Zinedine Zidane believes Liverpool will “demand more” of Real Madrid when they meet in the Champions League, accepting the Reds can “play their cards” in a knockout tie.
It is a fixture welcomed by most Liverpool supporters, with the opportunity to exact revenge for that defeat three years ago, but it is not likely to be a straightforward one.
Zidane’s side are not as dominant as they once were, and currently sit third in LaLiga, behind Atletic Madrid and Barcelona, having also dropped out of the Copa del Rey in the round of 32 to Segunda Division B side Alcoyano.
But they remain a force in Europe, and the clash is poised on a knife-edge, with Zidane reflecting on the draw in a press conference on Saturday.
“We know the difficulties of the tie and it is going to be very, very demanding too,” he explained.
“We know Liverpool and physically they will demand more of you, many things.
“We cannot say that it is a good or bad draw. Liverpool in a tie can play their cards and we know how it is.
“It will be a tie between two teams that have won many Champions Leagues and it will be complicated, difficult to win.”
It is already known that the first leg, with Real at home on April 6, will not be played at their usual stadium of the Bernabeu, with major redevelopment work being undertaken during the pandemic.
But it still remains to be seen whether it can be held at their temporary home of the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano due to travel restrictions between the UK and Spain that are currently in place until March 30.
There is a chance that these restrictions are extended, and in that case a similar scenario to Liverpool’s last-16 clashes with RB Leipzig – with both legs held in Budapest – plays out.
Spanish publication Marca report that Real won’t know whether the first leg can go ahead as normal until next week, with Bucharest a possible alternative, though Zidane is hopeful of playing at the Alfredo Di Stefano.
“We do not know what will happen after March 30 and we will play the first leg of the Champions quarter-finals wherever they tell us,” he continued.
“We would like to play at the Alfredo Di Stefano, but we’ll see what they say.”