After a commanding 5-2 comeback victory for Real Madrid in the first leg put them on the verge of ending Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League (UCL) hopes for a third consecutive season, Real Madrid welcomes Liverpool to the Santiago Bernabéu. In their last seven encounters (D1), which have included the UCL final last season, which gave the Spanish giants their record-extending 14th European Cup/UCL triumph, Madrid has won six times.
However, since that massive victory at Anfield, Carlo Ancelotti’s team has played uncharacteristically, with just one victory in their last four games—a 3-1 victory over Espanyol on the weekend. (D2, L1). Despite their recent performance, Real Madrid has only failed to advance to the next round twice out of the 37 ties in UEFA play where they won the first leg away from home.
The job at hand isn’t entirely foreign to the Merseysiders, but it would take a monumental Liverpool effort to sabotage Madrid’s 300th UCL game (the first club to achieve the milestone). They defeated Madrid’s bitter rival Barcelona to win their sixth European Cup/UCL in 2018–19, making them one of only four teams to do so. That illustrious night, however, took place at Anfield.
The Reds must perform in a manner comparable to their second-leg showing in the 2008–09 UCL semifinals, when they handed Madrid its biggest UCL defeat—a 4-0 victory—in a match that they won. The worst possible prelude for manager Jürgen Klopp, however, comes after a 1-0 defeat to Premier League underachievers Bournemouth, and his past with Carlo Ancelotti doesn’t inspire either. (W3, D3, L6).
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