UEFA Champions League quarterfinals kickoff today in Spain and England with Real Madrid inviting Liverpool as Manchester City takes on Borussia Dortmund respectively. The other two quarterfinals featuring FC Porto against Chelsea and Bayern Munich against Paris Saint-Germain will be played tomorrow.
Real Madrid have won the prestigious trophy 13 times with the most recent being in 2017-2018 season where they edged out Liverpool 3-1 in an emotional final. It was an intense encounter after Liverpool's Mohamed Salah was involved in a collision with Madrid's Sergio Ramos where Salah suffered a nasty injury. Reds' keeper Karius Lorius gifted Madrid two goals on the night.
Liverpool's name has been etched on the trophy six times, latest being in the 2018-2019 season in an all English final where they beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 at Estadio Wander Metropolitan in Madrid.
Zinedine Zidane will miss the services of experienced defenders Sergio Ramos (captain) and Dani Carvajal who are sidelined with injuries. Forward Eden Hazard is also out for the same reason.
Eden Hazard has been left out of Real Madrid's 21-man squad
Los Blancos will heavily rely on goalkeeper Thibault Courtois who appears to be in his best form at the moment. Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos will steer the midfield with their technical skills and winning mentality. Karim Benzema is expected to be at his best in attacking. The Frenchman has scored 11 goals in his 10 recent outings.
As for Jurgen Kloop, his CL hopes are still alive even though he has had poor run of results in the domestic league since the beginning of the year. Liverpool is 6th on the log and all hopes of defending the title seems to be blown out of their way.
The Reds have suffered most injuries this season beginning with Virgil van Dijk at the start of the season. Captain Jordan Henderson, forward Divock Origi and defensive duo of Joe Gomez and Joel Matip will be missing in tonight's action.
However, the likes of Nat Phillips, Curtis Jones and Neco Williams have stepped in to try and fill the gaps in their debut season.
The likes of Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah are expected to deliver upfront for Liverpool and perhaps revenge the bad memories of 2018 finals.
In the last five meetings between the two teams, Real Madrid has won 3 (latest) with Liverpool winning two back in 2009. Madrid have scored 7 goals, one more than what Liverpool have.
Here are some of the statistics as analysed by Sky Sport:
Real Madrid have won the first leg of eight of their last nine UEFA Champions League knockout ties, losing the other 2-1 at home to Manchester City in last season's last 16.
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has won each of his last five games at the quarter-final stage of the UEFA Champions League.
Real Madrid have won their last three UEFA Champions League matches, last winning four in a row back in April 2018 when they had a run of five.
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has scored in all three of his UEFA Champions League appearances against Liverpool, scoring four times.
The match starts at 10:00 PM East African Time and will be played at Alfredo di Stefano Stadium in Madrid. Who do you think will carry the day and why?