep playing their 4-2-3-1 formation and possibly field Naby Keita in behind Roberto Firmino.

The Guinea midfielder has the guile and ability to run past defences with his dribbling, while Firmino can stretch any defence with his movement.

Shifting Salah out wide to the right might be a risk after his exploits down the middle, but this makes us play similar to what we did last season.

The Egyptian was brilliant down the right against Napoli and he seems to be hitting form at the right moment.

Mohamed Salah Virgil van Dijk Liverpool

The trio of attackers need to find their verve, and fortunately, we seem to be heading on the right track if the last few games are taken into consideration.

The midfield is where we should see more change with Fabinho starting more games in Europe alongside Jordan Henderson.

The Brazilian is a shield to our defence but is capable of threading the needle too. The pair of Fabinho and Keita have been picking up in recent games, and their partnership will be crucial in our Champions League run.

Naby Keita of Liverpool

We have toned down the Gegenpressing in the first half of the season, but that surely has to change once we face some of the tougher sides.

The defence and our goalkeeper are possibly the best in England, and one of the best in Europe, so we aren’t worried about that.

The Reds are in great touch now, and qualifying for the knockout round will have given us more confidence.

Read more: “Wasted ~100 seconds. He’s living in 2030” – Some Liverpool fans react hilariously to forward’s struggles against Napoli

We beat Napoli at home, we beat PSG at home, and frankly, we shouldn’t worry about who we face in the next round.

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“Liverpool are the favourites” – Bayern Munich star backs Reds to beat the Bundesliga giants

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Liverpool players celebrate win

Latest Liverpool news: Joshua Kimmich claims Liverpool are favourites ahead of Champions League clash

Bayern Munich’s German international Joshua Kimmich has installed Liverpool as favourites ahead of the Champions League round of 16 clash against Bayern Munich.

The first leg takes place on Tuesday night at Anfield, and the German claims Bayern’s inconsistency and Liverpool’s form this season makes the English side the favourites (h/t Telegraph):

“Liverpool are the favourites.

“They have lost one league game all season and have let in only 15 goals. But when you look at us, we are not as consistent as before.”

Bayern have struggled a bit this season under new manager Niko Kovac and trail Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.

The Reds have been supreme in the league losing just once but are tied on points at the top of the table with Manchester City.

Jurgen Klopp making the difference for Liverpool

Kimmich was asked a range of questions by the Telegraph and the 24-year-old spoke about Jurgen Klopp possibly becoming the Germany boss in the future.

Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp

The Bayern star claimed Klopp could coach any side in the world and was amazed regarding the connection the manager has with the fans and players.

“You can see how he pushes his players to another level. Every player is better with this coach.”

Klopp has had his run-ins with Bayern during his spell as Dortmund manager, and it will be interesting to see how we perform in the first leg on Tuesday.

Read more Liverpool news, click here – Latest Liverpool news

Liverpool haven’t played since defeating Bournemouth 3-0 and had a 10-day break to prepare for this clash. The Reds then play Manchester United at the weekend, and these two huge games should see the best out of the team.

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19-year-old Liverpool target emerges on arch-rivals Man United’s radar for the summer

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Joao Felix

Joao Felix

Liverpool FC transfer news: Manchester United and PSG battle for Liverpool target Joao Felix

Liverpool have been linked with a move for Benfica’s starlet Joao Felix, according to the Mirror. However, there is a lot of interest in the 19-year-old, who has a release clause of £105million (h/t Mirror).

The report adds that Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain are “locked” in a battle for Felix, who has been dubbed as the next Cristiano Ronaldo.

Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Arsenal and Chelsea are also admirers of Europe’s rising talent, according to the report. Ronaldo has also been seen at Benfica games, and the Mirror adds that the youngster wants to play alongside the legend one day.

However, the report claims that Juventus are not in the running for the 19-year-old with PSG and Manchester United leading the race for his signature.

Liverpool's Ryan Kent

Ryan Kent

Liverpool have youngsters performing away on loan

Although the Reds could do with more senior attacking options to provide cover for Mohamed Salah and co, Liverpool have a few youngsters doing well on loan this season.

Felix would cost a bomb, according to the report, while the likes of Harry Wilson and Ryan Kent have done well at Derby County and Rangers respectively.

We also have Marko Grujic doing exceptionally well at Hertha Berlin, but it seems he will be loaned out for another year.

Read more Liverpool transfer news, click here – Latest Liverpool transfer news

Felix has a bright future ahead of him and it will be interesting to see if he switches from Benfica to another club in the summer window.

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Liverpool will reject any moves for this 26-year-old star as they aren’t a “selling club” any more

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Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah

Liverpool FC transfer news: Liverpool know they can reject offers for Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah has been linked with a move to Juventus with the Italian club paying £44m and sending Paulo Dybala the other way, according to reports (h/t Express).

The Egyptian has been in excellent form since signing from AS Roma, however, the Express adds that Liverpool will reject any bid for the 26-year-old.

The report adds that Liverpool are not seen as a selling club any more and Jurgen Klopp has transformed the club into a final destination for players.

Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Salah all signed new deals in recent months and will remain at the club till 2023, according to the Express.

Roberto Firmino and Andy Robertson

Roberto Firmino and Andy Robertson

A financial expert further weighed in on the matter and highlighted the club’s recent profits too (h/t Express):

“Liverpool are no longer a selling club. After posting profits of £125m they can resist any offers.”

Anfield is home

This is a welcome change when compared to earlier seasons where our top players went off to other clubs.

Philippe Coutinho was the most recent example as he left the Reds for Barcelona, but he did create a bit of a scene before leaving Anfield.

Luis Suarez was another player that swapped the Reds for the Catalan club while we lost the likes of Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso too for various reasons.

Read more Liverpool transfer news, click here – Latest Liverpool transfer news

The Reds are possibly in the best health as a club on and off the field during the Premier League era, and hopefully, all this translates into some form of success with a trophy coming home.

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