Liverpool will try to overturn a two-goal deficit when they host Real Madrid in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie. Los Blancos travel to Merseyside boasting a 3-1 lead from the first leg in Madrid, where Vinicius Junior bagged a brace and Marco Asensio capitalised on a defensive error to put the visitors firmly in control.
Liverpool had just ended their six-game losing run at home in the top flight with a 2-1 win over Aston Villa last weekend, as Trent Alexander-Arnold scored a sublime winner in the added time, although the Reds were far from convincing once again. Although their home stadium’s mediocre performance in the Premier League, Liverpool have secured three victories from four home matches in this season’s Champions League – keeping clean sheets in all three of those triumphs – and they have lost just two of their last 21 European fixtures on Merseyside.
Four days after the first leg of the quarter-final, Real Madrid prepared for another clash against Barcelona, eyeing the prize in La Liga and hopeful of usurping Atletico Madrid at the top of standings. Zidane’s side managed to do a 2-1 triumph in the El Classico, where Karim Benzema drew the first blood in just 13 minutes before Toni Kroos witnessed his free-kick take a deflection into the net past a hapless Marc-André ter Stegen. Los Blancos has now won six consecutive victories across all competitions, and Real Madrid has also managed to string a 13-game unbeaten run since their shock defeat to Levante on January 30. Real have only managed to keep a clean sheet in their last eight matches, yet Real Madrid took the spoils from five of their last away matches.
The second leg represents the eighth meeting between Liverpool and Real Madrid, Real have been the better side in the history of the fixture with four wins while the Reds picked up three wins, and there is yet to be a stalemate in this pulsating tie. Their most memorable encounter came in this competition back in May 2018, when Los Blancos grabbed a 3-1 victory in the final to win their thirteenth Champions League title. Having lost four in a row to the Spanish giant, Liverpool could set an unwanted record of five consecutive defeats to a single in Europe.
Injuries & Suspensions
Liverpool’s centre-back crisis still becomes unhelpful as Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip won’t appear today. Inexperienced Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak must prepare for another evening against Zidane’s bright attacking crop. The captain Jordan Henderson will also miss out through injury, Curtis Jones is expected to fit in Jordan’s position but he’s having doubts about a muscle injury. Liverpool’s second-choice goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher is also in doubt after suffering an abdominal injury, he will join the sidelines with Divock Origi – who remains a muscle injury.
Real Madrid will be without Eden Hazard as he continues to recover from muscle injury. Dani Carvajal will be assessed before the game but is likely to not be available. Lucas Vazquez could be out for the season after a cruciate ligament sprain. Alvaro Odriozola is therefore likely to be handed the daunting task of keeping Mane quiet. Their main men at the back – Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane – are both sidelined.
- GK: Alisson
- DF: Trent Alexander-Arnold – Nat Phillips – Ozan Kabak – Andy Robertson
- MF: Fabinho – Georginio Wijnaldum – James Milner
- FW: Mohammed Salah – Roberto Firmino – Sadio Mane
- GK: Thibaut Courtois
- DF: Álvaro Odriozola – Nacho Fernandez – Elder Militao – Ferland Mendy
- MF: Casemiro – Toni Kroos – Luka Modric
- FW: Marco Asensio – Karim Benzema – Vinicius Jr.
Both Liverpool and Real Madrid have defensive weaknesses ready to be exploited by each other as Zinedine Zidane and Jurgen Klopp continue to work around the absences of their centre-backs at the worst possible time. Real Madrid is playing the best football we have seen from them in a long time, Liverpool is nowhere near their best and is unlikely to pull a rabbit out of their hat today. For me, an entertaining draw is just around the corner.
Liverpool 2-2 Real Madrid
Author: Kuyet @ TrophyRoom
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