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Real Madrid star will not play against Liverpool in the second leg



Real Madrid are about to welcome Liverpool to the Santiago Bernabeu for the second leg of the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League. Carlo Ancelotti’s team is at ease and won the first leg at Anfield 5-2. It was a brilliant performance by Blancos and they are favorites to progress to the quarterfinals.

Of course, it would be a mistake to take the result as a foregone conclusion. In recent years we have seen incredible comebacks in the Champions League, often involving Real Madrid themselves. Hence, Ancelotti’s side should carry their A game, when they face Liverpool in the second leg. There is some mixed news for them on the injury front.

As tweeted by Mario Cortegana, Ferland Mendy and Karim Benzema have completed training with the squad and will both be available against Liverpool. David Alaba is better, but he won’t play on Wednesday.

The Real Madrid star will not play against Liverpool in the second leg

It was in the first leg against Liverpool at Anfield that Alaba was injured. And it hasn’t been there since.

This coincided with Real Madrid’s poor form. They went winless for three matches, losing to Barcelona while drawing with Atletico Madrid and Real Betis. However, they found some form over the weekend by beating Espanyol and will go into the game against Liverpool with a win.

On the other hand, Liverpool’s season has been nothing short of ups and downs. They lost 1-0 to Bournemouth last weekend. But then they beat an in-form Manchester United 7-0 in the previous game. So one can only wonder which version of the Reds will show up at the Santiago Bernabeu during the week.


Is Joao Palhinha the answer to Liverpool’s midfield problems? The Reds are interested in signing a Fulham man valued at £60million

Liverpool remain in the market for midfield reinforcements, with Fulham star Joao Palhinha seemingly emerging as a top target for the Reds.

WHAT HAPPENED? The Portugal international was linked with several teams in England before completing a £20m ($24m) move from Sporting to Fulham in the summer of 2022. He was a revelation at Craven Cottage and his absence always felt in West London unavailable. THE BIG PICTURE: Palhinha has four years left on his current contract, but the Daily Mail reports that interest in the chic 27-year-old is starting to grow again.

AND WHAT’S MORE: They claim Liverpool would be willing to meet Fulham’s asking price of £60m ($73m) for the Portuguese and would still be considerably cheaper than the Borussia Dortmund star and England’s Jude Bellingham – the should come with a picture at nine price tag in the next window.

AND AFTER ? Fulham are confident they can keep Palhinha on their books for at least another season, but their resolve could be tested this summer when the likes of Liverpool look to add proven performers to their respective ranks.


19 games, Win 6, Loss 10: Liverpool have a HUGE away problem to solve

Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat at Bournemouth was their tenth defeat this season. They have only lost two in the entire 2021/22 season.

Liverpool have been far from the best this season, but at least they have been tough to beat at home.

The Reds have only lost once at Anfield in the Premier League, against Leeds in October, while away from home it was a different story altogether.

? #LFC Premier League away records this season:

13 played
3 won
drawn 3
7 lost
13 scored
Granted 20
Goal difference -7

Liverpool have lost seven of their 13 away league games and 10 of 19 in all competitions, and are yet to play Man City and Chelsea on the pitch.

Even Real Madrid at the Bernabeu won’t be an easy feat.

Fight against the ground

The Reds’ defeat at Bournemouth was their second to bottom of the table this season and their fourth defeat to a team in the relegation zone.

It’s clear Liverpool can still perform at a very high level at times – wins against Man City and Man United prove that – but a general malaise amongst the squad has left the side struggling against weaker sides in the league.

Away, Jurgen Klopp’s team struggles to collect points. Liverpool’s inability to produce consistent results against teams they are better at on paper is the main reason they have so quickly become a team struggling to qualify for European football.

While some players are clearly on the decline, there also seems to be a mentality issue.

Not too long ago Klopp described his team as ‘mental freaks’ and one of the reasons Liverpool have done so well in recent seasons is their ability to recover.

Even with a goal deficit, players and fans were confident that if the Reds stuck to their plan, they would get back in the game.

How things have changed. As This Is Anfield contributor Joel Rabinowitz pointed out, Liverpool conceded their first league goals 13 times and won only twice.

What did Klopp say?

The incredible energy that Liverpool possessed as they scored 97, 99 and 92 points in aggregate was key to their triumphs.

In 2016, Klopp said: “No playmaker in the world can be as good as a good counter-presser.” In 2019, assistant Pepijn Lijnders said: “Our identity is intensity.”

At Anfield, with the help of the crowd, Liverpool still retain some of the intensity necessary for the success of Klopp’s system.

Away, however, the players seem to lack the ability to win the ball high up the pitch often enough. Speaking after Saturday’s game against Bournemouth, Klopp said: “In home games we’re in the top four, but in away games we’re not even in Europe. There’s always a reason and our away results are definitely [the reason].

“It was a big strength for us last year, it really paid off

play into their hands

After the game, Klopp also said: “We played the game Bournemouth wanted us to do for 95 minutes.

“In the first half, our best two or three moments were similar, finding half space and entering behind the final line.”

In all competitions this season, Liverpool have played 19 away games, conceding 30 goals and scoring 28, although seven of those came in a game against Rangers.

According to FBref, they average 31.2 shot actions per game at home while they drop to 26.1 away; at home, their expected goal ratio (xG) is 3.24 per game compared to 1.61 away. At Anfield, opposing teams are averaging 1.1 xG, while from distance it is 1.72.

Not often enough have the Reds found a way to break up the opposition when faced with a low block.

Bournemouth weren’t particularly defensive in the first half, but quickly circled the Liverpool players once they moved into the bottom third.

While Klopp escaped, Liverpool played as Bournemouth wanted Liverpool to play, for them.

Could the big opportunity help? Next up is a trip to the Bernabéu to take on Real Madrid, who haven’t been in great form lately.

While the Blancos humiliated the Reds at Anfield, they have won just one of their last four and it would give the players a reminder of their prowess if they went there and won at least that night.

This is especially true considering how they were outclassed in the second half of the first leg.

Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal therefore make up Liverpool’s next three games after the international break, with City and Chelsea both away in the space of four days.

Again, perhaps it suits Liverpool to play against stronger teams, who have been better as a team on the counterattack this season.

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