MERSEYSIDE: Then again, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are a team who know a thing or two about historic Anfield fightbacks against the giants of the Spanish game.
The Liverpool faithful will be praying that lightning strikes twice against Spanish opposition at Anfield this week when Real Madrid pay a visit for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash on Wednesday.
Los Blancos travel to Merseyside boasting a 3-1 lead from the first leg in Madrid, where Vinicius Junior bagged a brace and Marco Asensio capitalised on a defensive error to put the host firmly in control.
Both sides also claimed vital league wins by the slenderest of margins at the weekend, as Liverpool ended their wretched home run with a 2-1 win over Aston Villa while Real Madrid came out on top in El Clasico by the same scoreline.
As the two European heavyweights seek to march to what would be the 20th European crown between them, a 20-year-old by the name of Vinicius Junior came up with the goods in the first leg, as the youngster’s well-taken brace propelled Real Madrid to a deserved 3-1 triumph on April 6.
Vinicius broke the deadlock on the 27th minute after a mesmerising pass from Toni Kroos, and Marco Asensio proceeded to double Los Blancos’ lead nine minutes later after an error from the much-maligned Trent Alexander-Arnold before Mohamed Salah pulled one back in the 51st minute.
However, Zinedine Zidane’s men were once again indebted to their Brazilian starlet as Vinicius found the bottom corner in the 65th minute to secure a first-leg triumph for Real Madrid, whose performance deserved an 80,000-strong Bernabeu crowd rather than an empty Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.
Then again, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are a team who know a thing or two about historic Anfield fightbacks against the giants of the Spanish game. It is impossible for one to forget their storming comeback against Barcelona after a 3-0 first-leg defeat. However, Los Blancos will surely do their homework on quick corner routines and cult hero Divock Origi is expected to miss out through injury.
Wednesday’s second leg represents the eighth meeting between Liverpool and Real Madrid, with the Reds boasting three wins compared to Real’s four – all of which have come in the last four meetings between the clubs.
Liverpool have welcomed Los Blancos to Anfield twice previously, and the Merseyside giants stormed to a 4-0 win in the last 16 of the 2008-09 tournament before losing 3-0 in the 2014-15 group stage.
Benzema’s four goals in this fixture sees him lead the way as the top scorer, and having lost four in a row to the Spanish giants, Liverpool could set an unwanted record of five consecutive defeats to a single opponent in Europe this week.
Both Liverpool and Real Madrid have defensive weaknesses ready to be exploited by the other, as Klopp and Zidane continue to work around the absences of their first-choice centre-backs at the worst possible time.
Another historic Champions League comeback on the Anfield turf is not beyond the realm of possibility, and Klopp’s side would have received a much-needed injection of confidence after pulling themselves out of their home rut against Aston Villa.
We can envisage another goal-fest in the second leg, but an in-form Real Madrid have the upper hand and will surely possess too much quality for an inconsistent and wounded Liverpool, so we are backing Los Blancos to book a place in the final four after a high-scoring draw.