Real Madrid play host to Liverpool as the two clubs meet for the first time since the 2018 Champions League Final.
Real captured their 13th European title in that match that ended 3-1. While the Liverpool squad is quite similar, despite injuries this season, Los Blancos of course have lost Cristiano Ronaldo since then. Liverpool have also acquired Alisson since then who has been a massive improvement over Loris Karius.
After winning their first Premier League trophy in 30 years last season, Liverpool are currently 7th this season. Injuries have decimated their squad and they’ve been unable to find consistency. However, the Reds had no trouble getting past Leipzig in the Round of 16 winning 4-0 on aggregate.
Real Madrid won their matchup with Atalanta by a 4-1 aggregate. The club is sitting in third; two points behind Barcelona and three behind Atletico with El Clasico to be played this weekend.
There are plenty of injuries to both squads on Tuesday. Eden Hazard, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal are all out. Fede Valverde has returned to the squad.
Liverpool will be without Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, captain Jordan Henderson, Joel Matip and Divock Origi.
There are no suspensions in Tuesday’s match.
Courtois; Vazquez, Militao, Nacho, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Asensio, Vinicius, Benzema
With both Varane and Ramos missing again it will be interesting to see if Zidane attempts the 3-4-3 again as he did against Eibar this past weekend. With Kroos likely back starting, it may be a bit more difficult to use this formation.
Asensio has likely earned a start again after putting in a great performance over the weekend. This is unless Vazquez doesn’t start at right back in place of Alvaro Odriozola.
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson; Thiago, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Mane, Firmino
Real Madrid—Liverpool 1-1
This match will heavily focus on the attackers exploiting the weakened defenses. While Eder Militao and Nacho have played well, likewise for the young Ozan Kabak and Nat Phillips, it will still be a handful to handle from both attacking sides.
Real must pay close attention to Diogo Jota when he likely subs on. He has been on fire since returning from injury and scoring two goals against Arsenal off the bench over the weekend. We know how dangerous Mohamed Salah can be as well with him being second in Premier League goals this season.
Karim Benzema will be looked upon heavily to continue his offensive and goal scoring contributions. He and the rest of the attack must challenge the young Liverpool defense fi they hope to carry a lead into the second leg.
This will be a very stressful, yet interesting match as both sides are dealing with major injuries and are nowhere near full strength. It will be a feeling-out process for both sides as they look to get comfortable in this matchup.