REVENGE is a dish best served on a cold Champions League night under the lights of Anfield Road…at least that’s what Jurgen Klopp plans to do when European champions Real Madrid come to town.
Tuesday’s round of 16 first leg is a repeat of last May’s Champions League final.
And Liverpool are hoping for some sort of redemption for the 1-0 defeat they suffered at the Stade de France by knocking out Real Madrid and ensuring a new King of Europe is crowned in three months.
Of course, Klopp and Co hope they are.
Liverpool seem to have regained their footing at the right time.
Klopp’s men turned their February around after recording just one in five Premier League wins ahead of last Monday’s 2-0 win over Everton in the Merseyside derby.
They also put top-four rivals Newcastle to the sword on Saturday, beating the Toon convincingly in their own backyard with a 2-0 win.
Like Liverpool, Real are catching up on their league goals after a poor start to the season.
They have won seven of their last 13 games, lost points in LaLiga and lost to Barcelona in the Super Cup during that time – but also won the Club World Cup.
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They remain eight points behind Barcelona to retain their LaLiga title.
And Liverpool are encouraged by Real’s busy schedule between Champions League round of 16 matches, as Carlo Ancelotti’s men play rivals Atletico and Barca, as well as Real Betis and Espanyol, ahead of the Bernabeu clash on March 15.
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Liverpool are on a two-game winning streak after a terrible start to 2022.
They recorded back-to-back 2-0 wins over rivals Everton and Newcastle.
However, in nine games since the New Year, Liverpool have won just three, with heavy defeats by Wolves, Brighton and Brentford.
Real, meanwhile, are unbeaten in four games in all competitions.
In their last two LaLiga games, they beat Osasuna 2-0 and Elche 4-0.
Ancelotti’s men also won the Club World Cup after victories over Al Ahly and Al-Hilal.
What’s new from the team and are there any injuries to worry about?
Liverpool are sweating over the fitness of Darwin Nunez, who was signed in the summer after the striker left the field with a shoulder injury in the Newcastle win.
The 23-year-old scored one goal in the game to take his overall season to 11 in all competitions.
Luis Diaz is set to miss the Anfield clash having just returned from a long-term injury.
However, the Colombian winger could play in the second leg next March.
Midfield maestro Thiago will also be out with a hip injury while Calvin Ramsey’s season has struggled with injuries.
As for Real, they suffered double injury damage in midfield.
Both Aurelien Tchouameni and Toni Kroos are not included in the squad flying to Merseyside on Monday.
Defender Ferland Mendy was also absent last month with a hamstring injury.
Karim Benzema is also concerned. The Ballon d’Or winner missed the weekend with muscle fatigue but Carlo Ancelotti said “hopefully he’ll be available” for Liverpool.
Who will the star men be?
The obvious star for Liverpool will be Mohamed Salah.
Salah hasn’t had the best season – but neither have his teammates.
Despite this, he has still scored 18 goals in all competitions, seven of them in the Champions League, making him the competition’s top scorer to date.
He also has eight assists to his credit and has recorded one goal and one assist in his last two games for Liverpool.
Cody Gakpo, who was signed in January, seems to have found his feet.
The Netherlands international has scored twice in his last two Prem games.
For Los Blancos, Benzema will be one Liverpool hope to undo.
The 35-year-old has scored 16 times this season – but none of those have come in Europe’s top club competition.
In fact, Benzema has made just four appearances in the Champions League in an injury-plagued season.
Vinicius Jr is another Liverpool will be familiar with. The Brazilian scored the winner last May after Trent Alexander-Arnold substituted at the back post.
The 22-year-old trickster has recorded 16 goals and eight assists this season.
What did the managers say?
Klopp said after Real’s draw last year: “The first thing we can say about this draw is that it’s a proper Champions League.
“It’s a draw that speaks for itself and we should all be happy about it.
“I know we’ve played against Real Madrid in a few finals lately, but it’s not that often that our two clubs have met in a two-legged draw, so we can now look forward to that event.
“Real’s European record is the best there is. We know that. But we also know that ours isn’t all that bad. On top of that, we know we have Anfield and everyone knows what that means.
“It’s a really good draw. A really exciting draw.
“The games themselves are still a few months away, but it doesn’t take much imagination to imagine what the atmosphere at both games will be like.
“Of course there is still a lot of football to play before that so we will focus on each game as it comes, but yes this draw gave us something special to look forward to.”
Ancelotti said after beating Liverpool in the final last May: “Looking back people said PSG were unlucky, Chelsea were unlucky, Manchester City were unlucky, that was practically the only game that people thought we were more or less on the same level.
“I think it helped that Liverpool were easier to decipher than the others because they have a very clear identity and we were able to prepare the way we did.
“We knew what strategy to use, let’s not give them space behind the defense to run into.
“Maybe our football tonight wasn’t exceptionally beautiful from an aesthetic point of view, but playing from behind to stimulate pressing wasn’t a good idea.
“We had a few more long balls and as the pressure in our half of the field eased we were able to control the ball better, especially in the second half.”
There’s something about Champions League nights at Anfield.
It’s also against serial European champions Real, so Liverpool will be ready.
Should he be fit, Darwin Nunez could wreak havoc and unsettle Real’s defence.
How are the chances?
Betfair has Liverpool’s odds of beating Real at Anfield 5/4.
While the bookmakers on 21.10. Real’s chances.
When does Liverpool play Real Madrid and what time?
Liverpool welcome Real to Anfield on Tuesday at 20:00 CET.
Is the game on TV and on which channel?
Yes, Liverpool vs Real will be on TV.
The game will be shown on BT Sport 1 and BT Ultimate in the UK.
How can I stream it live?
The game can be streamed live via the BT Sport website or app.
If you are unable to access the game, SunSport will have a special LIVE match blog.
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