Real to edge out Liverpool in another CL thriller
Liverpool got their top four hopes back on track with a 2-0 win over Premier League rivals and the 10 men of Newcastle United at St. James' Park at the weekend, but now face an even harder challenge in the form of Real Madrid in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last 16 clash at Anfield on Tuesday night. The hosts have not been themselves almost all season, with a real disconnect in particular between the defence and midfield units. The visitors are about the least ideal opposition in terms of being able to exploit any deficiencies. Read our preview here:
The triumph over the Toon Army wasn't without cost, however. Darwin Núñez came off with a shoulder injury, making him a major doubt for the two legs as a whole. With Luis Díaz still a long-term absentee, Jürgen Klopp could turn to the experience of the tried and true Roberto Firmino as the nominal striker in the attacking three. The 31 year old scored on his last start (against Southampton), and his knack of both finding and creating space in the 18 yard box for others will be a big concern for the away side.
Ferland Mendy is Carlo Ancleotti's only definite unavailable member from his first team squad; David Alaba will more than likely get the nod at left-back, which also means a probable start for Antonio Rüdiger in the middle. Los Blancos also got a 2-0 victory in their domestic league at Osasuna, though it pretty much passed without incident. Elsewhere, Vinícius Júnior, who is in excellent form recently, will relish getting beyond Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right of the hosts' rearguard. Karim Benzema could also start.
bet365 have enhanced odds of 3.28 for Real Madrid to take back a win to the Santiago Bernabéu.