Home Latest News Champions League Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Preview | Champions League 2022/23

Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Preview | Champions League 2022/23


Champions League nights always bring with them a certain thrill and excitement, as Europe’s best clubs go up against each other. This tie is no different, with two of the biggest clubs in Europe set to battle it out in a two legged knockout fixture for a place in the quarter-finals. Liverpool welcome Real Madrid to Anfield on Tuesday night for the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16, in what has been a classic UCL game over the years.

Liverpool look like they are getting back to form after winning back-to-back Premier League games for the first time this season. A Merseyside Derby win over Everton last week was followed by a well-fought 2-0 win away from home against high-flying Newcastle United on Saturday, boosting them up the table and rekindling hopes of mounting a challenge for the Champions League spots. The Reds have had a poor season so far as they looked a shadow of their former selves that had become near unbeatable under Jurgen Klopp. They had a terrible start to the season and it became worse as they slumped to 8th in the league.

However, with two wins on the bounce, Liverpool will have some confidence heading into a home tie against a club they have had little success against over the past few years.

Real Madrid were last in action in the league as they clawed back at Barcelona’s 11-point lead over them at the top of the table to reduce it to an eight-point gap. The Los Blancos were away to Osasuna, winning 2-0 thanks to late goals from Federico Valverde and Marco Asensio. Real Madrid returned to league action last week after their Club World Cup adventures, as Carlo Ancelotti’s men added yet another trophy to their collection with an entertaining 5-3 final win over Saudi Arabia club Al Hilal. It will have provided them with a huge boost of belief and confidence for the rest of the season, with the La Liga title slipping out of their grasp.

The 14-time Champions League winners are one of the favourites yet again this season and a familiar foe stands in their way on Tuesday.


Date: Tuesday, 21st February 2023.
Time: 8.00 pm BST.
Venue: Anfield, Liverpool.


Referee: István Kovács.
Assistant Referees: Vasile Florin Marinescu, Ovidiu Artene.
Fourth Official: Horatiu Fesnic.
VAR: Massimiliano Irrati.
Assistant VAR: Marco Guida.


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Liverpool have struggled with injuries this season and their struggles are set to continue, with £85 million summer signing Darwin Nunez a huge doubt ahead of the game. The Uruguayan striker was forced off in their win over Newcastle United with a suspected shoulder injury. The forward seemed quite in pain and he is set to undergo assessment before the club can confirm his availability.

However, there was some good news for the Scousers, with Diogo Jota returning to action on Saturday after a lengthy time on the sideline, featuring from the bench in the second half. He will be in contention again on Tuesday night, and it remains to see if he is fit enough to start an important game.

Nunez may potentially join a few other key players on the treatment table, with midfielder Thiago, defender Ibrahima Konate and forward Luis Diaz all ruled out with long-term injuries. On-loan midfielder Arthur is also a doubt ahead of the upcoming tie.

Real Madrid have a few concerns of their own with left-back Ferland Mendy and forward Mariano Diaz ruled out with injuries. Midfielders Toni Kroos has missed the last couple of games for the Los Blancos with an illness, but Ancelotti is positive the veteran German will return on Tuesday. French understudy Aurelien Tchouameni was missing from the win over Osasuna having picked up an illness as well, and he faces a race against time to be fit for the crunch tie on Tuesday.


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The two clubs have met at least once in the Champions League for the past three seasons running, with the two facing each other in the Quarter-finals in the 20/21 season, the final in the 21/22 season and the Round of 16 in this season. Real Madrid have prevailed over the Scousers in five of their last six meetings in the UCL, with the run stretching back to the 17/18 season when the clubs met in the final. The last time Liverpool won against the Los Blancos was in the 2008/09 season, winning the Round of 16 tie 5-0 on aggregate. In their 9 meetings in all, the Reds have only won 3 of them, with Real winning 5.

The Champions League and Real Madrid are a match made in heaven and the Los Blancos always turn up on the big occasions. Given Liverpool’s displays this season, despite the two wins in the last week, it will be a very tough ask for the 6-time UCL winners to prevail over the Spaniards.

This season, Real have found a way to win even when the performance has not been good, with the quality of their squad taking majority of the credit for it. The experience and skills of veteran players like Toni Kroos and Luka Modric combined with the youthful exuberance of players like Edouardo Camavinga and Vinicius Junior along with the lethal Karim Benzema in attack have time and again pulled Real out of tight situations. Such Champions League nights are when Real come alive, and while Anfield will be at its electric best, Liverpool unfortunately do not seem like they simply have enough strength to get past this side.

Jurgen Klopp and Carlo Ancelotti are undoubtedly two of the best managers in the world right now and it could be a tactical battle on Tuesday night. Both could have a few key players missing and Klopp must be clever and bold enough to outwit the Italian coach, with the Champions League Liverpool’s only hope of securing any silverware in an outright dismal season.


Cody Gakpo

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The Dutch forward was the subject of strong interest from Liverpool’s rivals Manchester United, but the Scousers acted quickly and beat the Red Devils to the prize in January. It took Gakpo some time to settle in a different country, with English football sometimes proving to be a level up in quality from that of Dutch football. However, Gakpo has scored two goals in the last two games, both well-taken finishes from close quarters after taking clever runs into the space behind opposition lines. He has taken over the central striker role from Darwin Nunez, with the Uruguayan pushed out wide since his arrival, and it has reaped Jurgen Klopp good rewards.

The Dutchman is set to make just his second appearance in the premier European competition, making his first appearance for PSV back in the 18/19 season, a seven-minute cameo appearance in the group stages. Against opposition of such stature, it will be important the 23-year-old is not fazed and is focused on helping the team get past the Spanish giants.

Karim Benzema

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The French striker gave Ancelotti and Real Madrid fans cold sweats when he was ruled out of the Osasuna game. However, the club confirmed it was due to muscular fatigue and he is expected to be back and fully fit for Tuesday night, having gotten a well-deserved rest. The five time UCL winner has been in a great form this season, scoring 11 goals in 13 league appearances. However, Karim Benzema is yet to open his Champions League account for this season, having played 4 games without scoring.

What better occasion to do that than the Round of 16 tie against Liverpool at Anfield. He has a great record against Liverpool, previously scoring 4 goals in 5 appearances against the Merseyside Reds and he will be eager to add more to that tally on Tuesday night.


Liverpool predicted XI vs Real Madrid: Alisson; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Andy Robertson; Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Stefan Bajcetic; Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo, Diogo Jota.

Real Madrid predicted XI vs Liverpool: Thibaut Courtois; Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, Antonio Rudiger, David Alaba; Toni Kroos, Eduardo Camavinga, Luka Modric; Federico Valverde, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior.


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