Liverpool host defending champions Real Madrid at Anfield tomorrow night in the UEFA Champions league. This might be the biggest game in the UEFA Champions League this season with 15 trophies between Liverpool and Real Madrid. Real Madrid are at top of Group B while hosts Liverpool sit at the number 3.

Real Madrid are in fine form while hosts Liverpool are struggling after the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona and Daniel Sturridge out injured. Last time the two sides met, Liverpool beat Real Madrid 5-0 on aggregate in the 2008-09 competition.

Probable starting XI:

Liverpool: Mignolet, Manquillo, Skrtel, Lovren, Moreno, Allen, Henderson, Gerrard, Coutinho, Sterling, Balotelli

Real Madrid: Casillas; Carvajal, Varane, Pepe, Marcelo; Modric, Kroos, Isco; James, Benzema, Ronaldo

Daniel Sturridge is out injured for the hosts. Spanish fullbacks Manquillo and Moreno are likely to be restored to the starting XI after sitting out of Liverpool’s dramatic 3-2 win against Queens Park Rangers. Coutinho is expected to start after a brilliant cameo against Queens Park Rangers. Mario Balotelli had a poor game by his standards against Queens Park Rangers, but it’s a bit unlikely Rodgers will drop him.

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti confirmed Gareth Bale and Sergio Ramos are out of the game. Isco might replace Bale in the starting XI. Varane is expected to replace Ramos in the starting XI. Fabio Coentrao will also miss the Anfield trip for the defending champions.

Manager quotes:

Brendan Rodgers: “We understand it is a very important game for us and it’s obviously a great challenge for us. The good thing about this group is we really lift ourselves for the big games.

“We haven’t got to the levels of last season yet, of course, for many reasons – but this is a special game and a special competition for us. I’m very confident the great competitors our team has in it will rise to the standard of playing against an outstanding Real Madrid team.”

Carlo Ancelotti: “I’ve followed Liverpool since 1984 – when I faced them with Roma in the final of the European Cup. Liverpool has always been a great club. You’ll never walk alone’ is an amazing hymn.

“Nobody sings a hymn like Liverpool fans do. Tomorrow before the match, I’ll go out to the field earliy just to hear it. ristiano is always super-motivated. But if the environment at Anfield tomorrow is hostile, he’ll be even more motivated.”

Opta Stats:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 19 goals in 12 games this season, while the entire Liverpool team has scored 14 goals in 10 games.
  • Liverpool have lost just one of their last 18 games in European competition (Champions League and Europa League) at Anfield. Mario Balotelli has scored only one Liverpool goal in 611 minutes.
  • Liverpool’s record against Spanish opposition is rather mixed. They have won four, drawn six and lost four.
  • Real Madrid have found the net at least five times on five separate occasions this season.

Prediction: Liverpool 2-2 Real Madrid

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