Predicted Liverpool lineup against Real Madrid: Firmino, Bajcetic to start; Nunez on bench

Roberto Firmino and Stefan Bajcetic will start when Liverpool host Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.

Liverpool will aim to take a step closer to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals when they welcome Real Madrid to Anfield for the first leg of their Round of 16 clash on Tuesday night.

The home side have a number of injury problems heading into this contest. And Jurgen Klopp will be without the services of key players like Thiago Alcantara and Ibrahima Konate. Thiago is ruled out with a hip injury, and the Reds will certainly miss his calm and composed presence in the middle of the park.

Calvin Ramsay has been ruled out for the remainder of the season following surgery. Colombian winger Luis Diaz is back on the training pitch along with Brazilian midfielder Arthur Melo. However, the duo is not fit enough to feature in this game.

Meanwhile, the Reds have been handed an injury boost, with Darwin Nunez expected to feature against Real Madrid. The 23-year-old striker picked up a shoulder injury against Newcastle United. But Klopp has confirmed that the Uruguayan international is ready to return to action immediately.

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“There’s a chance [for the Anfield clash with Real Madrid]. From all the possible scenarios, apart from being absolutely nothing; that’s not the case. We have to see how he (Darwin) can deal with the pain [and] when we know that, we make a decision.

On Thiago, Klopp said, “Obviously the Thiago situation is not cool for us. He will be out for a while with a hip problem. Luis is running now, it will take a few weeks still but he is now out on the pitch as well running, which is really good. Who could have come back since then [the Merseyside derby on February 13]? Ibou not yet.”

Liverpool will start with Alisson Becker in goal. In the back four, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson will reprise their roles as the full-backs. The two players will hope to add creativity and defensive cover from the flanks. Joel Matip will partner with Virgil van Dijk at the heart of the defence.

In the midfield, Fabinho is set to start as the defensive midfielder, with Stefan Bajcetic and Jordan Henderson adding drive and defensive cover on either side of him. The Reds will look to keep their midfield compact. And all three players have the defensive discipline to keep things tight in the middle of the park.

Roberto Firmino came on as a substitute against Newcastle United and was impressive. The Brazilian international is likely to start, with Darwin Nunez nursing a minor shoulder injury. Cody Gakpo will look to continue his goalscoring form, and he is set to start on the left flank with Mohamed Salah on the right.

Predicted Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Bajcetic; Salah, Firmino, Gakpo

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