This week will feature match-day three of this year’s Champions League group stage, with the main focus on a heavyweight clash between five times winners Liverpool, against current holders and 10 times winners Real Madrid. The contest will be the talk of the town this week with Anfield ready for another one of their famous European nights in front of a sell out crowd. Both teams have experienced brimming success in the competition within its history and are the two favourites to qualify from the group, but that’s always easier said than done.
Liverpool go into the game in third place in the group having lost away to Basel on match-day two. A bitterly disappointing goal was capped off with a defeat via a Marco Streller strike to leave the group wide open. The Reds would’ve been hoping to come out of that contest with at least a draw but will have to qualify the hard way even after their dramatic win against Ludogorets in the opening game of the group. Domestically, Liverpool sit fifth in the league and go into the match on the back of an extraordinary win against QPR, scoring twice in stoppage time to eventually win 3-2 but a victory of any sort will do for Brendan Rodgers’s men on Wednesday,
Madrid’s form seems to be irresistible at moment, having scored 32 goals in their last seven games in domestic and European competition including wins by 8-2, 5-0, 5-0, 5-1 and 5-1 score lines. They sit in pole position in Group B after wins against Basel and Ludogorets in their opening two fixtures and have won their last seven fixtures in all competitions. Levante was the latest team to suffer the wrath of Carlo Ancelotti’s men as Madrid ran riot with a 5-0 victory, Ronaldo netting twice.
Liverpool will be rueing their luck after losing Daniel Sturridge again to injury just as he recovered from his previous knock. Another month without the 25-year-old means that it will again be likely to be Mario Balotelli playing as the lone striker. Sakho, Suso and Flanagan are also set to miss out
Madrid superstar Gareth Bale is a doubt for the clash at Anfield after missing the 5-0 against Levante due to a pulled glute. That will be a huge blow for Ancelotti’s side but will be able to recall Sergio Ramos from injury. Karim Benzema is also set to miss out having injured his toe whilst on international duty.
- Real Madrid have never scored against Liverpool
- Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more goals than the whole Liverpool team this season
- Steven Gerrard scored twice the last time these two teams met in a 4-0 win for Liverpool.
PL Sun 19 Oct QPR 2 – 3 Liverpool W
PL Sat 4 Oct Liverpool 2 – 1 West Brom W
UCL Wed 1 Oct FC Basel 1 – 0 Liverpool L
PL Sat 27 Sep Liverpool 1 – 1 Everton D
League Cup Tue 23 Sep Liverpool 2 – 2 M’boro W
PRD Sat 18 Oct Levante 0 – 5 Real Madrid
PRD Sun 5 Oct Real Madrid 5 – 0 Athletic Club
UCL Wed 1 Oct Ludogorets 1 – 2 Real Madrid
PRD Sat 27 Sep Villarreal 0 – 2 Real Madrid
PRD Tue 23 Sep Real Madrid 5 – 1 Elche
Head to Heads
2008/2009 Liverpool 4 – 0 Real Madrid CL Last 16 2nd Leg
2008/2009 Real Madrid 0 – 1 Liverpool CL Last 16 1st Leg
1980/1981 Liverpool 1 – 0 Real Madrid EC Final
Liverpool: Raheem Sterling
Sterling has been Liverpool’s star player this term and has had to step up to the plate after the departure of Suarez and the injury to Sturridge. He has three goals to his name already this season and has three assists from the 21 chances created in eight games so far. In the Champions League however, he has yet to make an impact in any of the two opening group games, with no chances created but will want to make an impact against the European Champions at Anfield.
Real Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo
The world’s best player Ronaldo has again started the season like a house on fire. The Portuguese forward has actually scored more league goals than Liverpool as a team so far with an incredible 15 goals in just seven games. This has been the level set by the Madrid superstar over the past couple of years and has also two goals in the Champions League so far with one assist too. As a former Man Utd player, he will relish the chance to play against his old rivals once again.
Most people will be punting for a Madrid win having hit a purple patch in form. I however, expect Liverpool to be dogged and resilient and upset one or two Madrid players with their counter attacking style.