Liverpool's Xherdan Shaqiri relishing reunion with old club Bayern Munich

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Xherdan Shaqiri

Liverpool forward Xherdan Shaqiri is relishing a Champions League reunion with former club Bayern Munich.

Shaqiri spent two-and-and-a-half years at Bayern before joining Stoke in a £12million deal in July 2015.

The 27-year-old Switzerland international moved on to Liverpool last summer and said he always hoped he would face Bayern in the Champions League.

“I was very happy because I wanted to play against Bayern Munich, against my old teammates and my old team,” Shaqiri told Liverpoolfc.com ahead of Tuesday’s last-16 first-leg tie at Anfield.

“It was an amazing time (at Bayern). We won a lot of titles, we won the Champions League. We had the best team Bayern Munich had.

“It was an amazing feeling to win so many trophies. I had many great memories there, I will never forget them. I’m really looking forward to going there and trying to win the game in Munich with my team.”

Liverpool were Champions League finalists last season, losing 3-1 to Real Madrid in Kiev. Jurgen Klopp’s side set up the Bayern tie by coming through a tough pre-Christmas qualifying group that also included Paris Saint-Germain, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade.

“They are going to be two very difficult games against Bayern because they are a top side,” Shaqiri said.

“The two games will be interesting because both teams attack and play offensively. We need two very good performances to go through. We can go very far, I hope.”

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Brazil legend Cafu warns Trent Alexander-Arnold not to take success for granted

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One of the best: Cafu.

Former Brazil full-back Cafu has warned Liverpool and England defender Trent Alexander-Arnold against taking success at a young age for granted.

At only 20-years-old, Alexander-Arnold has already featured in a Champions League final while he is an automatic selection when fit for Liverpool as they go in search of Premier League glory this season.

Tottenham’s Kieran Trippier is ahead of Alexander-Arnold in the England pecking order but Cafu – widely regarded as one of the finest right-backs of all-time – believes there is still plenty more to come from the Reds youngster.

However, he added the caveat that Alexander-Arnold must not rest on his laurels if he is to realise his full potential.

Speaking in his role as an academy member for Laureus, the 48-year-old said: “To play for the England national team, you have to be very good and to play at Liverpool, you have to be very, very good.

Reserve back Trent Alexander-Arnold

“But it takes time to mature and be consistent. Yes, he is very talented. For his position, I would advise him to work hard, do a lot of training, but above all show a lot of commitment to what he does.

“Never think that he is good enough. Don’t get complacent or big-headed. Work more and more.

“When I was the same age, I was playing for Sao Paulo in the main team. I was a father, so I had a lot of responsibility.

“Twenty is a good age to make a decision if he wants to be a football player or a ‘professional’ football player with a long, respected career.”

The Laureus World Sports Awards celebrate the most remarkable men and women from the world of sport along with their achievements from the previous calendar year. The Awards also showcase the work of Laureus Sport for Good, a charity which uses the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage.

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Sami Hyypia says Liverpool can cope without "ultimate centre-back" Virgil Van Dijk

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Virgil van Dijk

Former captain Sami Hyypia is confident Liverpool can cope without their “ultimate centre-back” Virgil Van Dijk on their return to Champions League action.

The Netherlands international is suspended for the first leg of their last-16, first-leg tie against Bayern Munich at Anfield on Tuesday.

The defensive situation is further complicated by injuries to Joe Gomez (fractured leg) and Dejan Lovren (hamstring) which means manager Jurgen Klopp faces the prospect of deploying midfielder Fabinho alongside Joel Matip against the Bundesliga champions.

Van Dijk has been such an influence following his £75million arrival in January last year that there are concerns regarding his absence, with Hyypia claiming he is irreplaceable.

Speaking to Press Association Sport, Hyypia, who will play his first game for LFC Legends against AC Milan Glorie on March 23 at Anfield, said: “I saw it right away when he came that he would be a very important part of the team.

“Straightaway he was organising the defence, he was the leader at the back, and as time has gone on he is even more important.

“He gives confidence to the players and makes many other players play better.

“It is very difficult to find a weakness. He is an ultimate centre-back and it would be a pleasure to play alongside him he is so good.

“He is so calm on the ball, he never seems in a hurry and he trusts his skills on the ball.

“It was the right decision (to sign him) because he is so important for the team, it doesn’t matter how much he cost.”

With the Holland captain missing, Hyypia said there was an expectation on other players to fill the void.

“These kinds of things give other players an opportunity to shine and take responsibility, and I hope the ones who play step up and do their job properly,” added the Finn, who made 464 Liverpool appearances and is considered one of their all-time top centre-backs.

“Of course, Alisson has been a great addition to us. He has helped Virgil to make the records we have at the moment, not conceding many goals.

“I don’t know how much he organises or talks from the back but he is a great keeper and has been so good for us.”

The draw against Bayern, unopposed winners of the Bundesliga for the last six years, gives Klopp – the last man to deny the Bavarians the title while in charge of Borussia Dortmund in 2012 – a chance to renew rivalries.

Bayern currently trail Dortmund in the league, after an indifferent season by their standards but Hyypia has warned it would be wrong to discount them.

“When the draw was made I saw everyone was saying that Bayern were not the Bayern of old but they are a very dangerous team,” said the defender, who left Anfield in 2009 to play for, and then manage Bayer Leverkusen.

Sami Hyppia is one of Liverpool's finest ever centre-backs.

Sami Hyppia is one of Liverpool’s finest ever centre-backs.

“Liverpool can’t underestimate them. They need to respect them, analyse their weaknesses and then strike.

“I think one of their weaknesses is defending against the counter-attack, and Liverpool are not bad in that area. I think that can cause problems for them.”

Hyypia is taking a break from management after leaving Leverkusen for Brighton, only to resign midway through his first Championship season in 2014. However, he has ambitions to return.

“I will coach and manage again one day but not yet. I get some enquiries quite regularly but nothing has yet been that interesting I would jump into it,” he added.

“I wouldn’t change any decision to go so quickly into coaching. A lot of people said I made a mistake going into it so early but I learned a lot.

“You learn a lot more from the bad moments than the good moments.

“Those years when things were not going my way, I learned so much and I am much better and more ready now.”

*Liverpool Legends v AC Milan Glorie will be held at Anfield on March 23, with proceeds going to the Liverpool Foundation. For details and to purchase tickets visit: https://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/tickets/328746-tickets-liverpool-legends-ac-milan

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