With Thiago Alcantara, Jordan Henderson, and Stefan Bajcetic all ruled out for Wednesday’s second leg Champions League tie against Real Madrid, Liverpool’s slim chances to advance will rely heavily on Fabinho in midfield.
The one fit regular starter in 2023 has had his own struggles this season but in recent weeks looks to have at least been starting to work his way back towards his best, and he will need to be in very top form at the Bernabeau.
“We have to have confidence to play this game because we really need to change a big result that was made in the first game,” Fabinho noted. “I think it will be important to not concede, to be intelligent in the game.
“We can’t be desperate early in the game, we have to be calm in every situation. It doesn’t matter what happens, we have to be calm and try to play our best football. And we have try to do it not for 45 minutes but for 90.”
In the first leg, Liverpool went up by two after 14 minutes before Madrid pulled the score level by the half. In the second, though, the Reds collapsed, conceding three and putting themselves in a near impossible position.
They’ve come back from three down before, of course. But on the road, at the Bernabeau, against a side that weren’t at all shaken when they went up early at Anfield in the first leg makes this a different kind of deficit.
Still, until the final whistle blows there is hope, and the removal of the away goals rule from European play at least means that they would only need to overcome the three-goal deficit and not score five times to match Madrid.
“It will be harder because we will not play at Anfield,” Fabinho added. “But I think the players know that it’s possible to change the a result against a really good team. We have to take positive things and try to make history.”