Real Madrid will hope to book their place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League with a win over Liverpool when the two sides meet on Wednesday night.
Real Madrid picked up a 5-2 win in the first leg at Anfield and will be hoping to finish the job at Santiago Bernabeu against Liverpool on Wednesday night. The Spanish giants are overwhelming favourites after their performance in the first leg. But it remains to be seen whether Liverpool can put on a fight in Spain.
The Reds are coming into this game on the back of a shock defeat against Bournemouth in the Premier League. And Real Madrid will fancy their chances of picking up another easy win at home on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Spanish giants picked up a 3-1 win over Espanyol in their last outing after failing to win three games across all competitions. Carlo Ancelotti will not want his side to take Liverpool lightly. So Real Madrid are expected to put on a professional performance and get the job done.
As for Liverpool, they will be hoping to salvage some pride with a strong performance away from home. They will need a miraculous display to overturn the deficit from the Anfield defeat. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.
Up next: #RMALIV #UCL pic.twitter.com/dWB5nWf7AK
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 12, 2023
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The home side will be without the services of Ferland Mendy and David Alaba because of injuries. Carlo Ancelotti is expected to set up his side in his usual 4-3-3 formation, with Thibaut Courtois in goal.
Dani Carvajal will slot into his usual right-back role, and Eduardo Camavinga is expected to deputise in the absence of Alaba and Mendy as the left-back. Eder Militao will partner Antonio Rudiger at the heart of the defence.
The midfield three pretty much picks itself, with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos starting on either side of Aurelien Tchouameni. While the French international midfielder will look to break up the opposition play, Modric will add control in the middle. Kroos will look to break the lines with his creativity and long-range passing.
Karim Benzema will lead the line for the hosts, with Vinicius Junior on his left and Federico Valverde on his right. Valverde is expected to drop down into the midfield from time to time and outnumber Liverpool in the middle of the park.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Camavinga; Modric, Tchouameni, Kroos; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius
The visitors are still without the services of Luis Diaz, Thiago Alcantara, Joe Gomez and Calvin Ramsay. Diaz and Gomez have resumed training but are not fit enough to feature here. Meanwhile, Ramsay is done for the season.
Liverpool are also expected to line up in a 4-3-3 formation, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson as the full-backs. Ibrahima Konate will partner Virgil van Dijk at the heart of the defence. Alisson Becker will retain his place in goal.
In the midfield, Fabinho will play the anchoring role for Liverpool alongside Stefan Bajcetic and Naby Keita. While Bajcetic and Fabinho will look to break up the opposition play and keep the midfield compact, Keita will look to add drive and creativity.
Cody Gakpo is set to lead the line for the Reds, with Mohamed Salah on his right and Darwin Nunez on his left. Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino will be options on the bench for Klopp heading into the second half.
Probable lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, van Dijk, Robertson; Keita, Fabinho, Bajcetic; Salah, Gakpo, Nunez
- Real Madrid have advanced from 26 of their previous 27 UEFA Champions League knockout matches when winning the first leg away from home.
- Liverpool are one of four English teams to have defeated Real Madrid away from home in a European clash.
- Real Madrid have defeated Liverpool in six of their last seven UEFA Champions League encounters.
- It only took nine shots for Real Madrid to score five goals against Liverpool in the first leg.
- Liverpool have lost ten of their 19 away games in all competitions.
Player to Watch
75 – Los 5 jugadores que más regates han completado esta temporada en las 5 grandes ligas europeas (con porcentaje de acierto):
75 (56%) – Lionel Messi 🇦🇷
75 (36%) – VINÍCIUS JR. 🇧🇷
62 (54%) – Alphonso Davies 🇨🇦
58 (62%) – Leroy Sané 🇩🇪
57 (59%) – Jeremie Frimpong 🇳🇱
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) March 14, 2023
The 22-year-old Brazilian winger is in exceptional form right now, and he made quite an impact at Anfield in the first leg. Vinicius Junior has seven goals and two assists in his last ten outings for Real Madrid and is likely to torment the Liverpool defence once again.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has been quite vulnerable defensively and Vinicius could tear him to shreds. Expect the youngster to rise to the occasion and help Real Madrid hand Liverpool a crushing defeat.
Real Madrid 3-0 Liverpool
Real Madrid are overwhelming favourites here, and they are certainly the better team. Los Blancos exposed Liverpool’s weaknesses badly during the first leg. And Liverpool’s performance against Bournemouth suggests that they could be in for another tough outing against the Spanish giants.
While the Reds are no pushovers, Real Madrid are formidable at home, especially in the Champions League. That is why The Hard Tackle reckons the hosts should be able to pick up a comfortable 3-0 win.
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