Liverpool face Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Tuesday, with Trent Alexander-Arnold at risk of suspension.
The Reds right-back is the only player on either team who is a booking away from being suspended for the second leg.
That could make things particularly difficult for Alexander-Arnold, who is likely to be up against Real Madrid’s Brazilian winger Vinicius Jr., who scored the winner in the final between the two teams last season.
Champions League rules state that players will be suspended for a game if they accumulate three yellow cards between the first group stage match and the second leg of the quarter-finals.
The right-back was carded against Rangers and Napoli earlier in the Reds’ European campaign, and even if he avoids a yellow in both matches against Real and Liverpool progress, he will again be a booking away from suspension in the last eight.
Aside from Alexander-Arnold on two yellows, Liverpool have six other players who have received one booking in the Champions League so far this season.
James Milner, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Darwin Nunez, Ibrahima Konate and Joel Matip would miss the potential quarter-final should they be booked in both legs against Real Madrid.
Alexander-Arnold’s last yellow came in the Reds’ 3-0 defeat to Brighton in January, one of three he has accumulated in the Premier League this season.
Liverpool’s No. 66 was criticised by some for his defending up against Vinicius in last year’s final, and will need to be extra careful to ensure he avoids a booking at Anfield on Tuesday.
Speaking after Liverpool’s win over Newcastle on Saturday, former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez highlighted Alexander-Arnold as a player who will need to offer more defensive cover if Jurgen Klopp‘s side are to stop Real from scoring.
“Alexander-Arnold is doing nothing because the ball is on the other side,” Benitez explained while analysing Liverpool’s defensive shape against Newcastle.
“He has to be a little bit more inside and cover, because if not you play one against one.
“If you do that against Benzema and Vinicius, they will score against you.”
Liverpool will again be hoping to utilise Alexander-Arnold’s attacking capabilities against Carlo Ancelotti’s side, with the 24-year-old registering assists in the Reds’ last two matches.
But losing their most creative player to suspension for the second leg would be a significant blow, with Milner or Gomez likeliest to fill in should he be unavailable for the return fixture at the Bernabeu.