Liverpool lineup vs. Real Madrid – with and without Darwin Nunez

Darwin Nunez looks set to be okay to face Real Madrid, but who replaces him if the Liverpool forward isn’t fit to start?

Nunez sustained a bang to the shoulder in the second half of the Reds’ Premier League victory over Newcastle on Saturday.

Despite his best efforts to carry on, the Uruguayan was eventually withdrawn from the action, and was spotted with his arm in a sling as Liverpool returned home that night.

However, in his pre-match press conference on Monday, Jurgen Klopp offered some hope that Nunez would be able to feature against Real Madrid, but whether he’ll be fit to enough to start is unclear.

The 23-year-old trained as normal on Monday afternoon, which would suggest he is on track to be part of the squad at the very least.

Here, we look at two ways the Reds could line up against Real Madrid – with and without Nunez.


Team news

From Jurgen Klopp‘s pre-match press conference and Liverpool’s training session on Monday, we know the following:

  • Darwin Nunez has “a chance” of being involved
  • The Uruguayan trained as normal on Monday afternoon
  • Nat Phillips was the only notable absentee from the session

Liverpool squad in training on Monday

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, February 20, 2023: Liverpool's Darwin Nunez during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg game between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid CF. (Pic by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

Goalkeepers: Alisson, Kelleher, Adrian, Mrozek

Defenders: Van Dijk, Gomez, Matip, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Tsimikas

Midfielders: Henderson, Fabinho, Bajcetic, Keita, Elliott, Milner, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arthur

Forwards: Salah, Nunez, Gakpo, Jota, Firmino, Carvalho


Liverpool’s XI vs. Real Madrid

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 18, 2023: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez celebrates after scoring opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Newcastle United FC and Liverpool FC at St. James' Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Should Nunez get the green light to start against Carlo Ancelotti’s side, there’s every chance Klopp will stick with the same team that won at St James’ Park on Saturday.

That would see Nunez alongside Mo Salah and Cody Gakpo again in attack, with Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino waiting in the wings on the bench.

If that’s the case, Liverpool would shape up like this:

That would leave the XI looking like this:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Bajcetic; Salah, Nunez, Gakpo

However, even if Nunez is deemed fit enough to be involved on Tuesday, there’s a possibility Klopp would prefer to use him off the bench.

With Jota and Firmino fit again, the Liverpool boss certainly has some forward players who are more than capable of filling in.

Jota may be the likeliest to slot into Nunez’s left sided attacking role, with Gakpo impressing centrally against Everton and Newcastle.

If Nunez doesn’t start, this could be Liverpool’s team:

  • Same back four that faced Newcastle
  • Unchanged midfield trio
  • Jota in for Nunez on the left of the attack

That would see Liverpool line up as below:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Bajcetic; Salah, Jota, Gakpo

Given his recent form and the problems he could pose the Real defence, Nunez would definitely be a miss for Liverpool should he be ruled out.

But as replacements go, Jota certainly wouldn’t be a bad one, with Klopp also having the option of bringing Firmino into the side and moving Gakpo back out to the left.

Meanwhile, two key players are missing from Real Madrid’s likely lineup to face the Reds.