Having sat out the match against QPR with an eye towards Wednesday, Alberto Moreno is expected back in the starting eleven against Real Madrid. Having played in Europe and against Los Blancos last season, it shouldn't be a match that overwhelms the youngster, and Moreno says the promise of games like this was key in him signing for the club.
"Of course I'm looking forward to the game," Moreno told the Liverpool Echo. "Liverpool against Real Madrid, it's one of the biggest matches you could ever play in. Liverpool is a great club, and one that should always be challenging for honours. And one of the reasons I wanted to come here was to play in big competitions and big games just like this."
If there was any doubt about Moreno's lock on the starting eleven when Jose Enrique started against QPR, the veteran's poor performance in the end only served as confirmation that the youngster is now first choice on the left. In the midst of a stretch of seven games in 21 days, though, there was always bound to be some rotation, and QPR on paper seemed the perfect time for it.
One imagines that Moreno, in addition to starting against Madrid tomorrow, will also be asked to face Hull in the league on Saturday, though to keep him fresh Enrique could be given another chance the following Tuesday against Swansea in the League Cup. For now, though, the only focus is on the next match and defending European champions Real Madrid.
"I didn't expect to be facing Real Madrid so soon in my Liverpool career, but when you play in the Champions League you have to face the big teams sooner of later," he said. "All I can say is that I'm very excited and motivated for the challenge. I've had the joy of having beaten Madrid at [Sevilla] but also the sadness of conceding seven at the Bernabeu."
With Liverpool's defensive frailties so far this season—though Moreno himself has been reliably solid at both ends of the pitch—and coming off a shaky performance against QPR, many fans will be nervous about the possibility of seven goals being scored at Anfield on Wednesday. And not by the home team. Many feared similar, though, the last time the two sides met.
Then, back in 2009 in the Champions League knockout stages, Liverpool won 5-0 over two legs. Before last season, too, Liverpool were a side known for playing to the level of their opponents—up in the big matches and then down when it came time to face off against sides they should have been able to handle—and so there will still be hope to go along with the nerves.
"I know it will be a tough game," Moreno added. "I know how dangerous it is to play against Real's attack. We will have to be at our very best to take something out of the game, [but] I know how the supporters are feeling. They will all be looking forward to this as much as we are."
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