Wijnaldum says clean sheet could be key to Liverpool progressing
Liverpool midfielder says Bayern don't have the advantage after 0-0 draw
Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum under pressure from Bayern Munich’s Thiago during the goalless draw at Anfield on Tuesday night. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters
Georginio Wijnaldum has rejected the idea that Bayern Munich hold the advantage in their Champions League tie with Liverpool, insisting a clean sheet at Anfield could prove decisive for Jürgen Klopp’s free-scoring team in the second leg.
Liverpool travel to Munich in three weeks’ time without the commanding first-leg lead that characterised their run to last season’s Champions League final following the goalless draw with the German champions. Mats Hummels, the Bayern defender, said the last-16 tie was balanced but that Niko Kovac’s team were satisfied with the result and their gameplan.
Wijnaldum, however, believes keeping a clean sheet without Virgil van Dijk, Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez in defence was significant, and that a greater show of ambition from Bayern in front of their own fans will benefit Liverpool.
Tuesday was only the fourth time in 35 matches this season that Klopp’s team have failed to score. Three of the shut-outs have come in the Champions League and Liverpool lost all three away matches in the group stage yet Wijnaldum denies the Anfield result suited Bayern.
“Is it a better result for them? Why? I think it is a good result for both,” the Liverpool midfielder said. “If we go there and score a goal they have to score two. One of the advantages is that they will play at home. I think a lot of teams when they come to Anfield and they play a draw they think it is a good result. I don’t think it is a bad result for them but neither is it for us.
“The way we are playing we have the quality to create chances so that is why I am happy we didn’t concede. I am not really worried about scoring goals. We already show we can do it in the games before so we just have to do it again. Hopefully we have a little more luck with the chances.”
Wijnaldum is unconvinced that Kovac will play a more expansive game and expose his team to Liverpool’s quality on the counterattack.
“I don’t think they will play really open because they know we are good on the counterattack but they also know we score goals with good football and create chances. It’s difficult to say how the game is going to go but it is going to be a tough one.”