AnalysisReal Madrid vs Liverpool
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Needing to conjure up a slice of Bernabeu magic to prolong their European journey, Liverpool make the journey to the Spanish capital to face Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Carlo Ancellotti’s continental veterans fought back from 2-0 down to record a phenomenal 5-2 win in the first leg at Anfield three weeks ago, and only the most calamitous of calamitous collapses would see the tickets to the quarter-finals change hands.

Team News

Real Madrid

  • Missing out against Espanyol as a precaution due to an ankle concern, Ballon d’Or winner Benzema has since re-joined his teammates for full training and is expected to lead the line at Anfield, and Ancelotti should also count on the return of left-back Ferland Mendy.
  • The Frenchman has been out with a thigh issue since the end of January, though, so Ancelotti may be averse to risking him from the first whistle, while David Alaba came off with a thigh issue of his own in the first leg and is expected to sit this one out.
  • After utilising Eduardo Camavinga at left-back versus Espanyol, Ancelotti ought to bring Antonio Rudiger or Mendy – depending on his fitness levels – in for the second leg, with the former’s presence allowing Nacho Fernandez to shift to a wide role.


  • Regarding Liverpool, Klopp still has the absences of Luis Diaz, Thiago Alcantara,Calvin Ramsay and Joe Gomez to factor in for the trip to the Bernabeu – the former could return to team training this week but will not be considered for selection until after the international break.
  • Arthur made a rare appearance on the bench at the Vitality following thigh surgery, but a knock has also rendered the luckless Naby Keita doubtful for this match, and any likely midfield alterations would see Jordan Henderson act as the first port of call anyway.
  • Diogo Jota was a bright spark against Bournemouth when replacing Harvery Elliot at half time, and with a gung-ho approach needed to save their European bacon, Klopp may very well consider bringing the Portuguese into an ambitious 4-2-3-1 setup.

Possible Lineup

Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Nacho; Modric, Tchouameni, Kroos; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Jr

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson; Salah, Jota, Nunez; Gakpo

Prediction Analysis

Perhaps treading with caution given what happened to their Catalonian counterparts four years ago, Real Madrid can rest easy in the knowledge that Klopp’s current Liverpool crop do not strike the same fear into the hearts of opposing teams, especially with their measly away record in 2023.

Ancelotti’s side cannot expect to keep a vengeful Reds team at bay, especially given their own patchy spell, but Los Blancos in the Champions League is normally always a foregone conclusion, and the return of Benzema should only make their second-leg win all the more emphatic en route to a place in the last eight.

Our prediction is Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool (Real Madrid win 8-3 on aggregrate)