It’s been a very good time to be a Liverpool fan recently, as the Reds extended their unbeaten run in the Premier League with a dominant win over Manchester United after securing qualification to the Champions League Round of 16 – where they will face German heavyweights Bayern Munich.
It’s a tie that on paper looks set to be a blockbuster, with a plethora of world class talent set to be on display for two very good teams.
There’s also the added flavour of the Jürgen Klopp factor to throw into the mix, with the former Borussia Dortmund and Mainz manager being very familiar with facing up against Bayern after his spells in his home country.
A lot has been made of Klopp’s record against Bayern in the initial build-up to the knockout ties in 2019, which is impressive, to say the least.
In the 29 games Klopp has had against Bayern, he has come away with nine victories and four draws and famously beat them to the Bundesliga with Dortmund during his time at the Westfalenstadion.
To say Klopp discovered a winning methodology when it came to setting up his teams against Munich is fair to an extent, but this should not be relied upon too heavily at all during Liverpool’s build up to face the reigning German champions.
This is purely because so much has changed, for both Klopp and Bayern since the last time that the two sides fought it out on a football pitch.
Klopp’s Liverpool are currently looking like an incredible footballing force, unbeaten domestically and still looking to hit their best form in Europe. His players are all singing from the same hymn sheet, churning out brilliant performances when it matters and showing no signs of stopping.
They are a far cry from the side that he inherited in 2015, and the same could be said for the current crop of Bayern Munich players.
While their squad looks as strong as ever to the naked eye, things have not been going as smoothly on the pitch and they currently sit nine points behind runaway leaders Dortmund in the Bundesliga.
Boss Niko Kovac has endured a turbulent reign during his time at Bayern, and there were widespread calls for his sacking not too long ago, but he has turned things around somewhat, and Bayern have not lost since they were swept aside by Borussia Monchengladbach 0-3 in October.
While Klopp’s prior knowledge of the team as a whole may now be dated, he’ll still know how to deal with individual threats like Robben and Lewandowski and will be aware of how he can best exploit players like Mats Hummels.
All of these will be useful little insights, but they’ll be nothing more than that. But to think for one second that Klopp will be reliant on this is blinkered.
He has never been one to rely on the past and chance, so you cannot think for one minute that Klopp will go into this tie thinking that he’s beaten Bayern before and so he will simply roll them over again. Football is never that simple.
But even if Klopp’s Munich knowledge has aged, his mentality will have not.
He has a winning mentality anyway, but he will go into the tie with an added degree of confidence that he can get the job done against his former foes.
Combine that with the current form his Liverpool team is in, and Bayern will really not fancy coming up against Liverpool when the time comes.