Liverpool v Real Madrid: Champions League match preview

A look ahead to Wednesday night’s Champions League fixture at Anfield

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The Independent Online

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers welcomes Real Madrid to Anfield knowing that a similar performance to that in Sunday’s win over QPR will not bring the same result on Wednesday.

The Reds required a 95th minute own goal to beat bottom-placed Rangers. In Madrid they face a team looking for an eighth successive win in all competitions.

The main worry for Rodgers will be whether his defence, which has kept just one clean sheet all season, can thwart a Madrid side that has scored ten goals in their last two games. Forward Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 19 goals this season, while Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has netted just once.

The pressure on Balotelli to start finding the net increased upon the news of Daniel Sturridge’s calf injury, which will sideline him for two to four weeks.

Liverpool currently sit three points behind Madrid in Group B after they lost 1-0 in Basel, while victories over Ludogorets and Basel have shot Madrid to the top of the group as they look to become the first side to retain the Champions League. They will, however, be without Gareth Bale due to a muscle injury.

KICK-OFF: Wednesday, 7.45pm

PAST THREE MEETINGS…

Liverpool 4 (Gerrard 2, Torres, Dossena) Real Madrid 0, Champions League, March 2009

Real Madrid 0 Liverpool 1 (Benayoun), Champions League, February 2009

Liverpool 1 (Kennedy) Real Madrid 0, European Cup final, May 1981

 

STATS…

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 19 goals in 12 games this season, while the entire Liverpool team has scored 14 goals in 10 games.

Liverpool have lost just one of their last 18 games in European competition (Champions League and Europa League) at Anfield.

Mario Balotelli has scored only one Liverpool goal in 611 minutes.

Liverpool’s record against Spanish opposition is rather mixed. They have won four, drawn six and lost four.

Real Madrid have found the net at least five times on five separate occasions this season.

ODDS…

Liverpool to win: 4.4

Real Madrid to win: 4

Draw: 1.88

CLASSIC MOMENT/MATCH

Liverpool 4-0 Real Madrid, 2009

Liverpool fans won’t have forgotten the last time these giants of European football met. Fernando Torres got things rolling in the 16 minute on his return from injury, before a Steven Gerrard brace and Andrea Dossena strike ensured an emphatic win that saw Liverpool through to the quarter-final stage. Rodgers will hope Gerrard can inspire a similar victory on Wednesday.

TV: Live on Sky Sports 5 at 7.45pm

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