Five reasons why Real Madrid could rip Liverpool apart tonight

The sides come into this Champions League group game in very different form

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The Independent Football

Liverpool host Real Madrid at Anfield this evening in the Champions League.

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It is arguably the stand-out tie of this season's group phase, two teams with a rich European history and proud traditions in an arena famed for its atmosphere on these types of nights.

But as we build-up to kick-off, Liverpool could be forgiven for feeling a sense of trepidation as they welcome the reigning European champions. We take a look why.

Cristiano Ronaldo

The reigning Ballon d'Or holder has been sensational so far this season - some might argue showing the best form ever in an already incredible career. So far this season, he has scored 20 goals for club and country - achieved in just 13 games. The Portuguese striker has notched three hat-tricks. He has also scored in his last 10 games. Beware.

 

And the rest

Ronaldo might be the focal point, but Liverpool can't afford to concentrate all their efforts on the Real Madrid number seven. It's been well documented that Gareth Bale is out injured, but there are so many other threats that remain in the side. Karim Benzema has been finding the back of the net on a regular basis, with four goals to his name. As has the star of the 2014 World Cup, James Rodriguez, also with four. In the midfield department, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Isco all know where the goal is too.

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James Rodriguez celebrates scoring for Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup

Real Madrid in the Champions League

En route to victory in the final last May, Real Madrid lost one game. Although the 2-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund was meaningless as they progressed 3-2 on aggregate having won the first-leg 3-0. Prior to that, their last defeat that counted came in April 2013, when they were beaten 4-1 by Dortmund. They're not too shabby on English soil either - they beat Manchester United 2-1 in March 2013, drew 1-1 with Manchester City in November 2012 and beat Tottenham 1-0 in April 2011. In fact, their last defeat on English soil was back in 2009, although it did come against Liverpool.

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Gareth Bale lifts the Champions League trophy aloft

Liverpool's defence

Liverpool's defence was among their weak points last season. Their total of 50 conceded in the Premier League was the worst amongst the top five teams and only bettered by two other sides from among the top 10. Brendan Rodgers targeted the area for improvement with the signings of Dejan Lovren and Alberto Moreno among those to arrive over the summer. But so far this season, it's made little impact with the club's total of 12 conceded in the league the joint worst from among the teams in the top half of the table. Liverpool's most recent game, the 3-2 win over QPR, highlighted their deficiencies.

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Brendan Rodgers will probably take a point tonight

Can't score either

Not only do Liverpool have problems at the back, but they are struggling for goals too. With Luis Suarez departing and Daniel Sturridge only playing in the first few games of the season, the free-scoring Reds of last season have found it much tougher this time around. In nine games, Mario Balotelli has just one goal. Aside from Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard, who have three goals each this season, no other Liverpool player has scored more than one goal. Liverpool's 13 in the Premier League is the lowest haul from among the top seven sides.

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