Thursday, March 30, 2023

Liverpool, silver or lead in the temple of Real Madrid

Accustomed in the Champions League to handling epic terrain dotted with comebacks, this aristocratic Real Madrid-Liverpool back in the round of 16 at the Bernabéu with three goals from rent has become an uncomfortable process for the madridistas. Carlo Ancelotti himself warned: “On a psychological level, I think the game is more complicated for us than for the Liverpool. They have to go all the way to get the best from the first minute, no matter what. The result of the first leg puts us in doubt a bit. We will try to go to the top from the first minute, but we have more doubts than the rival”. Antonio Rudiger did not give off confidence either, who despite having been the last to arrive has enough hierarchy to raise his voice in the press room: “We have to start the game better. We can’t fall asleep in the first minutes like at Anfield”.

Liverpool, silver or lead in the temple of Real Madrid. EFE

experience or energy

Given the situation of swimming and putting away his clothes or going out for the KO against a Liverpool with a cement punch and a glass jaw, Carletto has preferred to save his cards for the match. Symptom of the restlessness that the duel against Klopp’s men arouses in him. From doors to the outside the message is unequivocal: “It will be an open game because we are going to go out to attack and so are they. We are not going to make calculations, we already learned from what happened to us last year against Chelsea”. There will be silver or lead.

Ancelotti’s dilemma lies in betting on the energy of Camavinga and Tchoumeni or on the experience of Kroos and Modric in the eleven to give personality to the team and impose their game, although the lack of legs of both. The Italian warned that “Camavinga is irreplaceable”, which suggests that the Frenchman will be one of the fixtures, so The question is whether he will bet on the two ‘sacred cows’ (Luka and Toni) or if he will put one of them in charge of operations and bet on putting more lungs with Tchouameni together with camavinga in midfield. Up comes Benzema, who will form with Vinicius and, if there are no surprises, with Valverde. A hybrid and associative team between the lines in which the Uruguayan can unfold in attack and defense. Back Nacho and Carvajal will close the lanes, with Militao and Rudiger at the center of the defense. The same defense that ended up shutting down at Anfield after Alaba’s untimely injury. Mendy would start on the bench, after his return.

Nacho, before Salah on Tuesday. REUTERS

Liverpool comes from losing in the Premier against Bournemouth, a game in which Salah missed a penalty. Klopp seems that he will pose a match to an open grave with a suicidal eleven: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Millner; Salah, Gakpo, Diogo Jota; Darwin Nunez. An ultra-attacking team with long full-backs and four attacking bombers to work an impossible miracle. Fabinho, with a Real Madrid past, gave some clue about Liverpool’s plan: “Although it seems strange, you have to have a cool head. You don’t have to concede more goals. A (0-0) at half-time could be a good result. It is complicated, but not lost. You have to be smart to win in this temple of football. Nobody risks as much as we do. It wouldn’t be smart to change the way we play now.”

Nothing to lose

For his part, Jurgen Klopp appeared in the Bernabéu press room relaxed to send an optimistic message to his fans: “Madrid smells blood. The problem is not what they can do, because we know how good they are, one of the best of the world. We are alone, because the normal thing is to think what you believe, that there is nothing to do”. For the German, he wanted to conclude by sending some light to his team: “We have learned things from them that make us stronger. I’m the only one who thinks we have options, but that’s fine with me. We will try, sure. We have nothing to lose and that’s better than having everything to lose.” And he concluded with his characteristic smile, dismissing the journalists: “…but I would prefer to be Ancelotti”. Carletto does not trust. Klopp does not give up.


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