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Champions League

Van Dijk confident Liverpool can withstand Bayern onslaught

Liverpool take on Bayern in Munich after a goalless Champions League last-16, first leg at home

Centre-back Virgil Van Dijk expects Bayern Munich to come at them in the Allianz Arena but believes the defensive resolve shown this season puts Liverpool in a good position.

However, he accepts they will have to improve their away record as they have lost the last five Champions League matches not played at Anfield.

Manager Jurgen Klopp returns to Germany after a goalless last-16, first leg at home, where Bayern left happiest with the draw.
But Liverpool’s defensive record, particularly domestically where they have conceded just 17 goals in 30 Premier League matches, means it will not be easy for the German champions.

“They played very well here, kept it tight especially at the back and they obviously showed us a lot of respect,” said Van Dijk.
“They changed a bit the way they played I think, so we need to be up for a big fight because they are probably going to come all in, especially in the beginning.

“It is going to be tough and we need to do better than we did in the last away games in the Champions League.
“The group stage games were not as good as we wanted but we got through to the knockout phase.
“To keep a clean sheet in the first leg is always good for both teams but we know if we score they need to score two. That is how it is. We want to win the game and go through.”

Van Dijk has been a key part of Liverpool’s huge defensive improvement, justifying the £75 million outlay on him just over a year ago.
His commanding presence and organisational skills give the side something they were lacking before and, after being suspended for the first leg, his experience will be vital at the Allianz.

“There will times when it is going to be very tough, we are going to be under pressure because they have a lot of quality and they showed that.
“But we will definitely have our own moments because of the quality we have as well.”

Klopp meanwhile has insisted that only an ‘exceptional’ performance from his side will be enough to reach the quarter finals.
“We are strong enough to give them a proper game and that’s the only thing you can expect in a situation like that, in a good situation,” he said.

“That’s what I’m thinking about: how can we cause them problems they have never had in the season so far against other opponents?
“They have, of course, really strong opponents but if we are at our best we can be exceptional. But we have to be, actually – if we play a normal game there we have no chance and then we should go out.

“But if we can push ourselves in a special mood and play a proper football game, then we have a proper chance and that’s all I need.”

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