REVENGE is a dish best served on a cold Champions League night under the lights at Anfield… at least that’s what Jurgen Klopp is plotting as European champions Real Madrid come to town.
Tuesday’s Last-16 first leg tie is a repeat of last May’s Champions League final.
And Liverpool will be hoping for some sort of redemption for the 1-0 loss they suffered inside the Stade de France by knocking out Real Madrid and ensuring a new King of Europe is crowned in three months time.
Klopp and Co will, of course, be hoping it turns out to be them.
Liverpool have seemingly found their feet again at the right time.
Klopp’s men turned their February around after recording just one Premier League win in five prior to last Monday’s 2-0 Merseyside derby win over Everton.
They also put top-four rivals Newcastle to the sword on Saturday, beating the Toon convincingly in their own back yard with a 2-0 win.
Like Liverpool, Real are playing catch-up on their league objectives after a poor start to the campaign.
They’ve won seven of their last 13 games, dropping points in LaLiga and losing to Barcelona in the Super Cup in that time – but also lifting the Club World Cup.
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They remain behind Barcelona by eight points in their bid to retain their LaLiga title.
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And Liverpool will be encouraged by Real’s busy schedule in between their Champions League round of 16 clashes, with Carlo Ancelotti’s men playing rivals Atletico and Barca, as well as Real Betis and Espanyol before March 15’s Bernabeu dust-up.
What is their form like?
Liverpool are on a two-game win streak after enduring a horrible start to 2022.
They recorded back-to-back 2-0 wins over rivals Everton and Newcastle.
However, in the nine games played since New Year, Liverpool have won just three with heavy defeats coming against Wolves, Brighton and Brentford.
Real, meanwhile, are on a four-game unbeaten run across all competitions.
They beat Osasuna 2-0 and Elche 4-0 in their last two LaLiga outings.
Ancelotti’s men also lifted the Club World Cup after wins over Al Ahly and Al-Hilal.
What is the team news and any injuries to worry about?
Liverpool are sweating over the fitness of summer signing Darwin Nunez after the striker went off with a shoulder injury in the win over Newcastle.
The 23-year-old scored in the game, taking his season total to 11 across all competitions.
Luis Diaz is expected to miss the Anfield clash having just returned from a long-term injury.
The Colombian winger could, however, play in the return leg next March.
Midfield maestro Thiago is also due to miss out with a hip injury, while Calvin Ramsey’s season struggles with injury continue.
As for Real, they’ve been dealt a double injury blow in midfield.
Both Aurelien Tchouameni and Toni Kroos are not part of the squad that will fly out to Merseyside on Monday.
Defender Ferland Mendy is also out having missed the last month with a thigh issue.
There is also a slight concern over Karim Benzema. The Ballon d’Or holder missed out at the weekend with muscle fatigue, however Carlo Ancelotti has said “hopefully he will” be available for Liverpool.
Who will be the star men?
The obvious star man for Liverpool will be Mohamed Salah.
Salah hasn’t had the best of seasons – but neither have his team-mates.
Despite this, he’s still managed 18 goals across all competitions with seven of those coming in the Champions League, making him the competition’s top scorer so far.
He also has eight assists to his name and picked up a goal and an assist in his last two outings for Liverpool.
January signing Cody Gakpo has seemingly found his feet.
The Dutch international has two goals in his last two Prem appearances.
For Los Blancos, Benzema will be one Liverpool will be hoping to nullify.
The 35-year-old has struck 16 times this term – but none of them have come in Europe’s top club competition.
In fact, Benzema has just four appearances in the Champions League during what has been an injury plagued season.
Vinicius Jr is another Liverpool will be well aware of, with the Brazilian scoring the winner in last May’s final after Trent Alexander-Arnold switched off at the back post.
The trickster, 22, has 16 goals and eight assists this season.
What have the managers said?
Klopp said after drawing Real last year: “The first thing that we can say about this draw is it is proper Champions League.
“This is a tie that speaks for itself and one that we should all be excited about.
“I know we have played Real Madrid in a couple of recent finals but it is not so often that our two clubs have met in a two-legged tie so now we can look forward to this happening.
“Real’s European record is the best around. We know this. But we also know that ours is not too bad. On top of this, we know that we have Anfield and everyone knows what this means.
“It is a really good draw. A really exciting draw.
“The games themselves are still a few months away but it does not take a great deal of imagination to think what the atmosphere will be like at both games.
“There is a lot of football to be played before this, of course, so we will focus on each game as it comes but yes, this draw has given us something special to look forward to.”
Ancelotti has said after beating Liverpool in last May’s final: “Looking back, people said oh PSG were unlucky, Chelsea were unlucky, Manchester City were unlucky, this was practically the only game where people thought we were more or less on the same level.
“I think it helped that Liverpool were easier to decipher than the others because they have a very clear identity and we could prepare the way that we did.
“We knew what strategy to take, don’t give them space behind the defence to run into.
“Perhaps our football wasn’t extraordinarily beautiful tonight on an aesthetic level, but playing out from the back to incentivise their pressing wasn’t a great idea.
“We had a few more long balls, then when their press in our half of the pitch lessened, we got to control the ball more especially in the second half.”
There’s something about Champions League nights at Anfield.
It also happens to be against European Cup serial winners Real, so the Liverpool faithful will be up for it.
Should he be fit, Darwin Nunez could cause some chaos, unsettling Real’s backline.
What are the odds?
Betfair have Liverpool’s odds at beating Real at Anfield at 5/4.
While the bookies have Real’s chances at 21/10.
When is Liverpool vs Real Madrid and at what time?
Liverpool welcome Real to Anfield on Tuesday in an 8PM kick-off.
Is the match on TV and what channel is it on?
Yes, Liverpool vs Real will be on TV.
The game will be shown on BT Sport 1 and BT Ultimate in the UK.
How can I live stream it?
The came can be lived streamed via the BT Sport website or app.
If you can’t access the game, SunSport will have a LIVE dedicated match blog.