Ramos and Salah, in the action that injured the Liverpool striker.GLEB GARANICH
Real Madrid will meet Liverpool in the quarterfinals of the Champions League , the last team they were really happy with in Europe. That night in 2018 in Kiev was that of Bale and his Chilean, Karius and his blunders, and the lethal engagement between Salah and Ramos that sent the Egyptian to the infirmary. However, the white that only lasted a few minutes, which took Christian and Welsh slide his farewell, an idea that did not express hot Zinedine Zidane but yes consummated technical francés.
days after Liverpool becomes EuropeMadrid pulls soleraThe Premier marks the step to LaLiga
That triumph in Ukraine and what happened in the following days, with the marches of Ronaldo and ZZ, marked the end of the second golden age of the meringues in the old European Cup . Since then, the downline in their fetish tournament has been pronounced, aired relentlessly for the next two years in the round of 16 by Ajax and City, and with the feeling that their football had lagged behind the elite and the new dictates of speed. , physical and intensity
The life of the reds , meanwhile, has passed in these three courses through all the possible phases: they touched the continental ceiling the following year raising their apricot to the sky of the Metropolitan, they prolonged the top last season, winning the Premier after 30 blank campaigns at home, but in this they have fallen into a severe crisis.
They are sixth in the Premier, five points behind the Champions League positions; they pale because of the injury to the central defender that changed their lives (Van Dijk) after that final lost against Madrid; and they suffer from the internal troubles of an attacking trio (Salah-Firmino-Mané) that breaks down. "We're not stupid either and, for now, it doesn't look like we're going to win the Champions League," said Jürgen Klopp last week after beating Leipzig 4-0 on aggregate in the round of 16. That had actually been Liverpool's best moment in weeks, orphans of its people in Anfield's lair from the effects of the pandemic.
On paper, the draw did not sulk either of them because they avoided the three most fearsome teams (Bayern, City and PSG), who also go for the other part of the table. "Obviously, it's a complicated match, but I'm fine because if you looked at the other teams, you would think, 'oh my god," Klopp reacted when he found out about the pairing. "I think it is the first time that I face it without Cristiano and without Bale, although there are still Ramos, Varane, Kroos, Modric, Benzema, Casemiro …", added the German.
The whites will play the first leg on Tuesday 6 April as locals and the return will be a week later, on Wednesday 14. In a few days it will be known if the first meeting can be held in Valdebebas. Until March 30, a rule is in force that prevents the entry into Spain of citizens from the United Kingdom, which forced Atlético to change the Wanda for Budapest against Chelsea. In the middle of both duels, Zizou and his team will also have to negotiate the classic with Barcelona in Valdebebas (Saturday 10, at 9:00 p.m.). The winner of Madrid-Liverpool will meet in the semifinals (April 27-28 and May 4-5) with the winner of Porto-Chelsea. The other quarters are City-Dortmund and Bayern-PSG (last champion and finalist)
The European life of Real Madrid has become very precarious since that 2018 final, although the eleven type that Zidane could mount, injuries on the sidelines, would not present big changes. Some decisive, yes, like the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, for whom the French coach still sighed this week in public. "It can happen, it can happen," he replied when asked about the distant possibility of a return for the Portuguese at 36 years of age. Despite the heavy investment in this period, especially in attack to alleviate the sinkhole opened by CR's departure, the rest of the pillars largely remain in place: Carvajal-Ramos-Varane, Casemiro-Kroos-Modric, and Benzema . Courtois relieved Navas well, Marcelo and Isco fell, and Bale tries to rehabilitate himself in the arms of Mourinho at Tottenham after the white swan song of Kiev, where he left a postcard volley.
Van Dijk's hole
In Klopp's dressing room there have not been excessive changes in these three campaigns, although two did have a surgical effect. Alisson relieved Karius, whose two gross errors on Madrid goals, led to large amounts of literature and medical trials, and Virgil Van Dijk locked up the net defense. Liverpool, with the 85 million they paid Southampton for him, made him the most expensive defender in history, and the Dutchman made them good. His arrival propelled a team that threatened to attack with a poisonous trident, but was cracking behind. An influence that has once again been evidenced by his absence since last October due to the rupture of the cruciate ligament in his right knee. In the center of the field, Klopp joined Thiago Alcántara last summer, although his touch and association football still does not weigh enough.
If you look at the last time they met, they are two groups that suffer. More Liverpool lately. While Madrid does the rubber as it can in the League, the Reds are in serious danger of not qualifying for the next Champions League through the Premier, defeated at Anfield in the last six League games, a negative record impossible to understand without the helplessness of the empty stands.
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Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7116