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UEFA Champions League quarter-finals: Real Madrid vs Liverpool; ‘Everyone says Real are favourites, great’

The massive European night that every fan would have loved to be going to.

Real Madrid away, what a spectacle it would have been at the Bernabéu stadium.

But it’ll be up to the players to make it a spectacle for the Reds sat at home watching on as the Champions League quarter-final is played at Real Madrid’s B teams ground.

After the fantastic victory over Arsenal on Saturday the optimism is flying high as that was a third win and clean sheet on the bounce.

However of course the Champions League is a different animal and Real Madrid are the biggest and scariest animal to play in this famous old tournament having won it a record 13 times.

Jurgen Klopp is quite happy for his side to be seen as the underdogs going into the tie as he said: “We are facing a footballing playing side which helps. We have a chance. Absolutely. 

“Everyone says Real are favourites, great.”

Given Liverpool’s poor season and injuries it would have been hard to argue against Madrid being the favourites but this is a European night, Liverpool are made for these.

Also Zinedine Zidane’s side have some important players missing for the tie.

Dani Carvajal, Eden Hazard and captain Sergio Ramos will all be missing and that’s a big blow for the Spanish champions.

Of course there’s been history before with a certain Mr Ramos and it would have been great to see Mo Salah up against the player who ruined his final in 2018 but it won’t happen this time round.

Eden Hazard always used to save his best performances for Chelsea against Liverpool so supporters will all have a sigh of relief  to see him not on the squad list.

So without their key defender and leader will Klopp take a risk or two?

The German certainly hinted at a little surprise in his press conference when he was asked whether he could start Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota upfront together..

“You will have to wait. Did Zinedine say anything about lineups? We will see. But it looked good at Arsenal? Looked good at Man City too.”

Zidane did not reveal anything about his lineup but the general assumption is that his frontline will be Asensio, Benzema and Vinicius Jr.

Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak will have a mighty task on their hands in stopping one of the best strikers of his generation in Karim Benzema who has scored 24 goals this season.

With Fabinho in-front of them though they will have immense protection with the Brazilian showing on Saturday why he is one of the best in that position and he will certainly have a point to prove coming up against his old club.

Revenge is on the cards for Liverpool after that shambolic final in 2018 but that will be at the back of the players minds because what should be at the forefront is the chance to get through to another major European semi-final. 

Klopp was quick to illustrate that with a cheeky dig at Ramos.

“My motivation is the highest level, we play Real Madrid, it’s not because of 2018. But of course I remember the game.

“If someone asked me a week after the game if I would invite Ramos to my birthday, I would say no. A strange night but long ago.”

No parties for Ramos then.

Jota who was also on press conference duties and he was in a very positive mood after scoring two fantastic goals against Arsenal.

The Portuguese international said: “We have some momentum. We left for the break with two wins and clean sheets. 

“We have followed that path with a good performance and we want to build on that. Tomorrow is a big test and we have to be ready”

Liverpool will of course be ready to take the fight to Real Madrid and what a game it should be.

Two of the most famous teams in European football locking horns once again.

If you aren’t buzzing with excitement whilst simultaneously sick with nerves then I’m afraid you’re doing it completely wrong.

Written by Elliot Thompson

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