Liverpool vs Real Madrid: The Reds beat Los Blancos 4-0 at Anfield in 2009 - but have the two teams improved or regressed since then?

Liverpool seem to have taken a step back and Real a leap forward...

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The Independent Online

Liverpool face Real Madrid at Anfield tonight with memories of the famous 4-0 victory in 2009 at the forefront of their minds.

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But as all football fans will know, teams and squads change immeasurably in five years and just three of the Liverpool players who were in Rafael Benitez’s squad for that game, Steven Gerrard, Martin Skrtel and Lucas Leiva, are still at the club.

Alvaro Arbeloa played for Liverpool in the win but is likely to start at right-back for Los Blancos at Anfield. Real Madrid have gone through a similar transformation – with just four players still at the club from that day – but have the changes been worth it?

We look at the line-up from that game and the possible line-up tonight and see if the two clubs have improved or regressed (preferred player in italics).

It would appear that Liverpool have taken a step backwards and Real a big step forwards...

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Liverpool players celebrate during the 4-0 win at Anfield in 2009

LIVERPOOL (8-3)

Pepe Reina vs Simon Mignolet

Reina experienced a significant dip in form during his later years at Anfield but the jury is still out on his replacement. Reina

Alvaro Arbeloa vs Glen Johnson

Johnson may be better at getting forward than the Spaniard but his defensive problems are well known; Arbeloa has been a hugely dependable right-back for club and country. Arbeloa

Martin Skrtel vs Martin Skrtel

The Slovakian has improved to become Liverpool’s best defender and one of the first name on Brendan Rodgers’ team-sheet. Skrtel 2014

Jamie Carragher vs Dejan Lovren

The £20m Lovren has had an extremely tricky start to life at Anfield; Liverpool would give anything to have a defender of Carragher’s quality and commitment in the side. Carragher

Fabio Aurelio vs Alberto Moreno

Aurelio possessed great quality, especially from set-pieces, but was often injured, while Moreno has made a promising start in Red. Moreno

Xabi Alonso vs Jordan Henderson

As good as Henderson has become over the last 18 months he is at least a level below the Spanish great. Alonso

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Xabi Alonso is a better player than Jordan Henderson, despite his improvement

Javier Mascherano vs Joe Allen

Mascherano was instrumental in getting Argentina to the World Cup and continues to be a key man for a dominant Barcelona team, whether in defence or midfield; Joe Allen doesn’t come close. Mascherano

Steven Gerrard vs Steven Gerrard

Father time catches up with all but Gerrard, at 34, is still one of Liverpool’s most inspirational players. Gerrard 2009

Ryan Babel vs Raheem Sterling

A clear victory for the 2014 team, Babel had talent but often found himself distracted – Raheem Sterling is one of the most talented teenagers in the world. Sterling

Dirk Kuyt vs Philippe Coutinho

Hard to pick a winner between these two as they are so stylistically different; like comparing a shire horse to a gazelle. But Kuyt always performed in the big games. Kuyt

Fernando Torres vs Mario Balotelli

Forget what has happened in between, in 2009 Fernando Torres was probably the world’s best No 9. Balotelli still has plenty to prove in Red. Torres

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In 2009 Fernando Torres was one of the world's top strikers

REAL MADRID (3-8)

Iker Casillas vs Iker Casillas

In 2009 Casillas was one of the world’s best, his decline has been so dramatic he is being hounded out of the club by some parts of the fanbase. Casillas 2009

Sergio Ramos vs Alvaro Arbeloa

Ramos has since been converted into an excellent, if red-card prone centre-back. Ramos

Fabio Cannavaro vs Raphael Varane

By 2009, a 36-year-old Cannavaro’s great career was on the decline, 21-year-old Varane is a man of immense talent who should become one of the world’s best. Varane

Pepe vs Pepe

Despite being into his 30s, Pepe remains unable to control his emotions and is a liability. Pepe 2014

Gabriel Heinze vs Marcelo

The former Manchester United man is a much better defender than Marcelo, but the Brazilian is a huge threat going forward. Marcelo

Lassana Diarra vs Toni Kroos

Kroos is worlds apart from Diarra in terms of talent, as a clear an upgrade as you could hope for. Kroos

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Kroos is a huge upgrade over Lassana Diarra

Fernando Gago vs Luka Modric

See above. Modric

Arjen Robben vs Isco

Robben struggled in Spain but his form for Bayern Munich and the Netherlands has proved that Los Blancos gave up on him too easily. Robben

Wesley Sneijder vs James Rodriguez

Another Dutchman who struggled in white, Sneijder became one of the world’s greats at Inter but is now languishing in Turkey. Rodriguez is a huge talent off to a good start in Spain. Rodriguez

Raul vs Cristiano Ronaldo

The 2009 Raul was a man almost at the end of his 16-year stay with the club; both are all-time greats but at these stages in their careers Ronaldo is better. Ronaldo

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Ronaldo is arguably the world's best player

Gonzalo Higuain vs Karim Benzema

Another question of style, Higuain is the better goalscorer but Benzema’s pace and movement opens up a lot of space for Real’s other talents. Benzema

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LIVERPOOL 2009: Reina, Arbeloa, Skrtel, Carragher, Aurelio, Alonso (Lucas 60), Mascherano, Kuyt, Gerrard (Spearing 74), Babel, Torres (Dossena 83).

REAL MADRID 2009: Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Cannavaro (Van der Vaart 64), Pepe, Heinze, Robben (Marcelo 46), Lassana Diarra, Gago (Guti 77), Sneijder, Raul, Higuain.

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LIVERPOOL 2014 (likely): Mignolet, Johnson, Skrtel, Lovren, Moreno, Henderson, Gerrard, Allen, Sterling, Balotelli, Coutinho

REAL MADRID 2014 (likely): Casillas, Arbeloa, Pepe, Varane, Marcelo, Kroos, Modric, Isco, Ronaldo, Rodriguez, Benzema

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