Pretty much everybody expects Madrid to beat Liverpool tomorrow. It's not about defeatism; it's simply a fair reflection of where the two sides are right now. It also, if viewed in a certain light, could be an excuse for the manager to try something different.
Little expectation of a win means less criticism if Brendan Rodgers throws out something unexpected and it doesn't work. Mostly because pretty much everybody expects that if he throws out what he's been throwing out in recent weeks it's not going to work. So might as well try something different.
Something different like resting Steven Gerrard, which the manager has this evening revealed to the Times' Tony Barrett that he is seriously considering doing for tomorrow. This after some fans noticed that Gerrard wasn't wearing the same colour bib as Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho, and Adam Lallana in training today.
Bibs, of course, aren't everything. And considering resting his 34-year-old captain doesn't mean that Rodgers will rest Gerrard. Still, if he did it would be an even bigger surprise than a tactical switch like returning to two up top could ever have been.
If it happens and Liverpool come away with points against Europe's best club side, though, it could mean the manager will finally feel comfortable resting the aging talisman. If it doesn't, well, nobody was expecting much tomorrow anyhow.
So. Welcome to the future. Maybe. Hopefully it doesn't involve too many goals against.