Two weeks ago, Liverpool looked out of energy and ideas, having not won in the league in 2023. After wins against local rivals Everton and then fourth-place Newcastle, the mood is more positive. Real Madrid, though, are their biggest challenge yet and up next.
Liverpool’s history against Madrid in Europe hasn’t had many good memories during the Jürgen Kopp era, with last season’s Champions League final loss in Paris hard to take due to events both on and, especially off, the pitch, something the manager reflected on.
“Different things happened to us against Real Madrid,” he said. “We played the final in Paris and I didn’t watch it back since then until this week. Now I know why I didn’t—it was proper torture. We played a good game and could’ve won but they scored a decisive goal.”
After losing to Madrid in the Champions League final in 2018, Liverpool were subsequently dumped out in the quarter-finals of the knockout rounds in 2021, suffering a 3-1 first leg defeat and only managing 0-0 in the second leg despite it being played at Anfield.
In 2022, they played what on paper was their best game against their Spanish tormentors, more than doubling the expected goal margin with 2.2xG to Madrid’s 0.9xG. In the end, though, Madrid finished their one clear cut chance; Liverpool couldn’t covert theirs.
“We could have won that game but didn’t,” the Liverpool manager added. “We come into this with more experience. I’m really happy we play this game now rather than a few weeks ago. We need to play our best to get through. If we don’t we don’t have a chance.”