The Champions League (UCL) returns once again this week in Europe and it brings again some quality clashes in its business end. Two European giants Real Madrid and Liverpool lock horns against each other at the AlfredoDiStefano on Tuesday night. While the former are the 13 time European champions, the latter has managed to win the league only 6 times. The Los Blancos have won it consecutively three times between 2015 to 2018,but exited from the last-16 twice recently. The Reds, on the other hand, have been the champions of the 2018-19 edition and runners-up of the 2017-18 version. It shows Liverpool has picked up form once again in Europe of late. Real Madrid, though is considered as the Mr. Champions League (UCL) and will look to deliver on the big stage once again when they clash with the Merseyside giants.
Why should you be watching
There is absolutely no reason why you should not watch this mouth-watering clash in the quarterfinals of UCL. The Champions League is the only stage where you can watch this heavyweight fighting with each other for the title. And it presents two former champions who have won the elusive title many times playing against each other. It is of no wonder that it’s going to be a scintillating match to watch for the football fans. So stay tuned in, and see whether the King of Champions League or the Red Revolutionaries progress into the semi-finals. The kick-off time is scheduled at 00:30 IST and at 19:00 GMT.
The Madrid side is coming into this game on the back of a strong display against Eibar at home. A Marco Asensio curler and a Benzema header gave Real a comfortable win against the Armeros. They also had two goals ruled due to offside, otherwise, they would have won by a big margin. Zidane made Real Madrid play in a new formation in a new 3-4-2-1 formation against Eibar on Saturday. It was a masterstroke for Real who won convincingly and it saw Marcelo rediscovering his lost form and playing excellently. Asensio and Vinicius were the other positives from the match who also played well. This win will act as a booster for them ahead of the crunch Liverpool game.
The Merseyside club will play the match against Madrid high on confidence after handing Arsenal a 3-0 loss. It was a strong performance from a side which has lost consecutively to Fulham and Chelsea. Diego Jota notched up two goals in the 63rd and 81st minute while Salah scored one in between the two. Alexander-Arnold and Mane were the assist providers for Jota. They maintained almost 64% of the possession and launched 16 shots on target. Alexander-Arnold, Salah, Mane, Fabinho along Nat Phillips all starred for their side. It will be a morale-boosting win ahead of the decisive clash against Madrid with all key players returning to form. They will look to show up a similarly dominant performance against Madrid.
The Los Blancos will be going to Play at Alfredo Di Stefano with injuries to some of their crucial players. Sergio Ramos, the captain, and mainstay of the Madrid defense has been ruled out of the match early the previous weekend. He has sustained a serious calf injury and is sidelined for almost a month. Dani Carvajal also remains suspended for this clash. The brightest prospect for the Madrid Side will be the fact that Eden Hazard has returned to training. Zidane has said at the pre-match conference that he is hopeful to have Hazard back against Liverpool. The same can be said for Federico Valverde who remains doubtful for the match. There are no injury concerns or suspensions in the team apart from this few.
Raphael Varane, who was rested against Eibar will make a comeback to the starting lineup against Liverpool in place of Militao. If Hazard is passed fit, he is likely to come on late as a substitute. Marcelo will pave the way for Mendy in the left-back position. Kroos and Vinicius are likely to come in for Isco and Marcelo.
The Reds are traveling to Madrid with no such major recent injuries sustained to key players. The defensive trio of VirgilVanDijk, Joel Matip, and Joe Gomez remains sidelined due to the chronic injuries suffered by them. Their captain and midfield pillar Jordan Henderson can’t also participate in the match owing to his injury. Goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher and striker Divock Origi are also set to miss this crucial away game. Other than these, there are no other known injuries and Klopp is expected to field a fit eleven thereafter.
Klopp is expected to field the same starting lineup which played against Arsenal. There is a clear tossup between Firmino and Jota for central forward position after the latter’s excellent performance against Arsenal.
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 win came in the 2017-18 UCL final where the Los Blancos thrashed Liverpool 3-1 to win the cup. A Gareth Bale bicycle kick coupled with two Karius howlers allowing Benzema and Bale to score gave glory to Madrid. It remains to be seen which side gain the edge in the first leg of the quarterfinal.
Players to watch out for
The Frenchman has been in excellent touch for the Los Blancos this season of late. He has already scored 24 goals and given away 6 assists. Zidane will again hope for his talismanic striker to fire against Liverpool to score goals up front in this important match.
The Egyptian has been the undisputed king of Liverpool when it comes to scoring goals with consistency each season. In this season also, he has scored 26 times and has contributed to 4 assists. His creativity and goal-scoring ability will be the aspect that the Reds need to pierce the Madrid defense.
It was much pondered that who would step up and deliver amidst the defensive crisis in Liverpool. But Nat Phillips has lived up to the expectations and provided Liverpool with the much-needed defensive stability they want. Klopp will again bank on him to resist the free-scoring Madrid attack at the Di Stefano on Tuesday.
The German midfield maestro for Real Madrid, Kroos has lit up this season as always. He has provided a whopping 9 assists for his side and scored 2 goals this season. It is of no wonder that he will be the man to look out for in the crucial midfield battles.
When two European heavyweights clash against each other in UCL, there is little to choose between the two sides. This is a very enticing match on the cards to which the whole world will tune in to. Expect a fierce encounter to take place in which both sides will battle it out against each other. Madrid will look to progress into the UCL semi-finals after two years Liverpool, also, will try to continue on their impressive run in Europe and fancy their chances of winning it.
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