Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Three key players to look out for

The Hard Tackle looks at three key players to watch out for in the much-awaited game between Liverpool and Real Madrid on Tuesday.

In recent years, Liverpool and Real Madrid have clashed on the biggest stage in the Champions League, with their most recent meetings coming in the 2018 and 2022 finals. On both occasions, Los Blancos came out on top. And they might have the edge again.

On Tuesday, the two giants will likely play a great football game. With the match being played at Anfield, all eyes will be on Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool, who are under tremendous pressure owing to their disastrous domestic form.

Klopp remains desperate to land a big result and bring confidence within his ranks. However, he could take some positives from the weekend’s performance against Newcastle United, as the victory at St. James’ Park improved their chances for this midweek clash.

Conversely, Real Madrid are not at their imperious best, as Carlo Ancelotti continues to oversee an inconsistent season. The European competition has always been the appropriate place for the Spanish giants to change things around. And the Italian will lean on their previous experience.

That said, the players will take the spotlight on Tuesday night to make the best of the opportunity. Among the 22 stars that will take the field, we have three who might make a difference here. While choosing from the options in front is a tough prospect, the three selected are crucial to the outcome.

Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk stressed his importance for Liverpool with an accomplished defensive performance against Newcastle United at the weekend. While the Reds have endured difficult games with him in the side for large parts of the season, his presence certainly gives the hosts some edge in the backline.

After a recent injury layoff, Liverpool missed the Dutchman’s presence, as Jurgen Klopp’s men continued to endure torrid results in the Premier League. And now, he has made a timely return, right before the big clash against Real Madrid.

Real Madrid have an accomplished set of players in their ranks, particularly in the offensive unit. However, irrespective of who Ancelotti prefers to start, the Liverpool backline will be busy on Tuesday night, as van Dijk & co. plan to handle their star-studded attack.

Van Dijk must be at his best to help Liverpool achieve something out of this game. The first leg at Anfield will provide the base before the trip to Madrid. Questions have been asked about Liverpool’s defence for most of the season. And in their quest to get their campaign back on track, the Dutchman will have to put in a masterful shift.

Federico Valverde

Real Madrid continued their inconsistent form on all fronts, and their season’s outcome still hangs in doubt. Yet, Carlo Ancelotti has managed a few accomplishments already this term, with his transformation of Federico Valverde, a huge positive for the Spanish giants.

Valverde has steadily become one of Real Madrid’s most important players and has benefitted from Ancelotti’s transformation methods. While he has largely played as a midfielder in this team, the manager has encouraged him to play a large part in the attacking system. And it is hardly surprising that clubs like Manchester United are showing interest in him.

Valverde has played various games on the right wing and central midfield. The wide role has showcased his attacking talents, which has resulted in him scoring five of his seven league goals from that role. Even at the weekend against Osasuna, the Uruguayan international was on target as part of the front three.

Against a side boasting someone like van Dijk in defence, Valverde will have a huge role to play. However, unlocking the backline to give Madrid an early advantage may be Ancelotti’s primary objective on his return to Merseyside. For that to happen, the Manchester United target is his trump card against Liverpool.

Vinicius Junior

The Brazilian is likely the biggest name on the pitch amidst a host of other notable players. Vinicius Junior scored the Champions League final winner against Liverpool and will hope to have a similar impact on Tuesday night. The Brazilian will have all eyes on him at Anfield as he looks to make a significant impact.

Vinicius Jr. continues to have an inconsistent season by his standards. But it has yielded 16 goals and eight assists. While he has proven the Champions League is the platform he most cherishes, the big games are where his true game comes to the fore.

The lip-smacking battle against Trent Alexander-Arnold is already the main talking point. The English full-back has come under tremendous pressure this season for faulty defensive performances. And the odds are stacked against the right-back.

Vinicius will have a key role to play for Real Madrid, especially as Karim Benzema has been struggling with fitness issues. While the Frenchman could play, the Brazilian is the most important attacker for Carlo Ancelotti and the potential key player to look forward to during this huge clash of the titans.

Leave Comment


Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.