Liverpool host Real Madrid at Anfield in the Champions League Round of 16 first leg. The match is scheduled for a Tuesday 20:00 GMT kick-off with a capacity crowd boosted by millions of football fans worldwide following the play on television and through the best live streaming apps. But which team will come away with a first-leg lead? Both teams continue to struggle in their respective domestic competitions, piling pressure on the coaches and players to secure success in Europe.
Liverpool v Real Madrid is just one of the eye-catching matches included in this week’s schedule. Other points of note include RB Leipzig v Man City in the Champions League on Wednesday, Man Utd v Barcelona in Thursday’s Europa League before Fulham plays Wolves in the Premier League on Friday evening. We’re excited about what lies ahead, and our football writers preview the best of this week’s games. But on this page, it’s all about the Reds and Blancos, and we make no apologies, as it will be a stunning 90 minutes.
This will be the first time the teams have met since last season’s Champions League final. The Spaniards won that game with a 1-0 scoreline thanks to a goal from Vinicius Junior at the hour mark. That final falls into line with the recent trends connected to this fixture, and there has been no more than one goal between the pair in each of the last two and three of five. Can we expect another hard-fought and competitive contest? As our team arms readers with the information, stats, and form needed to solve this puzzle, let’s find out.
Reds were second best
Liverpool enter this Round of 16 match, having finished second in their Champions League Group A. Jurgen Klopp’s side was the hot favourites to win the pool, which included Napoli, Ajax, and Rangers but had to play second fiddle to a dominant Italian side. Napoli was expected to battle with Ajax and the Gers for second place, but they seized control early, beating Liverpool on matchday one. Despite losing their first game, Liverpool quickly eased into the challenge and finished with five wins and a defeat, scoring a revenge win over the team from Naples on the last day.
The home team enters this match on the back of a five-game winning streak in the Champions League, but their league form has been dreadful, certainly by their high standards. You’ll find Liverpool well off the pace in the EPL title race, and they are closer to the relegation zone than the title. Things can change quickly in English football, but there’s no denying Liverpool is beginning to feel the pressure. The players stumble from one disappointing performance and result to the next while the fans are beginning to voice their concerns. Much better is expected of the Reds, starting here.
The home team has won just two of their last six Premier League games and sits eighth in the table at the time of writing. That poor form consists of three defeats and a draw. There have been one or two false dawns already this season, but Liverpool has won each of its last two starts in the Premier League, both with a 2-0 scoreline. They won the Merseyside Derby, beating Everton by two goals without response, and handed out the same punishment to Newcastle United at St James Park on Saturday evening. Confidence is creeping back into the squad, and some may feel this home tie against Madrid comes at the best time.
Blancos win Group F
Real Madrid performed better in the Champions League group stage, winning pool F, but they were pushed hard by RB Leipzig and came close to losing the lead at the end. The visitors went through with their group form showing four wins, one draw, and a defeat, but they only won one of their last three starts. A tally of 13 points was one better than the Bulls from Germany, with 15 goals scored and six conceded. They did enough to get through, but know they must improve.
Madrid doesn’t have the same problems as their hosts domestically, but Madrid is struggling, and it’s looking increasingly unlikely that they will successfully defend the title won last season. Madrid trail a rejuvenated Barcelona, who have been eliminated from the Champions League but are going great guns in La Liga. Barca is clear of Madrid as the champions struggle for consistency. They have won three of their last five in Spain, losing one and drawing the spare. But there’s still plenty of football to be played.
Real followers do have a glimmer of hope ahead of their trip to England after winning each of their last two league games. They beat Elche 4-0 before winning 2-0 away to Osasuna. Since returning from the Club World Cup, two wins and a pair of clean sheets set Madrid back on track, and the visitors know a win on Merseyside would help build momentum. Is this the game Real Madrid returns to top form and shows they remain a danger at this level?
Liverpool v Real Madrid prediction
Liverpool enjoys the home advantage for this match and has won each of their last two games. They are unlikely to finish in the top four of the Premier League this season from their current standing in midtable. That means winning the Champions League is their best chance of qualifying for the tournament next season. Real Madrid is trying to keep pressure on Barca in La Liga, but they are current champions of this cup and will be desperate to defend their honour. A draw would be a decent result for Madrid.
Champions League odds
The pre-match betting odds available to 22bet members offer Liverpool at 2.296 to win this game, with Real Madrid trading at 2.925 and the draw 3.62.
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