Real Madrid v Liverpool Team News and Opposition Preview: Ramos and Bale back for Champions League tie

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Liverpool face a second glamour tie against Real Madrid in the historic Bernabeu Stadium on Tuesday night in as tough a fixture as they come. Ben Twelves looks ahead to the clash.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 22, 2014: Liverpool's players line up for a team group photograph before the UEFA Champions League Group B match against Real Madrid CF at Anfield. Back row L-R: Alberto Moreno, Dejan Lovren, Martin Skrtel, goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho Correia. Front row L-R: Mario Balotelli, captain Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson, Joe Allen, Raheem Sterling (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Real Madrid v Liverpool
Champions League Group B, Tuesday 4th November 2014

After slumping to a miserable 1-0 defeat against Newcastle United on Saturday, a tough period for Liverpool reaches its climax on Tuesday night, as Brendan Rodgers and his struggling team head to Madrid to take on the Champions League holders in the toughest fixture the Reds have faced in years.

Rodgers and his side will have a better idea of what to expect from the exceptionally talented home team this time around however – having been on the receiving end of a 3-0 defeat and footballing lesson from Carlo Ancelotti’s side at Anfield almost two weeks ago – but this time, the fixture presents a different challenge to the Reds.

Liverpool currently occupy third place in the group –  level on points with fellow qualification hopefuls, Basel and Ludogorets – and even though Rodgers and his squad will be focussing on keeping the score-line respectable in in Madrid, they know full well that it remains firmly in their own hands regardless of the result on Tuesday.

There is no better place for the Reds to attempt to produce a performance on the biggest stage and search for a display that in turn should ooze confidence throughout the squad, and should the unlikely outcome be a positive one as a result of a brave display, it could be a season changer for Liverpool ahead of hosting Jose Mourinho’s title favourites at Anfield on Saturday.

MADRID, SPAIN - Wednesday, February 25, 2009: Liverpool players walk out before the UEFA Champions League First Knock-Out Round against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rodgers’ side will have to look back to February 2009 – the last time Liverpool visited the Bernabeu Stadium for inspiration – a game in which Yossi Benayoun’s powerful 82nd minute header was enough for Rafa Benitez’s side to record a famous 1-0 win.

 

Team News

Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that he has taken his whole squad on the trip to the Spanish capital, at a time when pictures of Daniel Sturridge on the aeroplane carrying the Liverpool team emerged to great anticipation, but he’s unlikely to be included in the match-day squad for the game.

Although the England international edges closer to match action, Mamadou Sakho, Jon Flanagan, Jose Enrique and Suso are all still injured and unavailable for the clash meaning the Liverpool manager is restricted in being able to alter his dysfunctional defence.

However, Rodgers is full of options in midfield for the game with all players available – including Joe Allen who was on the receiving end of a nasty challenge from Moussa Sissoko against Newcastle at the weekend – giving the Reds boss choices to make over his selection.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 17, 2014: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge in action against Southampton during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sturridge’s presence will be a huge lift to the squad, but his continued absence for the time being at least means Mario Balotelli remains the first choice option to start up front, unless Rodgers chooses to change his teams’ set-up and begin the game in the system that ended the previous meeting with Raheem Sterling in the false 9 position.

 

Opposition

The current European champions are on a run of 11 straight wins and they’ll be looking to replicate their 3-0 win at Anfield close to two weeks ago, with a victory on Tuesday night qualifying them for the next stage of the competition.

As a result of their fine form – which saw them win 4-0 at Granada last time out – Carlo Ancelotti’s dream team sit top of their domestic league as well as Group B, having scored 47 goals combined over the two competitions in just 13 games – with Cristiano Ronaldo registering four more league goals himself than the Reds have managed in total with 17.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 22, 2014: Real Madrid CF's Cristiano Ronaldo is applauded off the pitch by Liverpool supporters during the UEFA Champions League Group B match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rodgers’ side will be hoping to become just the second team to win at the Bernabeu this season – with only city rivals Atletico leaving with anything to show for their visit – but Madrid head into the clash boosted by the return of world record signing, Gareth Bale, who Ancelotti has confirmed is fit and named in the squad to play having missed the tie at Anfield.

Sergio Ramos, who also missed the match on Merseyside, could also feature after overcoming injury and playing in the weekend win over Granada. However, the Spanish giants could be without World Cup winner, Sami Khedira, and Asier Illarramendi – both didn’t train with the team ahead of the clash.

Their potential absences add to that of Fabio Coentrao, Jese and Dani Carvajal, who is the latest injury concern after limping off early at the weekend with a knee problem, and his unavailability could hand another start to former Red Alvaro Arbeloa.

The match is will be shown live on ITV1, with kick off in Madrid coming at the traditional Champions League time of 19:45.

 

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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