Manuel Neuer hopes Liverpool target Thiago Alcantara can be persuaded to stay at Bayern Munich, describing him as "our engine in midfield".

On the eve of the Champions League last-16 second leg against Chelsea, captain and goalkeeper Neuer stressed how important the former Barcelona player has become over seven years at Bayern.

Thiago has one year left on his Bayern contract and the club would be reluctant to see him leave on a free transfer in 2021.

One alternative to that prospect would be cashing in on him now, with Premier League champions Liverpool apparently keen on taking him to Anfield.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has praised Thiago, describing him as "a great player", but has declined to speak any further about the Spaniard.

Asked about the influence of Thiago, and the possibility of him being in his final days as a Bayern player, Neuer stressed he hoped the Chelsea game was not the beginning of the end for the 29-year-old in Munich.

"I hope that it won't be one of the last matches of Thiago," Neuer said.

"He had to undergo surgery at the end of the season but now he's back and 100 per cent. He's a very valuable player for us, especially in ball possession. He's very important for us. He's our engine in midfield actually."

Bayern lead Chelsea 3-0 from the first leg of their European tie, so with home advantage on Saturday they should have little trouble making sure of a quarter-final place.

Lisbon will stage the Champions League from the last eight onwards.