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
QPR 2 Liverpool 3 player ratings
QPR 2 Liverpool 3 player ratings
1/22 QPR: Alex McCarthy
Did a solid job deputising for Rob Green – little he could do about any of Liverpool’s goals. 6/10
2/22 Nedum Onuoha
Hardly tested during the first half before going off with an injury. 6
3/22 Richard Dunne
At fault for the Reds’ opener – didn’t adjust his feet quickly enough and turned Sterling’s effort into his own goal. 5
4/22 Steven Caulker
Scored the match-winning goal… at the wrong end. Unfortunate, having worked hard to keep his side in touch as Liverpool threatened to run away with the game having gone 1-0 up. 5
5/22 Yun Suk-Young
Solid performance apart from losing concentration for Liverpool’s opener – defended capably and provided width down the left as QPR dominated the first half – should keep his starting place. 6
6/22 Mauricio Isla
A real threat down the right in the first half, forced to move backwards by Onuoha’s withdrawal at half-time. 6
7/22 Karl Henry
Bullish performance in the centre of midfield. Bullied his more illustrious opponents at times. 7
Influential for 60 minutes before going off injured – his departure coincided with Liverpool taking control of the game. 7
9/22 Leroy Fer
Should have given his side the lead in the first half as he twice hit the bar with great chances – aside from that played well. 6
10/22 Bobby Zamora
The captain’s physicality was a threat to the Liverpool defence right from the opening moment – laid on chances for Austin and Fer that should have been taken. 8
11/22 Charlie Austin
A threat to the Liverpool defence throughout, could have got himself on the score sheet, but did well to set up Vargas’ first. 7
12/22 Liverpool: Simon Mignolet
Another shaky performance – made some good saves but looked extremely vulnerable at times. 5/10
13/22 Glen Johnson
Looked a little rusty on his return to the starting XI from injury – helped prevent a goal with some last ditch defending in the first half and crossed for Dunne’s own goal. 6
14/22 Martin Skrtel
The enforcer of Liverpool’s back four was completely bullied by Zamora and can count himself fortunate (or unfortunate) if he keeps his starting place against Real Madrid on Wednesday. 5
15/22 Dejan Lovren
Unable to handle the inspired Zamora until he went off – unconvincing. 5
16/22 Jose Enrique
Caused a lot of trouble by Isla in the first half – unable to impact the game going forward. 5
17/22 Jordan Henderson
One of few Liverpool players who could be reasonably satisfied with his performance. His mixture of effort and quality helped to keep the Reds in the game as they struggled in the first half. 7
18/22 Emre Can
Making his first Premier League start, the German U21 international failed to stamp his authority on the game and was replaced by Joe Allen soon after the hour mark. 5
19/22 Raheem Sterling
It wasn’t his finest game, but his decisive impact speaks for itself. Played a part in all of Liverpool’s goals and can now looking forward to taking on Real Madrid on Wednesday. 7
20/22 Steven Gerrard
Pushed into a more advanced role in the first half, he was anonymous until almost giving his side the lead just before the break – a bit better when dropping deeper in the second half. 5
21/22 Adam Lallana
Gradually working his way back to full fitness, the England man struggled to get involved during the first half but his shot did lead to Balotelli’s big chance. Went off soon after the hour mark. 5
22/22 Mario Balotelli
He didn’t deserve to be on the winning side. Spurned two great opportunities and generally didn’t look after possession very well. 4
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.
Liverpool to win: 4.4
Real Madrid to win: 4
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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