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Six reasons why Liverpool could stage the biggest ever Champions League comeback against Real Madrid



Six reasons why Liverpool could stage the biggest ever Champions League comeback against Real Madrid

The Reds trailed 5-2 in Wednesday’s Champions League round of 16 second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, but all is not lost…

It is with a sense of hope, rather than conviction, that Liverpool fans have begun to descend on Madrid this week.

Their club’s history may be littered with the improbable and the unbelievable, especially when it comes to European football, but even the most optimistic Reds fans understand that this latest Mission: Impossible is likely to prove, well, impossible.

After 5-2 in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16, Liverpool take on Wednesday night against the Santiago Bernabeu, home of 14-time winners (and holders) Real Madrid, knowing they have a performance, a result and a opportunity that rivals any in its 131 years of existence.

Can they do it? Logic says no. After all, Madrid were ruthless in exposing the numerous shortcomings of Jurgen Klopp’s squad at Anfield last month, and the Spanish giants have won five of the sides’ last six meetings, including a 1-0 victory in last season’s final. season.

Liverpool also failed to register a result away to Bournemouth last weekend, losing 1-0 to a side who had started in the Premier League late in the day. The inconsistency of Klopp’s men this season has been nothing short of astounding.

But logic also tells you that if anyone can perform a miracle, it’s Liverpool. Few clubs have such a reputation for comebacks, big European nights and big European victories.

With that in mind, GOAL seems to be finding hope for Reds fans…

Lessons from history

Monchengladbach. Rome. Istanbul. Auxerre. Dortmund. Barcelona.

When it comes to big European fixtures, Liverpool have their library, not to mention their chapter.

There’s something about those continental ties, those continental nights, that bring the Reds to life. It must be said that their great deeds have often been accomplished at Anfield, with the ardent support of their local supporters. Of course, they won’t have that at the Bernabeu.

But they also did it from home. They won a European Cup by beating Roma at their own stadium and beat an AC Milan side under current Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti 3-0 in Istanbul in 2005.

Perhaps Klopp’s words could come in handy ahead of their last big European miracle, the semi-final win over Barcelona in 2019. “If it was someone else, it would be impossible,” he told his players before this game. “But because it’s you, we have a chance.”

The firepower is here

If Liverpool want to progress they know they need to score at least three goals.

Fortunately, they have the tools to do so.

Saturday’s tame loss to Bournemouth aside, the Reds’ forward line has looked impressive in recent weeks, never more so than in the 7-0 win over Manchester United when Cody Gakpo, Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah along with Roberto Firmino all marked twice. the bench to add a late cake.

With Diogo Jota fit again, the Reds have at least five potential winners in their squad – and more if Luis Diaz is deemed fit enough to be on the bench. And they have already scored 11 goals in three Champions League away games this season, including seven at Rangers and three at Ajax.

The less said about that other game, a 4-1 win at Napoli in September, the better…

Great games are Liverpool’s motto

It’s hard to ignore the inconsistencies running through Liverpool’s season.

Defeats to Nottingham Forest, Leeds United, Brighton, Brentford, Wolves and now Bournemouth have left Klopp’s side struggling to finish in the Premier League top four – a season after being in contention for every major trophy under the sun.

But even amid the struggles, it’s clear that big games bring out the best in this group of players. This was shown in last week’s win over United, victory over Manchester City in October and big away wins over Champions League qualifier rivals Tottenham and Newcastle.

Liverpool are one of three teams to have beaten Serie A leaders Napoli this season, they have beaten Rangers and Ajax home and away and they were too good for neighbors Everton in of a tense Merseyside derby last month.

Chelsea should have done it

It’s easy to forget now given what’s happened since, but last April Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea were 10 minutes away from getting the exact result Liverpool needed at the Bernabeu this Wednesday.

After losing 3-1 at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of the quarter-finals, few gave the Blues a chance as they traveled to Spain, but Chelsea excelled, scoring early through Mason Mount and adding a second after the half-time thanks to Antonio Rudiger. .

And when Timo Werner made it 3-0 with 15 minutes remaining, Tuchel’s side were off to a good start. Luka Modric, on the other hand, had other ideas and provided an excellent assist to Rodrygo. Karim Benzema then scored what proved to be the decisive goal in extra time and Madrid progressed to the semi-finals.

Madrid’s luck must run out at some point

Staying on the subject, how long can Real drag the results after disappointing performances in the Champions League?

Their run-up to last season’s final was remarkable. Paris Saint-Germain should have beaten them in the round of 16, Chelsea should have eliminated them in the quarter-finals and Manchester City should definitely have eliminated them in the semi-finals. But every time the giants rose from the canvas, moments of magic from Benzema or Rodrygo, Modric or Vinicius Jr. that helped them get through it.

Late on, a superb performance from goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois kept Liverpool at bay, allowing Vinicius to win the game with a goal on the break.