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Zidane: “Some say Liverpool’s strength is their three forwards, but they’re solid on the whole”

Also spoke about Klopp, Hazard and the Diakhaby incident.

Real Madrid v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Final Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Zinedine Zidane spoke to the media ahead of Real Madrid’s first leg against Liverpool and he explained that he doesn’t think the 2018 final will have much of a bearing on what happens in this quarter-final tie. On that, he said: “The past already happened. We’re living in the present. I think it’s the same for both teams. We need to approach it as a different game. The next match is always a very important match, just like the last one we had at home to Eibar. We’re only thinking about this match tomorrow.”

Talking about this Liverpool side, Zidane was asked what he thinks their strengths and weaknesses are. On that, he replied: “I think they have players who can cover for the ones who are absent. We also have many players missing, but also have strength in depth. With Liverpool it’s the same. I think they’re a complete team. Some might say their strength is their three forwards because they’re very good, and that’s true, but it’s a very solid team as a whole. We know how good their forwards are and how clinical they are, so we need to watch them, but we need to watch everything.”

Zidane was then asked about Jurgen Klopp and if there is any characteristic of the German that he aspires to replicate. He replied: “He’s a great coach and an experienced coach. The work he has done in all his career has been good and now with Liverpool. I don’t need to copy him and he doesn’t need to copy me, but I do look at all coaches to see what they do. In particular, I saw a lot things from other coaches when I was doing my coaching course.”

Eden Hazard was brought up and, although Zidane didn’t completely rule the Belgian out, he said that no risks will be taken, telling the press conference: “The important thing is that he is fully recovered when he comes back. although I don’t think he was rushed back last time. We never rush a player. We’ll see when Eden can recover.”

Analysing the season as a whole, Zidane was asked if he feels his team were written off prematurely. He said: “I think the answer is yes. I have a lot of confidence in my team. So yes, but we can’t change that. We can just do our work every day. That’s how this team has been able to turn things around. We never give up. As long as there’s hope, we’re alive in both competitions and will keep battling. We’ve had bad moments and now we’re in a good moment, but all of that means nothing yet since we’ve not won anything yet.”

Finally, Zidane was asked about what happened with Mouctar Diakhaby and the allegations of racism made during Sunday’s Cádiz vs Valencia match and if there should be more of a protocol in place for such situations. His reply was: “There should be zero tolerance to racism. I wasn’t there so I can’t say exactly what happened. What I can say is what I feel inside. It’s about respect for people. That’s the most important. Zero tolerance with racism.”

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