Liverpool’s potential starting XI for the Champions League game against Real Madrid
Jürgen Klopp has some crucial decisions to make ahead of the second leg tie at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Liverpool will be looking to not repeat the mistakes of their fellow Premier League colleagues who stepped out onto the grass of the Santiago Bernabéu last season; Real Madrid conquered Europe as they pulled off the impossible by beating the best teams in the continent in dramatic fashion. Now it is the turn of Jürgen Klopp and his wobbly Liverpool side to try their luck (16:00 ET).
However, unlike the Premier League teams that travelled to the Spanish capital last season, Liverpool will not be beginning the second leg with an advantage on the scoreboard. The Reds lost 2-5 at Anfield in a historic night in European football that saw the 2019 winners of the competition crumble like a rotten shed wall into a pile of dead wood and splinters. Real Madrid went 2-0 down before surging back (what else were they going to do?) and win by a margin never seen before at the famous ground.
Klopp’s defensive decisions
And so, for the return leg, manager Jürgen Klopp has some serious decisions to make. Alisson will, as per usual, be in between the sticks. He will be hoping for a better night than in the first leg, where his wayward pass skewed off the heel of Vinicius and into the net to complete the comeback.
The back four also writes itself: Robertson, Van Dijk, Konaté and Alexander-Arnold will likely start, and they will want to get the recent 1-0 loss to Bournemouth out of their systems, as the dodgy defending against The Cherries meant that the relegation battle in the Premier League will surely go down to the wire.
The midfield is where the questions appear
In front of the defence is where the questions lie. Klopp is without Thiago, Bajcetic and Henderson. In theory, that could be a starting midfield for Liverpool, so the manager will have to tinker and will most likely go with Fabinho at the base of the midfield with the balance of youth an experience in Milner and Elliott as the two pivots.
In front of them, Luis Díaz is still unavailable so the front three of Gakpo, Darwin and Salah will be selected. The Egyptian will look to seek the form he showed against Manchester United as his side put 7 past their rivals, not the Salah that sent a penalty so high and wide against Bournemouth that it almost landed outside the stadium.