Venue – Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano, Madrid
Referee – Felix Brych (GER)
Date & Time – Tuesday, April 6th 2021 @ 20:00
Current Odds – Real Madrid 31/20, Draw 5/2, Liverpool 13/8
Liverpool’s season could be heading for a hugely exciting climax. Jürgen Klopp’s Mighty Redmen have played their way back into a fight for a top-four finish in the Premier League as well as looking confident in the Champions League.
This week, The Reds are in Spain to face LaLiga giants Real Madrid in the first leg of their quarter-final clash. After a strong showing at Arsenal on Saturday, Liverpool will not be afraid of anyone, and rightly so.
Real Madrid Form
Real Madrid have lost just once in their last 13 games in all competitions. Zinedine Zidane’s side is just three points behind Atletico Madrid at the top of LaLiga, however, their city rivals do have a game in hand to play.
Los Blancos are on a four-game winning streak. They beat Eibar 2-0 on Saturday thanks to goals from Marco Asensio and Karim Benzema.
Benzema has 18 LaLiga goals and 5 Champions League goals in this campaign so far. The former France international is the home team’s biggest threat by far.
Liverpool put in their best performance of 2021 so far when they beat Arsenal 3-0 at the Emirates on Saturday night. That was their third straight victory in all competitions and they have not conceded a goal in any of those games.
Jürgen Klopp’s men have lost six-in-a-row at Anfield so they may be glad this first leg is in Madrid. Hopefully, they will be back to their best at Anfield in time for the second leg.
Real Madrid Team News
Real Madrid will be without Eden Hazard, Sergio Ramos, Daniel Carvajal, and Federico Valverde through injury.
Zinedine Zidane is likely to stick with his favoured 4-3-3 formation and the very experienced midfield trio of Luka Modric, Casemiro, and Toni Kroos.
Karim Benzema will provide the greatest threat, spearheading the home team’s attack with the in-form Marco Asensio also bound to cause problems aplenty for the Liverpool back four.
With Sergio Ramos out injured, Nacho will probably partner Raphael Varane at the heart of Real Madrid’s back four. Lucas Vázquez will slot in at right-back as Dani Carvajal is also missing for the hosts.
Liverpool Team News
Liverpool’s injury list at the moment includes Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joël Matip, Jordan Henderson, Caoimhin Kelleher and Divock Origi.
Thankfully, Jürgen Klopp seems to have discovered a decent centre-back partnership in Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak. However, Tuesday in Madrid will be, by far, the biggest test these two will have faced thus far.
In midfield, Fabinho, Gini Wijnaldum, and Thiago Alcântara should start with Fabinho’s presence back in the ‘6’ role providing much-needed stability to The Reds’ midfield as well as excellent defensive cover just in front of the young centre-halves. There really is no one else in the world better at what Fabinho does.
I think Bobby Firmino could be starting again, despite Diogo Jota’s super-sub appearance against Arsenal on Saturday. Firmino may be used to harass and harry the Real Madrid defence for the first hour before Jota is then unleashed later in the game.
Real Madrid XI (4-3-3) – Courtois; Vázquez, Varane, Nacho, Mendy; Modric, Kasemiro, Kroos; Asensio, Benzema, Júnior
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Thiago; Salah, Firmino, Mané
WHEN THEY LAST MET
Liverpool and Real Madrid have met six times in the European Cup/Champions League over the years. Each team has won three games each overall with The Reds taking the first three and Real Madrid winning the most recent fixtures.
The last clash was the 3-1 victory for Real Madrid in the final in Kyiv in 2018. Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale (x2) scored for Zinedine Zidane’s side that night with Sadio Mané nabbing Liverpool’s goal.
Liverpool’s most recent visit to the Santiago Bernabéu saw Real Madrid beat Brendan Rodgers’ Reds 1-0 thanks to a goal from Benzema. Tuesday’s game, however, will be at Real Madrid’s second ground, the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano, due to ongoing works at the Bernabéu.
One point of note is that Benzema has scored four goals in his last three games against Liverpool.
REAL MADRID 1 – 2 LIVERPOOL
Liverpool have been in fine form away from Anfield, winning 7 of their last 8 games on the road. Despite the injury problems Jürgen Klopp has to contend with, I still believe The Reds are strong enough to win this fixture and put themselves in the driving seat to progress to the semi-finals.