Liverpool: Liverpool is set to host Real Madrid on Wednesday at their fortress in one of the most anticipated ties of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16. After a poor run of form, Liverpool has finally managed to find their feet as they managed to pull out a string of results in their favour.
After going winless in the Premier League for the entire of January The Reds have managed to pull out a few eye-catching displays this month. On the other hand, the kings of UCL Real Madrid are struggling to keep up with nearly perfect Barcelona for the LA Liga title race. Carlo Ancelotti and Jurgen Klopp are serial winners. Even though their teams have failed to match their own standards this season, still one can expect a breathtaking encounter on the field as these two football giants go head-to-head once again.
In the last five encounters, Liverpool has failed to register a single win against Real Madrid. With a goalless draw and four defeats, there is a lot of pressure on the shoulders of Klopp and his team. Even though Liverpool has regained their domestic form but UCL is entirely a different story. For Real Madrid, this whole tie would be crucial for their team. After winning their fifth Club World Cup Real Madrid will be keen to move further in the UCL as well.
In their last meeting, Liverpool made 23 attempts and failed to score a single goal. While Real Madrid only needed three shots to get past Liverpool's defence. This time it could prove to be a similar story as well because even the best teams in Europe avoid taking an open approach against Liverpool, especially at Anfield. With the absence of Ferland Mendy in their squad Real Madrid already has some gaps to fill in their defence.
In contrast, Liverpool will suffer from creativity issues from time to time. With the absence of Luis Diaz and Thiago, it will be hard for the likes of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson to create openings for Salah and Gakpo. For both of these players, their day could turn into a graveyard shift if Real Madrid attempts to dominate Liverpool in terms of possession. Still, no matter what game plan both of these managers choose to execute these players will play a crucial role in deciding the fate of the first leg.
For Liverpool Salah, Gakpo and Van Dijk have to bring their A-game on the pitch tonight. Even if one of them slacks off tonight Liverpool will be in big trouble. For Real Madrid Valverde, Vinicius and Courtois have to play an instrumental role for Los Blancos tonight.
In the end, it will be a sight to watch for the fans of both teams and for the neutrals as well.
When: February 22, 2023
Where to Watch: Sony Sports network
Live Streaming: Sony Liv
Timing: 1:30 am IST onwards
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