Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp acknowledged Champions League prize money is crucial to taking the club to the next level ahead of Wednesday's clash with Bayern Munich.

The Reds travel to Munich having drawn 0-0 at Anfield in the last-16 first leg last month, just about making Bayern favourites with some pundits.

However, any score draw will see Liverpool progress and, having gone all the way to last season's final before losing to Real Madrid, they are well aware of how financially rewarding a run in the competition can be.

That added financial firepower helped them further boost the squad with the likes of Alisson and Fabinho for this campaign, and while Klopp says elimination on Wednesday would not be "the end of the world", he is conscious of what they will be giving up should Liverpool bow out.

"It is not that the players prefer the Champions League to winning the league," he told reporters. "But they like this kind of game.

"There are only two interesting games in the whole of Europe that night. Let's play them, let's watch them. This is the spotlight you want as a professional football player, so let's play the game.

"We all have to qualify constantly for the Champions League. That's what gives us the money to improve to do the next step and the next step.

"When we qualified by beating Napoli [in the group stage], I'm not sure how much, but it was [worth] a lot of money in one game.

"I didn't think a second about that before that game. It wasn't like: 'Oh my God! We have to earn this money for the club!'

"We only wanted to go through, but after we got through it was like: 'Wow! That's proper!'

"It is a money-throwing competition, if I can say that, and we have to be in it as long as possible because we have to improve the situation for the club.

"It's not like we always ask people: 'Do you have some money? Do you have some money?' We have to earn most of the money for ourselves with the football that we play.

"That is exactly what you can do in the Champions League. If it happens, it will be a great night. If it doesn't happen, it is not the end of the world."

Pep Guardiola does not want to see English domination of the Champions League quarter-final places continue with Liverpool beating Bayern Munich.

City dispatched Bundesliga opposition in resounding fashion on Tuesday, Sergio Aguero's brace setting in motion a 7-0 demolition of Schalke – the 10-2 overall scoreline standing as the second biggest aggregate margin in the competition's history.

The Premier League champions join Tottenham and Manchester United as three of the six confirmed quarter-finalists, with Liverpool locked at 0-0 with Bayern heading into their Wednesday encounter at the Allianz Arena.

But the nip-and-tuck title race being fought domestically with Jurgen Klopp's men has not engendered a level of solidary that will allow Guardiola to cast aside his three Bundesliga-winning seasons in charge of Bayern.

"I am sorry for the English people, I want Bayern to go through," City manager Guardiola told a post-match news conference.

"I am part of this club, I had an incredible three years. I love Munich and have a lot of friends there.

"It is a demanding game for both but I feel I like Bayern Munich and hopefully they can go through.

"In terms of what happened with Spanish teams and German teams, arriving many times in the finals, this season it is a surprise.

"Hopefully Barcelona tomorrow can go through [against Lyon] and reach the quarter-finals. For English football it is nice that there are three teams in the quarter finals and Liverpool maybe."

Runners-up last term, Schalke are languishing four points above the Bundesliga relegation zone this time around and Domenico Tedesco saw his side's lack of form and confidence brutally exposed.

Nevertheless, it was a statement win for City in a tournament where they have often flattered to deceive.

"As a club we are a teenager [in the Champions League] because the best success in our history is one semi-final," Guardiola said, returning to a pre-match analogy.

"When you compare to Liverpool, Barcelona and Bayern Munich… our best success is one semi-final.

"But the teenagers have passion, they have desire, they are not scared and have good things."

But Guardiola, as he reflected upon Juventus' astonishing Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired comeback to unseat Atletico Madrid in Turin, knows tougher challenges away for a team still in contention for an unprecedented quadruple.

"Thank you so much for your confidence in me. I won two [Champions Leagues] but I lost seven. I'm not Real Madrid," he added.

"Madrid are out but, still, look at Juventus. This guy, Cristiano Ronaldo… he goes there to win the Champions League

"Two times they have lost [in the final recently], they get Cristiano to go there.

"They have all the pressure on his shoulders and he scores three goals against Atletico Madrid. That is the type of teams we have to face."

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson will once again live out a dream when he lines up against Manuel Neuer at the Allianz Arena - but insists he cannot yet compare himself to the Bayern Munich icon. 

Neuer has arguably been world football's outstanding goalkeeper for much of the past decade, winning six consecutive Bundesliga titles with Bayern, along with the 2012-13 Champions League and, a year later as Germany's last line of defence, the 2014 World Cup. 

Die Mannschaft's bid to retain that crown ended with an ignominious group-stage exit at Russia 2018, with Neuer short of his best form after returning from an injury nightmare. 

The mantle of world's best is once again up for grabs, with Brazil's Alisson among those spoken of most loftily among the generation approaching their prime. 

Nevertheless, speaking at a pre-match news conference ahead of a Champions League last-16 fixture locked at 0-0 after 90 minutes, Alisson does not believe he belongs in that company just yet. 

"I can't compare myself with Neuer, he's one of the best in the last 10 years, maybe he is the best one," Alisson said.

"He won everything and I am just starting. He is a reference for me. He's a great guy and playing against him is a dream come true.

"I can't compare myself to him. I know I work hard. I'm part of a big club with big plans and big goals. I need to take this responsibility, take care of it and give my 100 per cent on the pitch.

"To be the best in the world would be a consequence of this."

Alisson will feel more secure having Virgil van Dijk back in front of him at centre-back as he looks to keep out Robert Lewandowski and the rest of an all-star Bayern forward line once again.

Fabinho dropped back from his usual position in midfield to deputise when the towering Dutchman was suspended for the first-leg stalemate at Anfield, but having a specialist in the heart of the defence is definitely preferable as far as Liverpool's first-choice keeper is concerned. 

"It's great to play with him and all my team-mates. Our team has so many players with a lot of quality, but Van Dijk is a very, very important player for our team," Alisson said. 

"The way we play, he is a constant in defending from high balls, set pieces and corners. He is important for us. 

"It's very important to come with him for the second game. Fabinho played well at centre-back but it's not the same thing. 

"He's a great midfielder but only a good centre-back. If you can have the best in the position for us it's always better."

Jurgen Klopp suggested "Manchester United pundits" are behind questions about whether Liverpool's Premier League title chances would be boosted by exiting the Champions League.

Liverpool, a point behind defending champions Manchester City in the Premier League table, take on Bayern Munich in the second leg of their last-16 clash on Wednesday, having drawn 0-0 at Anfield.

Former United defender Gary Neville has suggested Liverpool would have a "clear run" at unseating City if they were to go out of the Champions League at the hands of the German giants.

City are still in the FA Cup, having reached the quarter-final stage, and Pep Guardiola's men have already won the EFL Cup, whereas Liverpool were knocked out of the former competition by Wolves.

Klopp, however, believes other managers would not have to respond to whether it would suit their league campaigns if they were no longer in Europe.

"I really don't think any coach in the world has to answer this question in the Champions League," Klopp told reporters. "It's really unique, it only happens to Liverpool.

"The pundits come from Manchester United and start this thing. If you play this competition, you asked after we went out in the FA Cup, in the EFL Cup, if it's better. We don't see it like this, we wanted to go through but didn't. Even if it would harm us, we could not change it.

"The whole world watches this game. I wish the guys who write down this question, they try to prove some day it's possible to use their ideas in real life and not only in the studio. I'm not mad, we just constantly get confronted with this.

"It could build momentum if we play good football and stay in the competition. If we go through it could change the world for us but we will see on Thursday morning. Very important game and more will come, Sunday at Fulham and then Tottenham. But [Wednesday] we play Bayern."

Klopp also shrugged off a question about Liverpool's apparent lack of threat with shots from distance, suggesting being without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain due to injury has contributed.

"How many goals did we score, 68 or so," Klopp added. "In Germany we say if you don't have problems you create your own, it sounds like that. If you moan with what you don't have you can't be happy.

"[Philippe] Coutinho is not here and he was maybe responsible for 60 per cent of shots outside the box, Ox didn't play a lot and I remember two outside the box last year [he scored], both against City, that's how it is. It's no problem.

"We want to score from everywhere but we don't miss it. We have to score, defend as well, but from where we score - I don't care."

Naby Keita will miss Liverpool's Champions League trip to Bayern Munich.

Midfielder Keita is a surprise absentee from a 21-man travelling squad named by Jurgen Klopp for Wednesday's second leg.

The Guinea international has featured in four Champions League matches this term but is out due to an unspecified minor injury.

Vice-captain James Milner is in the squad after missing Sunday's Premier League win at home to Burnley with a muscle problem.

Trent Alexander-Arnold has been passed fit to travel after the right-back was substituted towards the end of the 4-2 Burnley victory.

And Dejan Lovren could make his first appearance in over two months after the defender was also included in the Liverpool squad to face Bayern.

"It looks good," Klopp told Liverpool's club website of Alexander-Arnold. "He had a bit of a problem obviously but it should not be a major concern.

"We cannot judge the situation now, we have to wait this full day, tomorrow possibly the full day – we have two days and then we have a little, little session on Wednesday morning.

"If we know then, it's good and then we'll choose the team and play."

Bayern host Liverpool with the sides having played out a 0-0 draw in the opening leg of the last-16 tie last month.

Niko Kovac confirmed at his pre-match news conference David Alaba and Kingsley Coman are fit, although Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Muller are suspended.

David Alaba and Kinsley Coman are ready to return for Bayern Munich's crunch Champions League clash against Liverpool, Niko Kovac has confirmed.

Both players missed the convincing Bundesliga victories over Borussia Monchengladbach and Wolfsburg but have been back in training this week.

Joshua Kimmich's suspension for the second leg of the last-16 tie, which is poised at 0-0 after the first meeting at Anfield, makes 26-year-old Alaba's availability particularly timely.

Rafinha has deputised on the left side of defence in the Austria international's absence but can now revert to a more natural right-back role.

"He trained as we hoped," head coach Kovac said of Alaba on Tuesday.

"As things stand, I expect David to be physically and mentally ready to play tomorrow."

Coman, who overcame an ankle scare to play 81 minutes of the goalless draw in last month's first leg, has been a key figure under Kovac when fit but is not guaranteed to start at the Allianz Arena.

"Kingsley pushed himself to the limit in training. It's looking good for him," the Bayern boss said.

"We'll have to see if it's enough for him to start but he's definitely an option. He's important for us because he gives us another dimension."

Bayern's form has improved dramatically in recent weeks, with a run of five straight Bundesliga victories lifting them to the top of the table and easing the scrutiny on Kovac's position.

The former Croatia coach could be under pressure again if he fails to guide the club into the Champions League quarter-finals, though he insists such expectations are nothing new.

"I've qualified for the World Cup and led Eintracht Frankfurt in the relegation play-off - that was the worst, but tomorrow is a highlight," the 47-year-old said.

"It's a tough game, and the pressure is always on in knockout games, but that's a positive, not a negative. The world will be watching us, and everyone is excited."

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer revealed he has been playing with a splint on his thumb injury for a month, but insisted it has not affected him during games.

Neuer missed three Bayern games in early February with the problem and there were initial fears that he could require surgery and be missing for up to three months.

The Bayern captain returned against Augsburg on February 15, though, and has played in each of his club's last five games.

Neuer will line up between the sticks on Wednesday when Bayern face Liverpool in the second leg of a Champions League last-16 tie currently in the balance after the original encounter finished 0-0, and he insists the thumb injury is not causing him any issues.

"We've not had to speak about my thumb for a long time now," he told a news conference.

"Fact is, I've had to wear a splint on it during games since February. But it has [had] absolutely no impact on my performance."

Neuer has kept three clean sheets in his past four appearances, including one at Anfield last month when Bayern kept Liverpool's much-vaunted front three quiet.

That proved to be a cagey contest on Merseyside, yet Neuer is expecting a more expansive game in the second leg at the Allianz Arena.

A penalty shoot-out would be on the cards if neither team finds a way through again, though Neuer insisted Bayern have not been preparing for such a scenario.

"I think we are in for a more attacking game than we saw at Anfield," he added

"The tension in penalty shoot-outs is a whole different thing to football matches; you cannot train for things like that, which is why we don't bother."

Bayern Munich will hold talks with Robert Lewandowski over a contract extension.

Lewandowski has been heavily linked with a move away from the Allianz Arena in recent years, with Real Madrid consistently touted as a possible destination for the Poland striker.

The former Borussia Dortmund star's contract expires in 2021 but, with the three-time Bundesliga top-scorer in the midst of another prolific season, Bayern are keen to tie him down for longer. 

Sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic told Sport1: "Lewa is one of the best strikers in the world, if not the best number nine in the world right now. We will hold talks, but there is no rush.

"He's simply an ambitious player who'd like to score goals in every game, a player who wants to put his mark on the game. He's a complete professional.

"I've rarely seen anything like it. I've played with many players, but he's always burning with ambition and always wants to win.

"Hence it’s obvious he’s also dissatisfied and feels bad when he's not winning and scoring goals. That's what distinguishes him."

Lewandowski has scored 17 goals in 24 Bundesliga games this season. He became the league's top foreign scorer on 197, surpassing Claudio Pizarro, with a double in a 6-0 win over Wolfsburg on Saturday.

The 30-year-old admitted in January that, having considered leaving Bayern at the end of last season, he could now play for the club until he retires.

Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk is braced for a "big fight" against Bayern Munich as the Reds look to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool and Bayern played out a goalless draw in the opening leg of their last-16 tie at Anfield last month.

Van Dijk missed Bayern's visit to Merseyside through suspension but the Dutch centre-back will return for Wednesday's trip to Bavaria.

Runners-up to Real Madrid in the Champions League last season, Liverpool lost all three away matches in the group stage this term and Van Dijk knows the Reds must improve at Allianz Arena.

"It is going to be an exciting tie," said Van Dijk. "They played very well here, kept it tight especially at the back and obviously showed us a lot of respect.

"They changed a bit the way they played I think, so we need to be up for a big fight because they are probably going to come all in, especially in the beginning.

"It is going to be tough and we need to do better than we did in the last away games in the Champions League.

"The group stage games were not as good as we wanted but we got through to the knockout phase. Now we have a 0-0 and we want to do everything that is possible to get through. We know it is going to be a very hard and tough game."

"Sometimes you have to know how to manage games because at times it is going to be very hard and we will need to be patient, ready for what is coming," Van Dijk added. "There will be times when it is going to be very tough and we are going to be under pressure because they have a lot of quality and they showed that.

"But we will definitely have our own moments because of the quality we have as well. Everyone can see how tough it is already in the Champions League. The situation is we have a 0-0 to start with and hopefully we can get the job done."

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have offered their thanks to Louis van Gaal after the former Manchester United manager announced his retirement.

Van Gaal, who also managed Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, AZ and the Netherlands in an illustrious career, revealed the news on Dutch TV show VTBL.

The Dutchman handed a teenage Rashford his United debut in February 2016, having signed Martial from Monaco five months earlier.

And both players paid tribute to their former boss on Twitter, with Rashford writing: "Thank you for opening the door & trusting in me. Enjoy retirement boss."

Martial added: "Thanks for everything coach !! It was a honor [sic] to learn from you!"

Van Gaal won silverware at every club he managed, most notably claiming Champions League glory with Ajax during a six-year stint in the 1990s that also yielded three Eredivisie titles and success in the UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup.

He went on to win LaLiga twice with Barca in the first of two spells in charge and earned a hugely impressive Eredivisie crown with AZ in 2009, before securing a domestic treble at Bayern Munich the following year.

A second stint as coach of his country brought a third-place finish at the 2014 World Cup, while his two-year tenure at United ended two days after the club won the 2015-16 FA Cup.

Joshua Kimmich says Joachim Low's handling of the decision to sideline Bayern Munich team-mates Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng from Germany duty "was not okay".

On Tuesday, Germany boss Low confirmed in an interview with Bild that the World Cup winners are not part of his Euro 2020 qualifying plans.

Low explained that his ruthless decision was borne out of a desire to blood Die Mannschaft's future following a dismal 2018 that saw Germany's World Cup defence end in group-stage disgrace, while they were also relegated from the top-tier of the inaugural Nations League.

Bayern later released a statement saying they were "irritated" by the timing of Low's decision, which came before Saturday's 6-0 Bundesliga hammering of Wolfsburg and the upcoming Champions League last-16 second leg against Liverpool – a tie locked at 0-0.

Muller himself admitted he was angered, while Bayern coach Niko Kovac said it "wasn't right" and Kimmich has questioned Low's thought process.

"I first heard about it from the press, one day later the three boys told me," Kimmich told reporters after the Wolfsburg game. "Yes, I was [surprised]. 

"I know the national team only with these three players. Over the past 10 years, they have shaped the team and made us world champions. They are also my team-mates. 

"From a player's point of view, the way was not okay, so I understand that the guys are disappointed.

"Especially when you consider that they are only 29 and 30 years old. Thomas has made 100 games for Germany, for example. Then you have earned another departure. 

"Football is often talked about old and young - I think that none of the boys are too old to play in the national team."

All three ostracised players were involved against Wolfsburg, with Muller scoring Bayern's fourth goal, and Kimmich felt the trio were playing with a point to prove.

"You do not shake things off that easily," he added. 

"I am a national player myself and I know how special it is to play for Germany. 

"I do not think you can get that out of your head after two days, but they showed what they got. They have played a very good game."

Niko Kovac fired a warning to Borussia Dortmund after Bayern Munich moved top of the Bundesliga table with a 6-0 thrashing of Wolfsburg.

Dortmund have led the way since September but BVB's 3-1 win at home to struggling Stuttgart was not enough to keep top spot on Saturday.

Robert Lewandowski struck twice and Serge Gnabry, James Rodriguez, Thomas Muller and Joshua Kimmich also scored in a comprehensive win against Wolfsburg.

Bayern's comprehensive victory meant they moved above Dortmund on goal difference, with the title rivals having the same number of points with nine games to go.

And Kovac, who was under pressure earlier in the campaign but has steered Bayern back on track, felt Bayern could have secured an even more decisive success.

"I'm very happy with the game, I really liked the way it was and never got in trouble," Kovac said after Bayern's 12th win in 13 Bundesliga games.

"We could and should have scored more goals. That was a good sequel to the Gladbach game [last week's 5-1 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach].

"We are now where we wanted to be in the top of the table - we want to stay there. But nothing has happened yet, there are still many games to go."

Former Bayern player Bruno Labaddia was left to watch on helpless from the bench as substitute Franck Ribery created three late goals off the bench to set a Bundesliga record.

That followed Lewandowski surpassing another ex-Bayern figure in Claudio Pizarro to become the most prolific non-German goalscorer in Bundesliga history as Bayern warmed up for their last-16 Champions League clash with Liverpool in style.

Labaddia has now lost his last 15 competitive matches against Bayern as a coach, a record in the Bundesliga, and he could make no excuses for Wolfsburg's display after their fine run of form ended.

"We do not have to talk about it," he said. "We have seen a very, very strong side of Bayern and a weak team of us. The result was fair. 

"Much has not worked out as we usually do. We did not work as a collective. We have to accept that, even if it hurts."

Franck Ribery broke a Bundesliga record with his impact off the bench as Bayern Munich crushed Wolfsburg 6-0 to move top of the Bundesliga.

Bayern were already 3-0 up when Ribery replaced Serge Gnabry in the 55thminute at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.

But the former France international ensured the result was even more comfortable, creating three late goals to move the Bavarian giants above Borussia Dortmund on goal difference.

Ribery set up Thomas Muller for Bayern's fourth and within nine minutes he had also crossed for Joshua Kimmich and Robert Lewandowski to add late goals for the champions.

It is the first time since Opta began collecting detailed Bundesliga data in the 2004-05 season that a substitute has recorded three assists.

Perhaps even more remarkably, Ribery's previous 17 appearances in the top-flight this season had failed to yield a single assist.

But he may have forced his way into Niko Kovac's side for Wednesday's Champions League last-16 second leg at home to Liverpool.

Ribery has some way to go to catch Kimmich, though, with the right-back's 10 assists this term the joint-most in the Bundesliga, along with BVB winger Jadon Sancho.

Lewandowski also broke a Bundesliga during the rout over Wolfsburg.

The Poland international's first goal moved him ahead of former Bayern forward Claudio Pizarro as the leading foreign goalscorer in the history of the league.

Robert Lewandowski became the leading foreign goalscorer in Bundesliga history as Bayern Munich hammered Wolfsburg 6-0 to leapfrog Borussia Dortmund and move top of the table.

Borussia Dortmund beat a struggling Stuttgart side 3-1 but Niko Kovac's team collected their 12th win in 13 league games to ensure they became the new league leaders on goal difference.

Bayern have never lost at home to Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga and first-half goals from Serge Gnabry - who signed a new contract this week - and Lewandowski set up a comfortable victory at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.

After the break James Rodriguez, Thomas Muller and Joshua Kimmich added to the scoreline, with Lewandowski scoring his second, and Bayern got the perfect boost ahead of a Champions League second leg against Liverpool by moving above BVB despite their win.

Lewandowski hit five goals in nine minutes off the bench against Wolfsburg in the 2015-16 season but he wasted an early chance by failing to control a lofted Muller pass.

Yannick Gerhardt headed Maximilian Arnold's corner over the crossbar, then Bayern took the lead in the 34th minute.

Kimmich's stepovers left Arnold dazzled and Muller pulled the ball back for Gnabry to nudge in from close range, the winger then creating a second goal within three minutes.

A throughball from James found Gnabry and he unselfishly squared for Lewandowski to tap in and pass veteran former Bayern forward Claudio Pizarro on the list of foreign goalscorers.

James scored the third himself in the 52nd minute, beating Koen Casteels with a placed 20-yard finish, the goalkeeper later making a fine save to tip over Muller's drive.

But the Bayern forward would not be denied again in the 76th minute, slotting home Franck Ribery's pass to end a week that saw him dropped from the Germany squad on a high.

And although Dortmund got back in front against Stuttgart, Kimmich and Lewandowski added late headers from Ribery centres to boost Bayern's more impressive goal difference further.


What does it mean? Pivotal twist in title race

Bayern could not be doing more to put pressure on Dortmund, who had been top since their sixth game of the season. It might yet go right down to the wire but with Bayern now leading the table, few would bet against the champions winning what would be their seventh title in a row.


Gnabry's fine form continues

Lewandowski's record-breaking exploits take the headlines but a goal and an assist in the space of three first-half minutes saw Gnabry play a huge part in setting up Bayern's latest win.

The winger has now scored seven Bundesliga goals this season - also hitting a double in the DFB-Pokal last month - and it is easy to see why Bayern wanted to secure his long-term future. 

It was telling Gnabry was rested and taken off by Kovac after the third goal - he is now key - although substitute Ribery created three goals after coming off the bench to give the Bayern boss a decision to make against Liverpool.


More Bayern misery for Labbadia

Wolfsburg head coach Bruno Labbadia has now lost his last 15 competitive matches against Bayern, extending his own unwanted Bundesliga record against one of the clubs he represented as a player.


What's next?

Muller and Kimmich are suspended for Bayern's last-16 second leg at home to Liverpool in the Champions League on Wednesday. Kovac's men continue their title charge when Mainz visit the Allianz Arena four days later. Next for Wolfsburg is Fortuna Dusseldorf at home on Saturday.

Robert Lewandowski has become the top foreign goalscorer in Bundesliga history.

The Poland international hit Bayern Munich's second goal against Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Lewandowski has now scored 196 goals in the Bundesliga, passing veteran Peru attacker Claudio Pizarro, who played for Bayern earlier in his career.

He will rarely have scored easier goals either as Serge Gnabry, who had given Bayern the lead, squared the ball for Lewandowski to slot home into an open goal.

The strike was Lewandowski's 16th Bundesliga goal of the season, extending his incredible record against Wolfsburg.

Lewandowski has scored in eight consecutive matches against Wolfsburg, having famously hit five goals in a nine-minute spell after coming off the bench in 2015-16.

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