Liverpool vs Real Madrid (UCL) Team News: Jones, Origi, Kroos, Valverde

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Liverpool need to overcome a 3-1 deficit on aggregate if they want to advance past Real Madrid in the Champions League. (For our Liverpool starting XI prediction go here)

Madrid dominated the first half last week, scoring twice before halftime. Mo Salah cut the deficit to 2-1, but Madrid made it 3-1 a short while later to ice the game and grab a firm grip of the tie.

Injury News

There arn’t any new surprises from Liverpool on the injury front. Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are all out for the season. Jordan Henderson is also out, but Liverpool have hinted that he still may return at some point this season.

Curtis Jones has a muscle injury and is unlikely for the bench on Wednesday. Divock Origi is also likely out with a muscle issue.

For Real Madrid, it is a much different story. Reports in Spain claim Fede Valverde—who came off the bench against Liverpool last week—is unlikely to be available on Wednesday after picking up a minor knock over the weekend. More importantly, Toni Kroos was subbed off against Barcelona due to unspecified discomfort.

Kroos will likely play, but the veteran midfield maestro probably won’t be anywhere near 100%. Sergio Ramos and Eden Hazard remain sidelined as well.

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Another Anfield Comeback?

Anfield has hosted its fair share of famous European nights and memorable comebacks for Liverpool. The big difference this year is that there will be no fans to create the raucous atmosphere that Anfield is known for.

This is the third-straight year Liverpool has needed a comeback at home against a Spanish club. Famously in 2019, they overturned a 3-0 deficit to shock Barcelona en route to winning the Champions League. Last year they came in trailing Athletico Madrid 1-0, forced extra time and actually led 2-1 in extra time before Adrian’s error cost them the tie.

This is will be an extremely hard challenge with no fans, needing at least a two-goal win to stay alive.

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Slow Starters

One of the main causes of concern for Liverpool as they have slumped in 2021 is slow starts. During Jurgen Klopp’s tenure, Liverpool have been known for quick, high-energy starts. It’s been the opposite lately.

Since Dec. 30, Liverpool have scored just four first-half goals in 21 matches – two in the FA Cup and two in injury time. There won’t be time to settle into the game on Wednesday, as the first goal is vital for the Reds. An early goal can shift the tide in their favor.

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Betting Lines

Liverpool come in as -106 favorites, with Real Madrid receiving +250 odds on a win. There are +350 odds on a draw.

 

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