The Champions League has witnessed some fascinating clashes in the 1stleg quarterfinals and it once again promises to provide us the same. Liverpool lock horns with Real Madrid in the second leg of the UCL quarterfinals at Anfield on Wednesday night. This match is going to decide who will play this year’s semifinals with Chelsea or Porto. Madrid won the reverse fixture 3-1 at the DiStefano thanks to an excellent Vinicius brace and an Asensio goal. A win or draw at Anfield will seal the deal for the Madrid-based side. They are aiming to progress to the semifinals after a long gap of two years absence from it. Liverpool will have a daunting task to perform to overturn a deficit of 2goals and try to make the semifinals.
Why you should watch for
The Champions League (UCL) is the only stage where we get to see the inter-continental giants playing against each other. And when that happens in the quarterfinals, there is absolutely nothing to do other than watching this. The 13 times UCL winners are squaring off against the 6time winners in a contest where Real is leading 3-1. Any win for them will all but dent Liverpool’s chances of making it to the semifinals. The first leg didn’t disappoint us and it presented us with some beautiful display of attacking football. Real won the fixture 3-1 on account of some excellent passing football and superb goals from Vinicius and Asensio. So, undoubtedly it is a pretty exciting match on the cards, and stay tuned in to witness an overall good clash. The match is scheduled to get kicked off at 00:30 IST and 19:00 GMT.
The Los Blancos are coming onto this match on the back of a strong 2-1 win against their fierce rivals Barcelona. An excellent backheel from Benzema and a Toni Kroos freekick capped off a memorable win against them. They had created innumerable chances and were quite dominating in the first half. But the injury of Vazquez and some forced substitutions by Zidane to give his players rest slowed down the game. Madrid is playing 3 big games within eight days and Zidane will aim to keep them fresh ahead of the Liverpool match. Fielding a fit 11 against Liverpool will be his priority with several key players set to miss the clash. Real will look to shrug off all the difficulties posed in front of them and secure their semifinal berth. A win would definitely do it for them.
The Reds are going to play this match after a hard-fought 2-1 win over Aston Villa. Mohammed Salah and TAA scored late to hand over a win to the Merseyside giants. This win surely keeps Liverpool in the race for a champions league spot next season. They were quite dominant in the match with nearly 2/3rds of the possession and also unleashed 23 shots. Out of 23, a healthy 10 of them were on target though Liverpool only managed to bag two goals. The midfield trio of Wijnaldum, Fabinho, and Thiago is going good and Klopp is expected to stick to the same. Liverpool has a pretty bad home record this season having won only 2 matches and losing 6 this year. They will also have their habit of making comebacks on their minds as they gear up to welcome the Blancos.
Madrid is traveling to Liverpool with injuries to many of their key players. First of all, their captain and leader Sergio Ramos is ruled out due to a calf injury. Raphael Varane had tested positive for the COVID the other day when Real hosted Liverpool and will miss the game. Lucas Vazquez suffered an injury to his posterior cruciate ligament on his left knee and is not playing. Dani Carvajal is still nursing his older injury. Eden Hazard has not got fit in time to travel with the squad. Federico Valverde also faces the fact of being fit in time to play the match. Other than this, Zidane has all his players available for duty.
Alvaro Odriozola is expected to start at left-back because of the absence of Carvajal and Vazquez. Apart from this, Zidane will make no change to his winning squad.
The Reds are also missing out on the players they have been missing throughout the season. Virgil Van Dijk, Joel Matip, and Joe Gomez have not healed their injury yet and remains on the sidelines. Jordan Henderson is also ruled out of the fixture due to a groin injury. Young Midfielder Curtis Jones and striker Divock Origi remain doubtful for the clash as well. Second choice goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher is also a doubt after suffering an abdominal injury a few weeks ago. Baring these injuries, Klopp has an otherwise fit squad to choose from
Thiago Alacantara could come in for the seasoned player James Milner. Other than this, Klopp is expected to stick to the same squad that beat Villa 2-1.
Head to Head
Real Madrid and Liverpool have faced each other 6 times at the European level. The results are shared even stevens with each side bagging 3 wins apiece and a draw. Madrid has though maintained a perfect record in their last three encounters winning each of these. The most recent came a week ago where Real cruised to a 3-1 win over Liverpool in the first leg. A Vinicius Junior brace coupled with an Asensio goal handed a convincing win to the Madrid side. It remains to be seen which of these sides progress into the semis after the second leg.
Players to watch out for
The Frenchman has been prolific for the madrid giants this season and is proving himself to be a vital cog. He has already scored 25 times for them and gave 6 assists. It is of no wonder that Zidane will bank on him to score the much needed goals upfront.
The German is the undisputed king of the Real Madrid midfield along with Modric. His passing has been eye catching for the football fans. Having 3 goals and 10 assists in his kitty is not easy being a central midfielder. His recent assist to Vinicius won the assist of the week award. Again, he will be the one to watch out for in the midfield.
The Egyptian is the undaunted king of the Liverpool forward line in terms of scoring goals. He has so far chipped in with 28 goals and 4 assists for the club. He also bagged the solitary goal for them back in the Stefano. Klopp will expect him to polish his scoring boots onceagain in order to fancy their chances of winning the match.
The Brazilian has been sensational for Liverpool in the central midfield position. His passing and defensive abilities are the ones to watch out for. He has catched the headlines time and again whenever he has played with his qualities. Against Real Madrid, his midfield duel with Casemiro will be entertaining to watch.
In all respects, it is going to be a quite enthralling match filling up all sorts of excitement for the football fans. For Real Madrid, it is about to renew their dominance once again in Europe after winning the league consecutively 3times. On the opposite side, Liverpool will look to keep up their quite splendid run in Europe over the past few years. Expect a very competitive match to occur with both teams trying to topple each other in their quest for a semifinal spot of UCL.
For more such articles do click here