Real Madrid and Liverpool face each other for the first time since the 2018 Champions League Final in the Spanish capital.
Real Madrid get a season defining week underway by hosting Liverpool at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday. Los Blancos are hoping to extend their streak of 11 unbeaten matches and claim advantage in the first of two bouts between two of Europe’s most successful clubs.
Zinedine Zidane welcomed back Eden Hazard and Federico Valverde into training session ahead of the clash, but there remain absentees in Dani Carvajal and Sergio Ramos. Hazard has been left out of the squad as a precautionary measure in light of his recent fitness record, but Valverde does make the 21-man roster.
Thibaut Courtois will keep his place in goal having kept his first clean sheet in over a month during last weekend’s outing against Eibar. A three-man backline will see Raphael Varane joined by Nacho Fernandez and Ferland Mendy on his right and left, respectively. The trio will come handy at keeping a very menacing Liverpool attack at bay.
Los Blancos will look to dominate the midfield and to do so, Zidane is likely to deploy four players in the engine room. Casemiro is the indispensable choice and will be joined by Toni Kroos in the middle of midfield. Luka Modric is set to provide the attacking thrust down the right-hand side whereas Marcelo could be brought into the eleven as well on the left.
Marco Asensio has hit a purple patch in the busy part of the season and will start once more. The Spaniard has scored thrice in his last three matches and will play as the right winger. Vinicius Junior only came on as a substitute against Eibar last weekend, which means he is a strong contender to start on the left wing in Hazard’s absence.
Karim Benzema is on his best goal-scoring streak as a Real Madrid player, having found the net nine times in his previous seven appearances. The Frenchman will look to exploit Liverpool’s inexperienced defence and be the striker and Madrid’s go-to source for goals.