- Real Madrid head into their second leg matchup against Liverpool at the Santiago Bernabeu with a seemingly safe and secure three-goal lead.
- The hosts are undefeated in their last seven consecutive meetings with the visitors and are set to reach the last eight of the Champions League once more.
- However, the Reds certainly have the capability of overturning the deficit, having recently put seven past Manchester United.
Similarly to the first leg, Karim Benzema is an injury doubt for the hosts and has been struggling for fitness all season. The Frenchman was left out of the squad for Saturday’s 3-1 win over Espanyol but has recovered in time for the second leg and is expected to feature.
David Alaba and Ferland Mendy are both unavailable for Los Blancos, however, with the Austrian defender being forced off in the first half of the first leg against Liverpool due to a hamstring injury. He has failed to feature in any match since and will miss out once again here, whilst Mendy has been missing since the end of January. Nacho Fernandez is expected to feature at left-back.
As for the visitors, they are not expected to have any fresh injury concerns but will still be without the likes of Joe Gomez, Thiago Alcantara and Luis Diaz for the trip to the Spanish capital.
Naby Keita is also an injury doubt since he has missed Liverpool’s last three matches due to a muscle injury, whilst Calvin Ramsay is out for the season. Midfielder Arthur Melo made the bench in Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat away to Bournemouth at the weekend but has been omitted from the Champions League squad.
Champions League Form
Real Madrid and Liverpool have been two of the competition's heavyweights now for the past two decades and after an enthralling seven-goal thriller at Anfield in the first leg, Los Blancos return to the Santiago Bernabeu with a three-goal advantage.
The Reds looked to be on for a historical victory after they raced away to a two-goal lead after just 14 minutes of play when Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah struck for the hosts. Nevertheless, Vinicius Junior drew the scores level at the break to make it 2-2.
An incredible second half would follow for Madrid and they went 4-2 up after just ten minutes of the restart through Eder Militao and Benzema. Benzema would then get his second of the night to put his side 5-2 up in a chaotic night in Merseyside.
Liverpool face an uphill battle if they are to make it past the current European champions but they certainly have the capacity for plenty of goals.
UCL 22/23 Key Stats:
Goals For: Real Madrid 20, Liverpool 19
Goals Against: Real Madrid 8, Liverpool 11
Both Teams To Score %: Real Madrid 71.43%, Liverpool 57.14%
Over 2.5 Goals %: Real Madrid 71.43%, Liverpool 71.43%
Real’s victory in the first leg means they have now won in back-to-back fixtures with Liverpool, having defeated them 1-0 in last year’s final at the Stade de France. It also makes it seven consecutive matches without defeat for Los Blancos against the Reds.
Liverpool last defeated Madrid back in 2009 in a 4-0 rout thanks to a Steven Gerrard brace. They also picked up a victory at the Bernabeu the same year in the first leg as a late Yossi Benayoun goal handed them victory. However, Jürgen Klopp’s men will need to win by at least three goals if they are to even level the scores in the tie this time around.
Two consecutive home victories have followed since the 2009 defeat for Real Madrid, with the last match ending in a 3-1 win in the 2021 quarter-finals. Vinicius Junior also scored a brace in the match, meaning he has now scored five goals in his last four meetings with Liverpool.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side remain nine points behind La Liga leaders FC Barcelona and have been met with inconsistent domestic form. Since their 5-2 victory away to Liverpool, Real have picked up just one win in all competitions.
After drawing 1-1 in the Madrid derby against Atletico, Real also suffered a 1-0 defeat at the Bernabeu of the first leg of the Copa Del Rey semi-final against Barcelona. A 0-0 draw away at Real Betis would follow before they finally returned to winning ways with a 3-1 win over Espanyol at the weekend.
Liverpool have certainly proved that they can get goals when they need them and have the firepower to pull off a miracle in this last 16 tie. A 7-0 battering of archrivals Man United looked as though the Reds were returning to their old selves, demonstrating a ruthless character in front of goal.
Nevertheless, they would follow that up with a 1-0 defeat away to relegation candidates Bournemouth, epitomising their inconsistent season. They remain in the battle for top four but are still six points behind Tottenham, albeit with a game in hand.
Prediction & Suggested Bets
Real Madrid 2-1 Liverpool @ 17/2 The hosts won’t take this lightly and always seem to step up in the Champions League. Liverpool have been poor away from home all season and it will be too much for them to overcome the three-goal deficit. We’re predicting a slim win for Real Madrid to secure a comfortable aggregate victory.
Vinicius Junior To Score or To Be Shown a Card @ 1/1 The Brazilian is turning into a real star in Madrid and his superb goal record against Liverpool is expected to continue in the return leg here. However, even if he fails to find the back of the net, he has picked up five yellow cards in his last six games in all competitions so looks good value for either a goal or a card.
Darwin Nunez 2+ Shots On Target @ 6/4 The Reds know they need goals and so we are expecting them to give it their all in the second leg. It should be yet another exciting, attacking contest and Nunez has recorded a total of seven shots on target in his last five matches. He also had two shots on target in the first leg and we are tipping him to do so again here.
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