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Salah and Mane can match Liverpool greats in battling Real Madrid odds

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Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have scored every Liverpool goal in their last four Champions League games, and could equal two big names if they do so against Real Madrid.

Salah has scored in each of the Reds’ last four European games. Should he score tonight he will equal Steven Gerrard’s club record of netting in five games in a row in Europe.

Gerrard did so twice – the first straddling the 2004/05 and 2005/06 campaigns and the other in 2007/08.

Should Mane score, he will join Michael Owen in joint-third place on the club’s all-time European goalscorers charts with 22, behind only Gerrard and Salah.

Salah is also two goals short of recording 30 in a Liverpool season for the second time following his 44 in all competitions in his debut campaign of 2017/18.

Only Erling Haaland (10) and Kylian Mbappe (eight) have scored more goals in this season’s Champions League than Salah (six), going into the second leg of this round.

 

Against the odds

Liverpool's Mike Marsh scores the second goal

Liverpool have been two goals down going into a European second leg on nine occasions and only once won the tie – in the 1991/92 UEFA Cup when they beat French side Auxerre 3-0 at Anfield to win 3-2 on aggregate.

In eight of those ties the second leg was at Anfield.

However, on 12 occasions this season have Liverpool won by a margin that would be good enough to progress this evening. Four of those have come in Europe.

 

Vs. Real

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, April 6, 2021: Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum (L) during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg game between Real Madird CF and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. (Pic by Propaganda)

Liverpool have met Real seven times in history (all in this competition), winning the first three (including the 1981 final) and losing the last four encounters (including the 2018 final).

Jurgen Klopp has faced Real eight times during his career – winning three, losing four and drawing once – the first six being with Borussia Dortmund.

 

New reliables

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 10, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (C) chats with Ozan Kabak (L) and Nathaniel Phillips (R) during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak have now played more minutes together (584) than any other Reds centre-back partnership this season.

Should they begin the game it will be the seventh time they have done so together this season – moving level with Fabinho and Joel Matip as the most often-named starting centre-back pairing this season.

 

Suspension risk

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, April 6, 2021: Liverpool's Sadio Mané is shown a yellow card by referee Felix Brych during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg game between Real Madird CF and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. (Pic by Propaganda)

Mane, Trent Alexander-Arnold, James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum will miss the first leg of the semi-final should either of them receive a yellow card and Liverpool progress.

Jordan Henderson has also been booked twice.

 

A Real rarity

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, April 6, 2021: Real Madrid's head coach Zine?dine Zidane speaks with Carlos Henrique Casimiro during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg game between Real Madird CF and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. (Pic by Propaganda)

Real have progressed from 15 of their last 16 Champions League knockout matches after winning the first leg, only failing to do so against Ajax in the last 16 of the 2018/19 campaign.

They were last eliminated from European competition after winning the home first leg of a tie in 2006.07 at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League round of 16.

Having won 3-2 at the Santiago Bernabeu they went out on the away goals rule.

They have been knocked out in Europe seven times in their history after holding a two-goal advantage from the first leg, latterly to Monaco in 2003/04 after winning 4-2 at home (again on away goals).

On four occasions they have lost a tie when winning the home first leg by a 3-1 scoreline – the last time to Paris Saint-Germain in the 1992/93 UEFA Cup quarter-final.

 

Tonight’s referee

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - Friday, June 22, 2018: Referee Björn Kuipers waves his finger as he disallows a Brazil penalty after consulting VAR (Video Assisted Referee) during the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Group E match between Brazil and Costa Rica at the Saint Petersburg Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Bjorn Kuipers has refereed Liverpool six times in Europe (W4, D1, L1). The last game being the 3-0 at Barcelona in the semi-final in 2019.

He has reffed Real seven times (W5, D1, L1). Their only loss being 4-1 in the semi-final first leg in 2013 at Dortmund…managed by Klopp.

 

This season’s scorers

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 10, 2021: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool: Salah 28, Jota 12, Mane 12, Firmino 6, Jones 4, Minamino 4, own goals 4, Wijnaldum 3, Alexander-Arnold 2, Grujic 1, Henderson 1, Matip 1, Origi 1, Robertson 1, Shaqiri 1, Van Dijk 1

Real Madrid: Benzema 25, Casemiro 6, Asensio 6, Vinicius Jr 6, Modric 4, Ramos 4, own goals 4, Hazard 3, Kroos 3, Valverde 3, Vazquez 2, Mendy 2, Varane 2, Diaz 1, Militao 1, Rodrygo 1


* Statistics courtesy of LFC statistician Ged Rea (@ged0407).

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