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Real Madrid host Liverpool in one of the stand out fixtures from Tuesday’s line up of UEFA Champions League games. Madrid have made an incredible start to the season and have won their last 11 games in a row, which included a rather comfortable 3-0 over the Merseyside team a few weeks back.
Madrid won their weekend game 4-0 with James Rodriguez scoring a sublime goal while Liverpool continued their mixed start to the season, losing 1-0 away at Newcastle. Real are on top of group B having won all 3 games while Liverpool are on 3 points tied with the other teams in the group Ludogorets and Basel.
Madrid winning the game would ensure their qualification into the knockout stage with 2 games remaining while Liverpool would have to work really hard to qualify from the group if they don’t get anything from the game.
Real Madrid: Madrid have been in tremendous form since the start of the season and that showed when they humbled Barcelona 3-1 at the Santiago Bernebeu. Cristiano Ronaldo has been in exceptional form and will be looking to break the Champions League goal scoring record as he is only 2 behind another Madrid legend, Raul. Gareth Bale is back in the team and should play a part against Liverpool. Although Madrid are without Carvajal, Illarramendi, Coentrao and Khedira, they are still a frightening prospect for any team.
Liverpool: So much promise but so little to show. Liverpool invested a lot into making the squad strong as Rodgers has stated, he needs a team with cover. The same problems still lie with Liverpool, they cannot defend and without Suarez and Sturridge, look toothless in attack. Mario Balotelli hit the headlines by signing for the Reds but his performances have not been great. The entire Liverpool team look flat and maybe the Champions league is a step too far for a young squad. Daniel Sturridge is still a major doubt for the club although he has travelled with the squad and Sakho is injured as well.
Players to watch out for –
Real Madrid –
Cristiano Ronaldo: Lionel Messi is now in Cristiano’s shadow, Ronaldo has been playing at God Level for the past 2 seasons, excluding his appearances for Portugal. Ronaldo has now scored a staggering 22 goals in just 15 games for the Madrid club this season and he would be looking forward to getting a few more against a shaky Liverpool defense.
James Rodriguez: The Colombian might have been a luxury buy for the Madrid club but he has slowly and steadily bedded himself well in the team. Gareth Bale is another player to look out for but he may not start, this Madrid team has way too many attacking players to control.
Mario Balotelli: The Italian forward will be in the limelight yet again, after another disappointing performance in the league, he will be looking to provide some justification for starting so many games. Rodgers doesn’t seem to trust Rickie Lambert or Fabio Borini as an attacking point for the team and Balotelli will get a chance to prove he can lead the Liverpool attack.
Raheem Sterling: The only other attacking spearhead of the team. It never is a good sign when you expect a 19 year old to carry a team forward but that is the pressure Sterling has to deal with. His performances haven’t been that brilliant this season but this could be the game that changes it all.
Liverpool will have to play a counter attacking game, they may not have the pace that they did last season but that is the only way to go ahead. Rodgers may still go with his plan A but that would be suicidal like the last time these two teams met.
Real Madrid should have enough firepower to win against a stuttering Liverpool team. Madrid should win by 3 goals at least, anything else and Liverpool will feel like they got off easy.
Picture courtesy: Fox news