Liverpool handed a mouthwatering tie with Bayern Munich in Champions League last-16
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Liverpool handed a mouthwatering tie with Bayern Munich in Champions League last-16

Last seasons runner-up will face off with the Bundesliga champions. 

Joshua Kerr

Liverpool have been handed a mouthwatering tie against Bayern Munich in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

The draw in Nyon that included Liverpool's Champions League winning forward Luis Garcia meant that Jürgen Klopp was handed a return to the Allianz Arena to face his old foes.

The Reds German manager endured a fierce rivalry with Bayern during his time with Borussia Dortmund - which included a painful defeat to the Bundesliga champions in the Champions League final in 2013.

The two five-time winners of the competition haven't met competitively since the 2001 European Super Cup final when the Reds triumphed in a 3-2 victory.

Liverpool have been given home advantage for the first-leg with a trip to Germany to follow three weeks later.

The first leg will take place on February 19, with the second leg on March 13.

Bayern topped Group E that consisted of Ajax, Benfica and AEK Athens, two points ahead of Ajax - who they failed to beat over two matches. 

The Bundesliga winners have endured a difficult debut season with Niko Kovac at the helm. They are already nine points adrift of leaders Dortmund and are facing the prospect of surrendering their German league crown for the first time in seven years.

Meanwhile, Liverpool finished Group C as runners-up following a dramatic final group game win over Napoli that saw the Reds scrape through arguably the toughest group phase in the competition qualifying behind Paris Saint-Germain.

The contest also comes as a reunion for Xherdan Shaqiri who represented Bayern between 2012 and 2015.

Following this, all four English teams successfully made the knockout phases of the competition. Tottenham Hotspur drew fellow German side Borussia Dortmund, PSG welcome Manchester United. Meanwhile, Premier League champions Manchester City were handed a favourable draw against yet another German outfit FC Schalke.

The other draws see current holders Real Madrid take on Ajax, Barcelona travel to Lyon, Porto were handed last seasons semi-finalists Roma whilst Juventus face-off with Atletico Madrid in a highly awaited heavyweight contest.

A daunting yet winnable tie?

The Reds were seeded as runners-up of their group, winning all three of their home games, although losing all three of their away group matches for the first time in the clubs history. 

Yet among the sides Liverpool could have faced, were La Liga giants Barcelona, Seria A champions Juventus and three-time consecutive winners Real Madrid. 

Liverpool were the last team drawn out of the pot, and at one stage faced the possibility of facing either Madrid or Bayern. Many Reds supporters will have wanted a date with destiny to avenge the heartache in Kiev sustained at the hands of the 13-time European Cup winning Galacticos. 

However, Liverpool will fancy their chances against the German champions come February and the Reds will feel they have the firepower as well as the defensive steel to really hurt this impressive Bayern outfit. 

Bayern's European pedigree cannot be discounted, having won the competition five times - most recently just five years ago. They have made it to at least the semi-finals five out of the last six seasons and will prove an almighty test for Klopp's current Premier League leaders.

Still, Liverpool will fancy themselves. Although Bayern are unbeaten in Europe this season they have struggled overwhelmingly domestically. They have already conceded 18 goals in 15 games - 10 shy of the entirety of goals leaked throughout the 2017/18 season.

The Reds have been handed home advantage for the first leg and Anfield will prove a huge boost to Liverpool. Klopp's side completely blew away Manchester City and Roma in the opening stages of the opening leg due to the atmosphere of the Anfield crowd.

Liverpool will hope by the time of their return to European action that they are still in the kind of form that has seen them make their best ever start to a top-flight season - registering 45 points from a possible 51 - to sit at the summit of the Premier League.

One thing remains certain. It is sure to be one epic encounter come February, 2019.