Real Madrid vs Liverpool
| Wednesday, March 15th |
Champions League | Santiago Bernabeu
8PM BST / 3PM EST
After having gone through a bit of a revival in the league in recent weeks, Liverpool stumbled against last-placed Bournmouth on Saturday, in possibly the least energising dress rehearsal imaginable, as they prepare to take on the reigning champions on their home turf with a three goal advantage.
Of course, the Reds have recent history of turning over a three-goal deficit against Spanish competition in the Champions League, but that was at an Anfield in full song, against a Barcelona side that couldn’t stop obsessing over their capitulation to Roma with a similar advantage the previous season. Real Madrid won the competition without ever really playing well for more than five minutes at a time last year, and will come into the match as confident as one could realistically expect to be at this level.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men look set to finish second in La Liga, and will once again look at the Champions League as their primary target. With the excception of David Alaba, who is still recovering from a hamstring injury, los blancos travel with a full and healthy squad, including top scorers Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konaté, van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Milner, Elliott; Núñez, Gakpo, Salah
For the Reds, Joe Gomez was back in training today, but is unlikely to break up the partnership of Ibrahima Konaté and Virgil van Dijk, while Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson should continue in their regular full-back slots.
In midfield, Jordan Henderson has not traveled with the squad due to illness, while Stefan Bajcetic missed training with a knock. Thiago remains unavailable, and the probability is that Fabinho will be joined in midfield by two of James Milner, Naby Keïta and Harvey Elliott.
Up top, Luis Díaz was back in training as he continues his recovery, but is unlikely to contribute in any meaningful way tomorrow night. The main question is which two of Darwin Núñez, Cody Gakpo and Diogo Jota will join Mohamed Salah in the frontline from the opening whistle, and who will be called upon to contribute in a game-changing manner should the tie still be winnable into the second half.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “.”
Carlo Ancelotti: “The message to the team is simple: we have to try to play as well as possible, just like in the first leg. We won’t try to calculate anything, we have to be in the game from the first minute.We have to go into the game with maximum intensity and enthusiasm and try to win it.“
The Officials (GER)
Referee: Felix Zwayer
Assistant referees: Stefan Lupp, Marco Achmüller
Fourth official: Sven Jablonski
VAR: Marco Fritz, Christian Dingert
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.