Real Madrid host Liverpool on Tuesday in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinal (7:00 p.m. GMT), in a decisive week for their future in Europe and in the Spanish championship.
The meringues, the only Spanish representatives left in the Champions League, host the English team before facing Barcelona in a classic on Saturday, which could be key for LaLiga.
The white team comes at a good moment to this repetition of the 2018 Champions final when Real Madrid beat the ‘Reds’ 3-1 to lift the 13th European Cup in their history.
The meringues accumulate eleven games without knowing defeat, nine of them victories, the last one on Saturday against Eibar in the League (2-0) to push the Spanish championship a little more.
The whites are only three points behind the leader, Atlético de Madrid, with nine games to go before the end of the Spanish championship.
“We are in a good moment because the results are important to be alive in both competitions and the game as well,” said the Merengue coach, Zinedine Zidane, after the match.
– Scorer Benzema –
The French coach counts for the match against the English with the good streak of Karim Benzema, who has 24 goals so far this season, 6 of them in the last five official matches of the white team.
He can be joined by the improvement of Marco Asensio, who has scored in the last three Real Madrid games.
On the other hand, the merengue team will not be able to count for this meeting with its captain Sergio Ramos, injured in the left calf, and is awaiting the possible return of Eden Hazard.
The Belgian star trained with the team last weekend, although Zidane has already warned that he will be very cautious with him.
The good merengue moment contrasts somewhat with the tough season that Liverpool is going through, far from the image of the finalist team in the Champions League in 2018 and champion the year after it the following year.
Winners of the Premier League last season for the first time in 30 years, Liverpool are in sixth position this season, struggling to reach the four qualifying spots for the Champions League.
Anfield’s strength, in which the club managed to remain undefeated for nearly four years, fell in six straight games for the first time in club history this season.
– Sensitive casualties –
Added to this were the injuries of important men such as captain Jordan Henderson and defenders Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, who will miss the games against Real Madrid and it seems unlikely that they will be able to play again this season.
Despite all these burdens, Liverpool seem to have started to resurface in recent weeks with three consecutive victories in official matches, the latest a 3-0 win over Arsenal on Saturday.
Hopeful sign for the English team, Thiago Alcántara, weighed down by injuries during the season, seems to be recovering his cruising speed in midfield, helped by the return to the core of Fabinho, who has returned his identity to the ‘Reds ‘.
Ahead, Diogo Jota, who has also suffered this season with injuries, has recovered his marksmanship with six goals in his last four games with Liverpool and the Portuguese national team.
Elements to give hope to Klopp’s men in a match that is predicted to be played.
“Obviously, you face the best players, but in my opinion, you have to face each game as if you were going to play against the best team and play your best game, and it will not be different with this game,” defender Nathaniel Phillips told the UEFA media.