James,Georginio Wijnaldum

4 Key Battles That Could Decide Liverpool's Champions League Clash With Bayern Munich on Tuesday

Liverpool host Bayern Munich in a heavyweight encounter between two of Europe's most successful clubs in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday.

The clash will see two of the strongest outfits on the continent this season go head to head on Merseyside, with both teams boasting top quality in all areas of the pitch.

Jurgen Klopp has a number of injury and selection concerns to deal with in defence, but will be confident of achieving a positive first leg result on home soil, whilst Niko Kovac has a plethora of stars at his disposal for the visitors.

Here is a selection of four key battles which could decide the colossal encounter between two traditional European giants on Tuesday.

1. Joel Matip vs. Robert Lewandowski

With Virgil van Dijk suspended for Tuesday's game and Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez both set to miss out through their respective injury troubles, Joel Matip will have a crucial role to play on Tuesday as Liverpool's only recognised central defender.

With the Cameroon international set to line up in a make-shift defence alongside either Fabinho or an alternate defensive midfielder, Matip must assume primary responsibility for shackling Bayern's frontman Robert Lewandowski.

The Polish striker remains one of the premium forwards on the continent and has scored eight goals in just six Champions League appearances this term.

2. Mohamed Salah vs. David Alaba

Undoubtedly Liverpool's primary attacking threat to the visitors, Mohamed Salah proved last season that he was the man for the big occasion with a number of crucial goals as Liverpool reached the Champions League final.

The Egyptian is currently the joint-leader of the Premier League scoring charts with 17 goals, and has scored three in six Champions League appearances in the current campaign.

David Alaba is one of the finest attacking full backs in Europe but his marauding runs often leave ample space in behind Bayern's defence which Salah could thrive off exploiting from Liverpool's right flank. Alaba must maintain defensive discipline to combat Salah's attacking threat.

3. Georginio Wijnaldum vs. Thiago Alcantara

Bayern are generally accustomed to enjoying the lion's share of possession with a plethora of technically gifted stars in midfield, and Liverpool must aim to stop Bayern from taking control.

Thiago Alcantara is key to dictating the tempo for the Bavarians and pulling the strings in the central areas of the pitch. Jurgen Klopp's side must apply their usual high intensity and pressing in order to have their say on proceedings.

Georginio Wijnaldum's energy and dynamic work rate are typically key to putting Klopp's pressing methods into practice, and the Dutchman will be required to cover the ground efficiently and decisively to prevent Bayern's chief playmaker from running the show at Anfield.

4. Trent Alexander-Arnold vs. Kingsley Coman

With Liverpool's defensive makeup having undergone a number of changes amid a series of injury troubles to Jurgen Klopp's side recently, Trent Alexander-Arnold is set to provide a welcome boost to the Reds' rear-guard by retaking his place at right back on Tuesday.

However, having only just returned from his recent layoff as a substitute last time out against Bournemouth, Alexander-Arnold will be plunged back in at the deep end against Bayern's attack, not least against Kingsley Coman on the visitors' left flank.

The Frenchman had been an injury doubt ahead of the clash after taking a knock during Bayern's win against Augsburg at the weekend, but has since been declared fit, and will pose a real threat to the right hand side of Liverpool's backline with his direct attacking approach.