A Liverpool legend has explained what Manchester United must hope for versus Bayern Munich in the Champions League…
"This is an out-of-form team playing a team that's in-form," said three-time European Cup winner and Liverpool hero Graeme Souness on his Sky Sports column when previewing this evening's Champions League tie between Manchester United and Bayern Munich, to be held at Old Trafford.
United have continually struggled in the Premier League, have made 38 concessions while losing ten matches already which has virtually doomed them to a finish outside of the lucrative top four places and potentially out of European competition entirely.
Bayern, meanwhile, have broken their own record for earliest Bundesliga title claim, winning the title in March with a stringent defence, a seemingly unstoppable attack and an undeniably excellent record of 25 victories against just three draws and no losses.
The form contrast is startling, yet Souness added: "Football is not always that simple. It might not be as easy for Bayern as some people might have you believe."
The Scotsman continued: "[United] are capable of doing the business in a one-off game. The thing is, they are going to have to produce two big games if they are going to get through this tie. I can see them having a good night at Old Trafford but can I see them having two good nights? No I can't."
The reason for that, Souness explains, is the trouble they had in overseeing a side they should have had no trouble dispatching - Olympiacos - whom they were beaten by in Greece by a 2-0 score, prior to nicking the aggregate lead back in England, in the second leg.
"I wasn't particularly convinced by the display against Olympiacos. They may have won the second leg 3-0 but David De Gea had to make a double save just before half-time to keep them in the tie. That game was against a team that are a five-out-of-10 when it comes to Champions League standards and on Tuesday night they play a team that's nine-out-of-10 (and sometimes 10-out-of-10), so it's a very different test.
"I can only see Bayern Munich going through because they're a team that's on fire at this time. They are coming to Old Trafford with no fear and they will fancy themselves to progress."
Recently, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger opined that Bayern are not really that much improved on the outfit that secured a treble last year. In fact, they may have not improved at all. Souness, though, disagrees with the Frenchman and cites a far more efficient force in terms of attack thanks to the coaching and tutelage of Pep Guardiola.
"They have a great chance because I think they have improved this year," said Souness. "They are more attacking under Pep Guardiola, having swapped two sitting midfield players for just one. They press the ball higher up the pitch and that means if they pinch the ball off you they are only yards from having a shot at goal or slipping a pass in to a dangerous position.
"What Man United have got to hope for is that they find form that they've not had all season in these two games - and they have to hope that Bayern Munich, in reverse, find form that they've not had all season in these two games. That's all that Man United can hope for."
Predicting an outcome, he said: "Man United can get a result at Old Trafford. I don't think they can win but I can see them getting a scoring draw out of it. But can they then go to the Allianz Arena and beat them? No, I don't think so."