Anfield forms the backdrop for the repeat of last season’s Champions League final as Liverpool and Real Madrid go head-to-head in the first leg of their blockbuster last-16 tie on Tuesday.
The memories of a heartbreaking 1-0 defeat in last season’s title decider are still fresh in the Merseyside camp, with the club’s ongoing domestic struggle only strengthening the feelings.
Liverpool’s worst Premier League campaign under Jurgen Klopp’s tutelage is steadily hitting the right direction, but their hopes of securing another top-four finish still hang in the balance.
Winter arrival Cody Gakpo couldn’t have picked out a better moment to open his Premier League account, following up Darwin Nunez’s opener in the Reds’ crucial 2-0 triumph at Newcastle United on Saturday.
In addition to becoming the first Premier League side to conquer St James’ Park this season, Klopp’s men have taken a giant stride toward re-establishing themselves as top-four contenders.
After reducing the gap on the fourth-placed Magpies to six points, Liverpool will switch their attention to the European stage as the record-time Champions League winners come to town this midweek.
Like their hosts, visiting Madrid enjoyed a triumphant weekend, pulling off a 2-0 win at mid-table Osasuna, even though the Ballon d’Or holder Karim Benzema had to sit the match out with a muscle injury.
Unfortunately for Carlo Ancelotti’s charges, the French superstar will remain on the sidelines for the first leg, which may derail Los Merengues’ bid to stun Anfield.
With La Liga leaders Barcelona maintaining a huge eight-point lead at the summit during the weekend, the reigning Spanish champions have identified Europe’s elite competition as their number one target.
After coming out victorious in their first three meetings with Madrid in major European competitions, Liverpool have gone winless in the last six on the trot (D1, L5).
Keen to arrest the club’s longest-ever winless run against a specific opponent in the Champions League, the Reds will fall back on their eye-catching five-match winning streak in European football.
Mohamed Salah could be the catalyst to sway this fixture in Liverpool’s favour, with the Egypt international seeking his 44th Champions League goal.
Achieving that feat would make him the joint-highest African scorer in the competition alongside former Chelsea ace Didier Drogba.
Tuesday’s trip to Merseyside may stir painful memories in the travelling camp, with Madrid failing to win six of their last seven away Champions League matches against English adversaries (D2, L4).
Against this backdrop, since going down 4-0 on their first visit to Anfield in the Champions League, Los Blancos haven’t conceded on their last two trips to Liverpool (W1, D1).
They have recorded five victories in their last six competitive outings outside the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu (L1), netting at least twice in each win.
In the absence of Benzema, Ancelotti will put his side’s fate in the hands of Vinicius Junior, who has racked up five goals and two assists in his last eight Champions League appearances on the road.
Liverpool vs Real Madrid Potential Line-ups
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson Becker; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson; Stefan Bajcetic, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson; Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo, Darwin Nunez.
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Thibaut Courtois; Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, Antonio Rudiger, David Alaba; Toni Kroos, Eduardo Camavinga, Luka Modric; Federico Valverde, Rodrygo, Vinicius Junior.
How to Watch?
Liverpool vs Real Madrid, alongside all other matches in Europe’s most prestigious club competition this season, is available to watch online via Champions League live streams.
And if you are interested in attending a future UCL game, see our Champions League tickets page for more information.
Liverpool vs Real Madrid Prediction
Only the bravest souls can confidently predict the outcome, though there’s no doubt the result will depend on how many first-team stars can recover in time.
Both teams have impressed lately, but if Liverpool are to make it out of this tie, they cannot afford to let the home advantage slip through their fingers, especially if Benzema does stay in the treatment room.
We back Klopp’s side to secure a narrow first-leg lead, even though Madrid are likely to find the net.
Liverpool 2-1 Real Madrid
- Man United ready mega bid for Tottenham striker Harry Kane
- Tottenham director Fabio Paratici opens up on Conte’s exit, plays down search for replacement
- England Under-21s: 5 players who could break into the first team for Euro 2024
- Arsenal and Brentford want Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Jesper Lindstrom
- Manchester City captain Ilkay Gundogan undecided about his future