Real Madrid vs Liverpool LIVE: Jurgen Klopp goes all-out attack as Reds look to turn around a huge 5-2 deficit in Champions League last-16… with Nunez, Salah, Gakpo and Jota all starting
Follow Sportsmail’s live blog for the Champions League round of 16 second-leg clash between Real Madrid and Liverpool, as well as updates from Napoli vs Eintracht Frankfurt.
The Santiago Bernabeu is filling up nicely and both sets of players are finishing their warm-ups before heading back to the dressing rooms.
Tonight’s mouthwatering Champions League encounter is already creating lots of debate and BT Sport pundits Rio Ferdinand, Peter Crouch, and former Liverpool and Real Madrid striker Michael Owen have all backed tonight’s hosts to qualify for the next round.
Ferdinand: ‘I would’ve been more optimistic if it was at Anfield. The fact it’s at Madrid at iconic stadium against a team that operates in different level in CL – can’t see anything but Madrid progressing. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Liverpool winning this game though but not the tie.
Owen: ‘They’ve done it before, they can score. I think Real will go through but Liverpool can score three goals and beat teams like this – they’ve done it before but don’t think they’re in the form but in the main they’re not in that type of form they were against Barca a couple of years ago – very improbable especially not being at Anfield but they have done this against big teams before.
Crouch: ‘Your heart says yes you’re head says no. If it was at Anfield they’ve proven it before but the fact it’s in Madrid and they have to score 4 at Bernabéu if anyone can Liverpool can but it’s some task
It’s a very interesting line-up from Liverpool who know that they need to score quickly to put Real Madrid under pressure.
It’s a four-pronged attack with Diogo Jota, Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, and Cody Gakpo all starting for Jurgen Klopp’s side. The main worry for Reds fans however is that 37-year-old James Milner is one of the players responsible for protecting Liverpool’s defence.
This is either going to be a masterstroke piece of squad selection from Klopp or an absolute disaster that could see Madrid run riot.
And here’s is how the hosts shape-up at the Santiago Bernabeu, with Carlo Ancelotti appearing to go for a two-man strikeforce of Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr.
David Alaba and Rodrygo are the only absentees from the previous team that blew away Liverpool last time out.
📋✅ Our starting XI 🆚 @LFC! #UCL pic.twitter.com/O5kJ5F7aKw
Here’s how Liverpool line up for tonight’s clash of the titans in Spain with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp making three changes from the team that slumped to a first-leg defeat.
Jordan Henderson and Stefan Bajcetic miss the match through illness and injury, with Joe Gomez dropping to the bench in place of Ibrahima Konate. Veteran James Milner starts.
The Reds to take on Real Madrid tonight 👊#RMALIV
Liverpool supporters will be delighted to know that although overturning their first-leg deficit against Real Madrid is highly unlikely, history shows that a comeback is possible. Madrid fans might want to look away now as we go over some of the Champions Leagues’ greatest comebacks.
2018/19: PSG (3) v (1) Man United: Liverpool’s arch rivals could offer them some much-needed inspiration for tonight with United previously coming from behind to stun the mega-money Parisians on their own turf.
2016/17: Barcelona (6) v (1) PSG: The French side haven’t had much luck in the Champions League and were embarrassed in the tournament as Barcelona stunned world football to claw back a previous four-goal deficit in one of the best games ever witnessed.
2017/18: Roma (3) v (1) Barcelona: This time it was the Spanish side who found themselves on the receiving end of a turnaround defeat as Roma stunned Lionel Messi & Co to produce a gladitorial performance in Europe’s biggest competition.
Chelsea supporters will be familiar with Antonio Rudiger and will probably be hoping that they hadn’t let the German centre-back leave Stamford Bridge at the end of last season.
Anyway, Rudiger has been loving life at Madrid this season and had stressed the importance of denying Liverpool a fast start as the Reds attempt to claw back the three-goal deficit separating the two teams on aggregate.
Speaking ahead of the match, Rudiger explained: ‘We have to make a better start to this game than we did at Anfield. We have to find the right balance between defending and attacking. It’s very important that we’re not caught napping in the first 15 minutes.
‘We have to strike the right balance. It’s very important for us to not just go out and defend. We have to give our fans something to be happy about and we have to build confidence too’.
While the rest of us in England endure miserable bouts of snowfall and rain, thousands of lucky Liverpool supporters have made the trip to the Spanish capital and are spending some time soaking up the rays with a beer or two in hand.
There have been no reports of bad behaviour and it appears that both sets of fans are preparing to make a cauldron of noise inside the Santiago Bernabeu.
Although they face differenct Spanish opposition tonight, Liverpool will look to use their comeback miracle win over Barcelona in 2019.
It was during that years semi-final stage that Liverpool went into their second-leg tie trailing 3-0 on aggregate and needing a miracle against a team that featured a formidable strike partnership of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
Liverpool rallied under the lights of Anfield to produce a magical 4-0 win that went down in Champions League history as one of the greatest comebacks of all-time. Tonight against Madrid they will be hoping for a similar result and will need to win by at least four goals to qualify for the next round.
Just a small sidenote, Liverpool ended up winning the competition that year.
Action gets underway at the Santiago Bernabeu at 8pm tonight with Real Madrid and Liverpool preparing for what looks set to be an epic encounter.
Liverpool will be without their captain for tonight with Jordan Henderson not included on their flight to Spain as he is resting up at home through illness.
Stefan Bajcetic meanwhile will also be unavailable, with Jurgen Klopp revealing the youngster is dealing with a ‘stress response around the abductor’.
Meanwhile, Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti made a surprising revelation that Eduardo Camavinga will be starting tonight in central midfield after a string of impressive performances.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Ancelotti said: ‘He’s hugely important for us, he’s doing a great job, some brilliant performances. He makes mistakes but the way he’s been playing really makes up for any errors. Against Espanyol he obviously made the error but he was playing out of position.
‘Then he delivers such an amazing performance that everyone forgets his mistakes. It’s normal for a young lad like him with extraordinary quality. He’s untouchable today and will continue to be so’.
Before we get underway tonight let’s look back to the first-leg tie at Anfield that saw Real Madrid inflict a devastating 5-2 defeat on tonight’s visitors.
Liverpool looked to put a season of Premier League difficulties behind them when Madrid arrived on Merseyside and initially looked to have got off to a blistering start against the competition’s reigning holders.
Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah put the Reds infront before Madrid rallied to tear Liverpool apart. Vinicius Jr and Karim Benzema bagged two goals that night and will be hoping for more this evening.
Good evening and welcome to the Spanish capital for tonight’s epic Champions League last-16 tie between Real Madrid and Liverpool.
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