As Real Madrid make the trip to Merseyside for Tuesday’s Champions League, Spanish journalists see Liverpool “showing their teeth” with recent wins.
Prior to 2-0 victories over Everton and Newcastle last week, the Reds were, unsurprisingly, positioned as outsiders in their last-16 tie against Real.
But on an improved run of form and with key players like Virgil van Dijk, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota back fit, they are again seen as viable quarter-finalists.
It will be a tough test for Jurgen Klopp‘s side regardless, having lost to Real in each of their three meetings under the German – including last year’s final.
However, newspapers in Spain are previewing the first leg with a positive light on Liverpool.
Madrid-based daily Diario AS ran with the headline ‘Liverpool shows its teeth’, explaining that they “have turned the mood on the eve against Madrid with two triumphant victories and the recovery of troops.”
In the form of Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo and Stefan Bajcetic, Diario AS see “ingredients that, together with the discharges from the infirmary, complete a dangerous cocktail for Madrid.
Liverpool, they insist, are now “much more than the lukewarm version that emerged after the debacles against Brighton and Wolves.”
It is added that: “It still rains on the banks of the Mersey, but less.”
Meanwhile, MARCA saw the Reds back “on the fast track” after their victory at St James’ Park, though noted how “the game script could have been very different.”
Late on, they claim, Klopp “chose to save energy thinking about the match against Real Madrid,” which showed with a quadruple substitution.
In a separate article, MARCA also looked over the “finals and ‘fights’ for transfers” between the two sides in recent years.
Aurelien Tchouameni opted to join Real over Liverpool last summer – though will miss out on Tuesday – with Jude Bellingham the next up as Man City as vie for the Dortmund teenager.
Another Madrid publication, El Pais, spotted “encouraging signs” from the Reds in recent weeks, with the side now in “much-improved form.”
Elsewhere, the battle of the ‘false nine’ position, between Firmino and Karim Benzema, is highlighted as central to the tie, describing Liverpool’s No. 9 as their “most unique and important player.”
It remains to be seen whether Firmino will be required to start on Tuesday night, though Darwin Nunez‘s shoulder problem certainly makes it more likely.
Either way, the mood in Spain appears to have shifted dramatically, with back-to-back victories in the Premier League rightly positioning Liverpool as challengers again.