Real Madrid welcome Liverpool to Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium in the opening leg of their blockbuster Quarter-Final tie of 2020-21 UEFA Champions League.
This clash marks the first meeting between Real Madrid and Liverpool since the La Liga club ran out 3-1 winners in a controversial 2018 Final of this competition.
Eden Hazard could return for Real Madrid after resuming training on Friday, having recovered from an unspecified injury.
Dani Carvajal (muscle) and Federico Valverde (leg) are doubts but Sergio Ramos (calf) is the only definite absentee for the reigning La Liga champions.
Liverpool have no fresh injury concerns to report after Saturday’s 3-0 away win at Arsenal.
Caoimhin Kelleher (abdominal), Jordan Henderson (adductor), Joel Matip (ankle), Joe Gomez, Virgil Van Dijk (both knee) and Divock Origi (muscle) are ruled out.
- Real Madrid have won three of five previous Champions League meetings against Liverpool (W3, L2), with those three wins coming in their last three clashes.
- Liverpool won just one of two previous proper ‘away’ trip to Real Madrid (W1, L1), with the Reds winning 1-0 in one other away clash on neutral soil in 1981 European Cup Final.
- This is Real Madrid’s first leg of a Quarter Final tie to be held at home since April 2014, when they beat Borussia Dortmund 3-0 en route to 2013-14 title.
- Mohamed Salah has scored once in each of Liverpool’s last three away games in the Champions League.
- Four of Karim Benzema’s five Champions League goals this season have come at home.
Real Madrid come into this game unbeaten since late January but their defensive quality has dipped in the last month, which should offer Liverpool hope but Real’s wing-back system will be of interest given the Reds’ strengths in that area with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson’s abilities.
Liverpool come into this match off the back of a morale-boosting win at Arsenal on Saturday, in which they dominated from the off despite being made to work for their three goals but I expect them to face a tougher test of their quality here given Benzema’s form for Real.
On that note, this should be a cracking contest but an absolute must-win for Liverpool if want to return to Anfield with the advantage, given their poor home form at Anfield since late December but I can see a score draw coming here which would also suit the Reds but less so than a win.
Prediction: Real Madrid 1-1 Liverpool
Result: Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool