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UEFA Champions League, Round of 16, 1st Leg: LIV vs RM Preview and Fantasy Prediction

By Real11 - Feb 21 2023 543 Views
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UEFA Champions League


Round of 16, 1st Leg: Liverpool vs Real Madrid 

Preview 

Tuesday night will see a titanic clash between two of Europe's biggest clubs, as Liverpool host Real Madrid at Anfield in the last 16 of the Champions League. 

Liverpool will be looking to avenge their UCL final loss to Los Blancos last May, but this will be an arduous test against the Spanish giants. Klopp’s men haven’t won any of their six meetings with Real Madrid, drawing one and losing five of these games- this is their longest ever run of winless games against a single opponent in the history of the European Club/Champions League. This is a major shift from the early European matches between these two iconic clubs, with the Reds winning each of their first three meetings against Madrid between 1981 and 2009. 

The reigning champions will be making their fourth appearance at the Anfield to face Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League. They suffered a massive 4-0 loss in their opening game there in March 2009, but haven’t conceded a goal in their previous two visits, securing a 3-0 win in October 2014 and a goalless stalemate most recently in April 2021. 

This match will feature the 2021-22 finalists- Real Madrid and Liverpool. Real emerged victorious in that game to pick up their 14th European Title in Paris. 

 

Form Guide 

LIV:  W-D-L-L-W-W

RM: W-L-W-W-W-W

 

Team News

LIV:  Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez is hopeful of facing Madrid in the crucial tie. Jurgen Klopp confirmed the Uruguayan suffered a shoulder injury in the weekend win at Newcastle, having scored earlier in the game, which otherwise provided numerous fitness boosts to the Merseyside giants. 

“There is a chance,” the Liverpool coach told reporters on Monday. “We have to see how he is. When we know that we will make a decision.”

If Nunez misses the game, Liverpool do have Diogo Jota, Roberto Firminho and Harvey Elliot in their ranks 

Jota and Firmino came off the bench in consecutive games following long term absences while Virgil Van Dijk made his comeback start against Newcastle. 

Klopp is likely to go with the midfield trio of Fabinho, Stefan Bajcetic and Jordan Henderson after starting in the recent back to back wins. Joe Gamez and Joel Matip are battling to start alongside Van Dijk in defence. 

Ibrahima Konate and Arthur Melo who are available for this tie are expected to sit out the Real game. Thiago Alcantara, Calvin Ramsey and Luiz Diaz are all not available due to injury.

RM: The Whites hope to have their prolific goal scorer Karim benzema available tonight to face Liverpool in their Champions League trip to Anfield. 

The french striker sat out of Saturday’s win against Osasuna as Real continue to manage his fitness, Benzema having struggled with injuries all campaign. 

According to Spanish reports the 35 year old was being saved for the key game, which is the first leg of their last 16 tie, and he has been named in the travelling group on the flight to England. Rodrygo is expected to start up front if Benzema is not risked. 

Aurelien Tchouameni will miss out as he withdrew from the weekend game late on due to a virus. Eduardo Camavinga played in his absence on Saturday and will continue to do so if required. 

Toni Kroos is another big name unavailable due to gastroenteritis and Dani Ceballos has filled in for the German sniper in recent games. Ferland Mendy misses out as he recovers from his prolonged thigh injury. 

Nacho Fernandez could be replaced by Dani Carvajal at the right back position while Marco Asensio is pushing for a start having scored last time out as a substitute. 

 

Probable Starting XIs

LIV: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Bajcetic; Salah, Gakpo, 

RM: Courtous; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Alaba; Ceballos, Camavinga, Modric; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Jr.

 

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