Why I Won’t Be Devastated If We Lose To Bayern Munich

I don’t know about you, but I was apoplectic when the first Burnley goal was allowed to stand on Sunday. I have long felt that Andre Marriner is a contrary so-and-so and my opinion hasn’t budged since he refused to disallow the goal despite the clear evidence to anyone with working eyes and Alisson Becker was being held down as the cross came in. That he then booked the goalkeeper for protesting put the icing on the cake. I often think that goalkeepers get too much protection, which makes it all the more ridiculous that we didn’t get a free-kick for someone climbing all over him. Combine that decision with the one to allow City’s goal to stand despite every single person who has ever known anything about football being aware that it was offside and it’s easy to see why some people are convinced that there are higher powers at work in stopping us from winning the league this season.

The important thing is that the Reds prevailed, in spite of horrendous refereeing from Marriner and his team. Burnley aren’t an easy team to play against, even taking into account the poor start to the season that they endured. They will always make life difficult for you and defend in numbers, so the fact that we put four past them is to be commended. It should give the players confidence that there is no obstacle remaining this season that they won’t be able to overcome in the remaining eight games. Indeed, the only real monkey that needs to be shed from of their backs is the away form that they’ve shown over the past couple of months, only winning once on the road since the start of January. There are mitigating circumstances, of course, not least of which is the fact that we played away to Manchester United and Everton in that time. We haven’t looked great on the road in the Champions League, however, so the match against Bayern Munich presents an opportunity to put that poor away form to bed. The only question is, do we want to?

We Have A Brilliant Chance Of Winning The League

I understand why numerous Liverpool supporters have essentially decided to throw-in the towel over the race for the Premier League title. Manchester City have a squad that is the envy of most of the football world and they’re racking up win after win despite not playing well. Yet I’m also convinced that they will drop more points before all is said and done and it will come down to whether or not we can drop fewer points than them. With that in mind, we need to do everything we can to give ourselves the best possible chance of winning our remaining games and I’m not convinced that progressing against Bayern Munich in the Champions League allows us to do that.

Personally I am all for City succeeding as much as possible in every competition they’re in because the further they go the more games they’ll have to play. If they progress to the semi-finals of Europe’s elite competition and to the same stage of the FA Cup then their April will look something like this:

  • Cardiff (h) 6th
  • OR FA Cup Semi-Final 6th
  • Champions League Quarter-Final 9th or 10th
  • Crystal Palace (a) 14th
  • Champions League Quarter-Final 16th or 17th
  • Tottenham Hotspur (h) 20th
  • Manchester United (a) 24th
  • Burnley (a) 28th
  • Champions League Semi-Final 30th or 1st of May

That is a brutal month even if you have got one of the most expensively assembled squads of all time. Removing the Cardiff game because of the FA Cup semi-final that they’ll almost certainly have to play, it’s still seven, possibly eight games that City will have to cope with during the month of April, a time when players are already tiring. I think they’ve looked tired recently, struggling to break down Depp lying defences and depending on the generosity of the match officials on more than one occasion to help them through. Do we really think they’ll be able to keep on scraping wins together against teams that will have something to fight for?

I Don’t Like The Look Of Most Possible Opponents

Liverpool currently have four Premier League games lined up for April, namely against Southampton, Chelsea, Cardiff City and Huddersfield, two away and two at home. Add in two more Champions League fixtures and we only have one game fewer than Pep Guardiola’s side. Given that I genuinely believe that fatigue could be an important factor, I don’t want the Reds to be running themselves into the ground in the Champions League and then trying to take on the likes of Saints or Chelsea in the domestic competition. Here are the possible opponents we will be in the draw with if we make it past Bayern:

  • Ajax
  • Manchester United
  • Porto
  • Tottenham Hotspur
  • Juventus / Atlético Madrid
  • Manchester City / Schalke
  • Barcelona / Lyon

Given that there is no same-country protection in play from the quarter-final stage onwards, I absolutely could not be bothered to have to face any of United, City or Spurs. I have said for some time that the legs would fall off Spurs as the season wore on and I think we’re seeing that now, but you can bet they would run us absolutely ragged over the two legs regardless. I want City to get them, United or Atlético, which means that they’ll get Porto and we’ll get one of them.

There is a difference between actively wanting us to drop out of the competition and not being overly disappointed if we get knocked out. On the one hand, I’d like the positivity that could be garnered from a decent away performance and the confidence progress in the competition would allow us to take, but on the other hand I just can’t be bothered watching us get run ragged by one of those possible teams. I also desperately don’t want extra-time.

It feels, to me, like something of a win-win situation. If we progress then that’s great and will do us the world of good in terms of our confidence and our away form. If we lose then we can focus all of our training time and energy on winning every single remaining game and bringing the title back to Anfield. There are never guarantees in football, but dropping out of the Champions League would give us the best chance possible of doing the latter.

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