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UEFA Champions League

Alisson billed as better than Neuer but Kahn expects Bayern to relish Liverpool test

8:14 PM GMT+8 21/12/2018
Alisson Liverpool 2018-19
The legendary former goalkeeper believes the Reds' custodian is currently performing better than the man he will meet in the Champions League last 16

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson can be considered to have topped Bayern Munich star Manuel Neuer in the global pecking order, according to World Cup winner Oliver Kahn.

The Reds invested heavily over the summer on a proven performer to fill a problematic position between the sticks at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp has seen a £65 million ($81m) show of faith richly rewarded, with Brazil international Alisson having contributed significantly to Liverpool hitting the top of the Premier League table and reaching the last 16 of the Champions League.

More will be required from him during a heavyweight European clash with Bayern, with that contest set to see a man being widely billed as the finest keeper on the planet at present go head-to-head with a rival who boasted that standing for several years.

Asked to take his pick between Alisson and Neuer, Bayern and Germany legend Kahn told Goal and DAZN: “At the moment it's Alisson. He showed at the World Cup that he is a world-class keeper.

“Neuer did not manage to play as good as he did before since returning from his injury. I think two things broke his rhythm a little bit: the early exit from the World Cup and his injury.

“It is not easy when you know as a player: ‘If something happens to my foot again that might be it for my career’. Those are psychological aspects that play a role. He must find perfect confidence in his body and then he will find his old level again soon.”

Neuer’s form has mirrored that of Bayern as a collective of late, but Kahn believes a side enduring an uncharacteristically testing domestic campaign will be relishing a continental clash with Premier League foes.

He added on an eagerly-anticipated meeting with Liverpool: “For FC Bayern this is absolutely perfect. This is what they need. They want to challenge the best and in Bundesliga they have suffered enough over the last months.

“Bayern always has the quality to win the Champions League. Nevertheless Jurgen Klopp reached the final with Liverpool last season. They have many good and quick players for Klopp's system with high pressing and quick transition. It is no coincidence they're leaders in the Premier League. That is one of the toughest opponents for Bayern.”

Both Bayern and Liverpool will harbour aspirations of challenging for European glory again this season, but Kahn believes big-spending outfits from France and Italy are likely to lead the charge.

Pressed to name his favourites, a man who lifted the trophy back in 2001 said: “PSG is the team that should have learned the most over the last years.

“But to win the Champions League you need more than just a squad that is worth 1.5 billion. You need to have that experience it takes to win this trophy in the end. And the players must be in their best shape when it is the most important.

“We have seen it with Bayern under Pep Guardiola - they played fantastic football, but in the semi-finals it was over. Similar to PSG. If they learned from it, they should be ready.”

Kahn added: “And Juventus. A very strong team in defence with many players that make you uncomfortable to play against. And they have [Cristiano] Ronaldo, who brought a special atmosphere to this club. His presence alone lifts the other players.

“Of course we have to mention Barcelona. I don't think Real Madrid can do it again. If they win it for the fourth time in a row I'd be speechless.

“Bayern has proved they are capable of anything in the Champions League. But of course that depends now on the matches against Liverpool.”