With just a week to go until Bayern Munich visit Anfield, has Niko Kovac given away the starting XI he’ll pick against Liverpool? The Croatian has picked two virtually unchanged sides for the Bavarians’ last two games against Hertha Berlin in the DFB-Pokal and Schalke in the Bundesliga, handing Jurgen Klopp an early insight in Bayern’s thinking ahead of their round-of-16 clash. And while Manuel Neuer will certainly return in goal in place of Sven Ulreich if fit, the rest of Kovac’s side will feel aggrieved if they didn’t keep their places against the Reds. Thomas Muller has sat out both games despite not being injured, with the German’s absence against Liverpool through suspension already confirmed. James Rodriguez was linked to the Reds last month with Bayern rumoured to be considering not signing the Colombian permanently at the end of the season. However, he has taken Muller’s place in midfield for recent outings, lining up alongside Thiago Alcantara and Leon Goretzka. Another note of interest from Bayern’s last two outings is their choice of wingers either side of dangerman Robert Lewandowski. Fans have become accustomed to seeing Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben dominate opposing defences over the past decade but age is catching up on both players, prompting a changing of the guard at the Allianz Arena. With Ribery only recently returning from a muscle injury, utilised as a substitute in Bayern’s last two games, and Robben still sidelined, Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman are the men in possession heading into next week’s clash. Click HERE to follow all the latest Liverpool news In defence, Josh Kimmich and David Alaba are virtual ever-presents at full-back, leaving centre-back as the only position Kovac really has a decision to make about prior to facing Liverpool. Despite remaining on the bench against Schalke, Niklas Sule is expected to return against Liverpool, leaving Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng fighting for the final place in Bayern’s starting XI. Video Loading Video Unavailable Click to play Tap to play The video will start in 8Cancel Play now And while Liverpool have a weekend off ahead of their mouth-watering Champions League encounter, Bayern face a trip to Augsburg on Friday night, handing Klopp one last opportunity to scout the Bavarians and their players one last opportunity to impress Kovac before travelling to Anfield. Predicted Bayern Munich starting XI against Liverpool (4-3-3): Neuer; Kimmich, Sule, Boateng, Alaba; Thiago, Goretzka, Rodriguez; Gnaby, Coman, Lewandowski.
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