Real Madrid announced their starting lineup to face Liverpool very early in the day ahead of the Champions League final. Carlo Ancelotti has gone with an anti-Liverpool tactic.
Real Madrid didn’t want to wait before announcing their starting lineup for tonight. They’ve put it out there an hour early, clearly not seeing any advantage in waiting.
It’s exactly what we’d expect, to be fair. This is Real Madrid’s strongest team and also a very flexible one. Carlo Ancelotti can go two or three different ways with it and one of those ways could particularly hurt Liverpool.
Real Madrid announce lineup vs Liverpool
The key thing about this XI is that Ancelotti has four centre-midfielders there. Now, Federico Valverde and Luka Modric are both versatile enough to switch in different formations – but we think Ancelotti will stick with one here.
That’s 4-4-2. We expect to see Valverde and Modric play left and right when Real are defending, setting up a bank of four in midfield.
This is how Ancelotti likes to play against Liverpool – he’s very open about that fact.
“We changed the players, but not the basic structure of the team. Di Lorenzo played wide on the left when we had the ball, then got back to help the midfield in a 4-4-2 when defending,” he said after leading Napoli to a draw against Liverpool in 2019. (per Football Italia).
“Liverpool have enormous quality, but they become more controllable when they are forced to play within reduced spaces.”
And it is a system that Liverpool struggle against. Atletico Madrid played it to perfection in 2020 to knock the Reds out of the Champions League. In fact, it’s the only formation to ever have success in this competition against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool (discounting last season’s injury crisis).
It appears this is what Ancelotti will lean into tonight, then. Liverpool better have a counter for it – otherwise, this could be a tactical struggle.