Liverpool have received a boost ahead of their Champions League last 16 tie with Bayern Munich after it was confirmed that Thomas Muller will miss both legs due to suspension.
The German international received a red card in the game against Ajax in the last round following a high tackle on Nicolas Tagliafico.
How important is Muller to Bayern’s Champions League campaign? Five things you should know…
- Muller has been an established star with Bayern since breaking through under Louis van Gaal in 2009.
- During his career, Muller has scored 42 goals in 107 Champions League appearances.
- This season, Muller is yet to score in the competition in six appearances.
- Muller will miss both legs of Bayern’s last 16 match-up with Liverpool due to suspension.
- Some Bayern fans believe that losing Muller could actually be a good thing.
Bayern progressed to the last 16 after going undefeated in Group E that consisted of Ajax, Benfica and AEK Athens. They will face much sterner opposition in the next round when they face Premier League leaders Liverpool, who only managed to confirm their passage to the knockout stages thanks to a dramatic victory over Napoli in their final group match.
Muller will miss both games after being sent off for a horrendously high tackle on Nicolas Tagliafico in their final match against Ajax.
Muller responded to the dismissal by issuing an apology on Twitter immediately after the game.
“I would like to apologise to Nico Tagliafico for yesterday’s incident,” Muller wrote.
“There was no intention [in the foul]. Get well.”
His manager Nico Kovac had no sympathy for the player and backed the referee’s decision to give Muller a red card.
“The red card for Thomas was fair as well,” he told reporters.
“He didn’t see the player but you have to be aware of your opponent coming at the ball at your back.”
Bayern are not alone in missing a senior player as Liverpool will also be without star defender Virgil van Dijk for the first leg, with the Dutchman suspended as well.
There is a feeling that Liverpool’s loss is greater, such has been the impact of the Dutchman so far in the Reds’ European and league form.
His ability on the ball has been so assured, which has bred confidence throughout the back-line. He has the highest pass completion rate of any Liverpool defender at 89.8% and has won an average of four aerial duels per game, bested only by Dejan Lovren in the Liverpool squad.
Fans can’t decide which team benefits most
Despite Müller’s record in the competition, 2018/19 has not been his most productive spell. So out of form has he been, in fact, Bayern fans are confident his absence will be a positive, rather than a negative.
Here is a selection of tweets that would suggest there are plenty who feel Bayern will actually benefit from Muller’s suspension.
— Jack (@jackdarton_) January 11, 2019
Advantage Bayern Munich
— • (@NDK8A) January 11, 2019
Honestly think this is good news for Bayern
— Hadi (@HadiJichi) January 11, 2019
That’s bad news for Liverpool tbh
— Steven (@StevenUtd_) January 11, 2019
That’s actually better news for Bayern, he’s trash
— Matt Jeffries (@matty__jeff) January 11, 2019
Good. There are better options
— President Buhari. (@AbdulDeezed) January 11, 2019
Muller misses both legs against Liverpool plus VVD will miss the first leg. Double advantage for Bayern.
— Roy (@RoyAbhijitAR) January 11, 2019
He only turns up every 4 years anyway
— Richard Gransden (@RGransden85) January 11, 2019