Real Madrid host Liverpool this Tuesday in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals (9 p.m., live on RMC Sport 1). Not at best in the league, the English club remains a constant threat in Europe.
A little less than three years after the final won by Real in Kiev (3-1), the team led by Zinédine Zidane faces Liverpool again this Tuesday for the first leg of the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Relaunched in La Liga, the Spanish club has regained the efficiency that had enabled it to win three consecutive European titles.
But beware of the Reds. Only seventh in the Premier League, the English club plays big in C1. Above all, Jürgen Klopp’s proteges have maintained a very high level of performance on the continental scene and intend to prove it this Tuesday in Spain (at 9 p.m. on RMC Sport 1)
14 goals in 8 games for the Reds
At Real Madrid, recent collective performances have restored confidence before this clash between two contenders for the final victory in the Champions League. Problem for the gang at Zizou, Liverpool are also getting better. To be exact, the Reds have never really slowed down this season on the European stage. Admittedly, there was a slight hitch, ultimately inconsequential, against Atalanta Bergamo (0-2) but the English club has its best percentage of victory in C1 over the last three seasons with six wins in eight games (i.e. 75 %). It’s even better than in 2018-2019, the year of his last continental title.
Offensively, despite the slack of Roberto Firmino, the residents of Anfield post good statistics and turn to 1.75 goals on average per game on the European scene with 14 goals in eight games. Better still, the effectiveness of the English attackers improved with 15.9% of shots which hit the mark (against 12.6 two years ago and 10.3% last season). So beware because the Liverpuldians act as master gunners. And in particular a certain, Mohamed Salah.
Salah found legs of fire
Sergio Ramos injured and forfeited for the first round, the reunion with Mohamed Salah will not take place. A blow for the Madrid club which would have needed its emblematic captain to block the Egyptian. Back in top form, the 28-year-old winger has scored 26 goals in all competitions.
In the Champions League only, the Pharaoh of Anfield has planted five times in eight games including one goal in each of Liverpool’s last two games. In the double confrontation against Leizpig in the eighth, Mohamed Salah scored the first goal for his team in the first leg and in the return. The last-minute absence of Raphaël Varane, tested positive for Covid, further weakened the Merengue rearguard and the Nacho-Militao duo is warned: we must not let go of Salah.
Liverpool is live
Jordan Henderson injured since the end of February, Liverpool will travel to Madrid without their usual captain but not without solutions. Failing to build an ultra flamboyant game, the Reds have adapted their tactics. Like their winning streak in 2019, Jürgen Klopp’s team is less attached to possession of the ball (51.5% on average over the first eight games) this season.
In fact, the actions are less structured and the number of crosses has fallen (9.3 / game against 19.9 / game in 2019-2020). In terms of the opportunities created, however, all is well. With three big chances on average per game, the club based on the banks of the Mersey maintains its usual standards.
But the point on which the Madrid defense will have to be most solid, is the transition game. In this area, no one does better than Liverpool in C1 this season. Between long passes and dazzling offensive arrows, the reigning England champion is the team that goes fastest forward in the Champions League.
To go from their camp to the opposing surface, Sadio Mané’s partners only need a maximum of 15 seconds this season. A faculty to accelerate the game which could work miracles this Tuesday on the lawn of Real Madrid.
>> Real-Liverpool, it’s Tuesday from 9 p.m. live on RMC Sport 1