Real Madrid-Liverpool in the quarterfinals of the Champions League is here and we are getting to know a little more about the team against which Zinedine Zidane’s men will seek a place in the semifinals.
After surprising the last two seasons by conquering the ‘orejona’ and a Premier League that had resisted 30 years, the English team has lost steam this season. To this day, Jürgen Klopp’s team struggles to qualify among the top 4 in the English league so as not to be dropped from the Champions League.
Liverpool’s start to the year was disastrous, especially in a month of February where they linked four consecutive defeats that definitively took them away from the fight for the title.
The ‘red’ started badly in March, adding another two defeats, but in the last three weeks they seem to have rediscovered the characteristics that led them to victory.
The main weakness of this Liverpool is in defense. Virgil Van Dijk’s injury at the start of the season was a hard blow for the team, which has been dragging problems down the back axis ever since. It should be added that the other two ‘senior’ centrals of the team, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez, were also injured, aggravating the situation.
Klopp improvised by relocating Fabinho and Henderson as center-backs, a solution that has turned out to be more of a problem. Without them in the center of the field, the team decreased in pressure and in the ability to recover balls, being more exposed to rival attacks.
Defensive axis injuries have been Livepool’s Achilles heel this season
With the Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak tandem it seems to have recovered some stability, allowing Fabinho to return to the core, where he offers his best performance.
Liverpool’s other great weakness is found in the mentality of its players. The fact of having linked several consecutive defeats has broken a look that seemed bulletproof.
The mentality of the players is not the same that led them to win the Champions League and Premier
The ‘red’ stars have had doubts at specific moments and have taken drafts when they escaped games that seemed won. Liverpool dominate most of their matches and tend to enjoy numerous opportunities to score, however in several matches, despite a great attitude, the ball has not wanted to enter.
Klopp has worked hard in this regard and the Salah, Mané, Firmino and company arrive in a good mental condition to cause problems for Real Madrid.
Without a doubt, the great strength of Liverpool is the great intensity with which they play. If the ‘reds’ have a good day, they can destroy anyone in addition to suffocating pressure and a swift attack.
Fabinho’s return to midfield allows Thiago to disengage from defensive tasks and focus on conducting the orchestra, filtering balls for the trident Salah, Firmino, Mané.
The presence of Fabinho in the center of the field gives the team more balance and frees Thiago
With the Brazilian as a pivot, the team also gains in ‘mordant’ and ability to regain possession in the opposite field, in addition to stopping possible counter-attacks from the rival with greater effectiveness.
The two wingers, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, are undoubtedly another of Liverpool’s differential points. Their physical power allows them to raise and lower the band countless times, opening the field and placing precise centers at the head of the forwards.
The full-backs and the goalkeeper are also differential elements of the ‘red’ team
Alisson, the goalkeeper, also seems to have left behind some big mistakes that have cost the team defeats. The Brazilian has returned to his best level, something more necessary than ever for a Liverpool more ‘tender’ than usual.
Finally, we focus on its most differential players: Salah, Firmino and Mané. Being well they are devastating, but it is obvious that today they are not going through their best moment.
The trident Salah, Firmino, Mané joins the scoring contribution of Diogo Jota
The Brazilian has not scored since the end of January and the Senegalese has lowered his scoring records this year. Only the Egyptian seems to maintain his scoring rhythm, thus being the great threat to Real Madrid.
To the three, we must add the presence of Diogo Jota. The Portuguese has come back like a thunderbolt from his injury and has run off more than one match coming off the bench. In fact, he has been decisive in Liverpool’s last two games, against Wolverhampton and Arsenal, for whom he scored a double.