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Combined XI: Bayern Munich vs. Liverpool

Ahead of the Champions League clash between Bayern Munich and Liverpool, Sports Mole selects its strongest combined XI using players from both sides.

Plenty of drama can be expected on Wednesday evening when Bayern Munich play host to Liverpool at the Allianz Arena for a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Nothing could separate the two five-time champions at Anfield three weeks ago, meaning that it is finely poised for this second leg.

Bayern are the side in better overall form, having put together a winning run to overtake Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga, in comparison to Liverpool - without back-to-back league wins in two months - who have slipped from first to second in the Premier League since the sides last met.

Ahead of Wednesday's clash in Bavaria, Sports Mole selects the strongest combined XI from both teams using only the players expected to be available for selection.


Combined XI: BAY vs. LIV

Out: Joe Gomez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Corentin Tolisso, Kingsley Coman, Thomas Muller, Joshua Kimmich

Choosing between Manuel Neuer and Alisson Becker is a difficult choice, but the latter has been more consistent over the course of the season, playing a part in an incredible 17 Premier League clean sheets being kept in his debut campaign on Merseyside.

The absence of Kimmich makes the decision over who starts at right-back a lot easier, with Trent Alexander-Arnold getting the nod following his recent return to action. Like Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson has emerged as one of the finest full-backs anywhere on the continent since the start of last season, seeing him selected ahead of fitness doubt David Alaba in this side.

Virgil van Dijk's name is just about the first on the teamsheet, justifying his world-record £75m price tag during his 13 months at Anfield with a string of fine displays. Van Dijk has managed to get the best out of Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and the injured Gomez, but Bayern have a few talented centre-backs of their own - Niklas Sule arguably being the pick of the bunch, having been a mainstay at the back this term.

Ahead of last month's first leg we went with a 4-3-3 formation, but on this occasion, to shoehorn in even more attacking quality, we will go with two holding midfielders. Thiago Alcantara controls midfield as good as anyone on the planet and has been used regularly there this season. Georginio Wijnaldum is more accustomed to playing alongside two others, meanwhile, but he has the shuttling abilities to bridge defence and attack, seeing him selected ahead of the likes of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Javi Martinez.

Further forward, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane - despite firing blanks in the reverse fixture - have a combined 37 goals between them from wide starting positions this term and simply have to be included. Roberto Firmino may feel a little hard done by to miss out, but Robert Lewandowski remains one of the most prolific goalscorers around and therefore leads the line. James Rodriguez is picked in the number 10 position thanks to his return to form over the past couple of months, which coincides with Bayern's own inconsistencies being put to rest.


Click here for more stories about Manuel Neuer

Click here for more stories about Liverpool

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Who will progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League?

Bayern Munich
Liverpool
Bayern Munich
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Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring for Bayern Munich on January 27, 2019
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Combined XI: Liverpool vs. Bayern Munich
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool31237170185276
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
4Arsenal30186663392460
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
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18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
19Fulham3145222970-4117
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914

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