Liverpool won’t have enough to beat Real Madrid in the Champion League round of 16 next month.
That’s the view of pundit Paul Merson. Writing for Sportskeeda, Merson claimed that although Anfield may get Liverpool over the line in the first-leg, they’ll still ultimately be knocked out.
“Liverpool are struggling at the moment – they’re without Van Dijk at the moment, and their midfield has been poor. They might get through at home because of their fans – they’re like an extra goal on a Champions League night,” wrote Merson.
“We saw how badly Liverpool have struggled without Sadio Mane. Liverpool have a big atmosphere around them, but I don’t see their midfield winning them a Champions League match.
“I’d back Real Madrid to beat Liverpool over two legs. They have huge experience in the UEFA Champions League, but I don’t expect them to ride their luck this time. They were virtually out three times last year and were very lucky – I don’t see it happening for them this year.”
With the first-leg now under a month away, it’s great to have Champions League football on the horizon again. Unfortunately though, it could be Liverpool’s last involvement for a little while.
Liverpool looking for Real revenge
As Liverpool have been so desperately poor of late, it’s hard to get too excited for the upcoming Madrid clash. The Spanish giants have had the Reds’ number the last few times they’ve met, too.
The last of those meetings obviously came in last year’s final in Paris. After battering Thibaut Courtois’ goal for much of the game, Liverpool lost out in heart-breaking fashion.
As a result, revenge should be on the minds of Jurgen Klopp’s squad heading into this one. They haven’t risen to the occasion at all this season, being out-battled in nearly every game they’ve played. But they’ve still shown they can go toe-to-toe with the best – beating Manchester City at Anfield and in the Community Shield.
When you boil it down, Liverpool still have some of the best players in world football. Surely they’ll be able to get up for one of the biggest clubs in the world coming to town. One who just beat them to the biggest prize in club football, no less.
So, we retain some hope that the Reds can make things competitive against Real. Should they manage to squeeze through, it will be an immensley satisfying win.
But the way things are going, you can’t really disagree with Merson – Liverpool are second favourites for sure. Madrid haven’t been at their best themselves of late, but they still sit second in La Liga, three points off Barcelona at the top. They beat Atletico in the Copa Del Rey semi-final last night, and as we know all too well, the Champions League is their favourite competition.
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