It’s a monumental task for Liverpool at Real Madrid, so does Jurgen Klopp unleash the shackles or stick to the current formation?
A three-goal deficit in Europe, the Reds have overcome one before. This time, though, there is no Anfield and it is instead the Bernabeu that provides the backdrop.
After the humbling loss against Carlo Ancelotti’s side, Virgil van Dijk called the second leg an “almost impossible job,” and few would find it hard to disagree.
Klopp will make sure his team have the belief that they can muster another memorable European occasion, though, knowing this team has goals in them when the mood strikes – scoring three or more eight times this season.
So, how could the Reds line up on Wednesday evening when they have nothing to lose?
UPDATE: Jurgen Klopp has revealed that Stefan Bajcetic is OUT with a stress adductor injury.
Liverpool welcomed a defender back to training on Tuesday, but there was bad news in midfield.
- Jordan Henderson has been left out of the travelling squad due to illness
- Joe Gomez returned to training after four-game absence
- Stefan Bajcetic won’t be involved due to a “stress” adductor injury
- Luis Diaz continuing individual programme
Liverpool’s XI vs. Real Madrid
Much will depend on the fitness of his midfielders but Klopp may have wanted turn to the same XI that inflicted the 7-0 defeat on Man United, but he could name an unchanged side from the weekend.
This Liverpool side have shown what they remain capable of but they’re consistently inconsistent at doing just that. But if there’s any time to turn up, it’s now.
More on the task ahead against Real, they have conceded three or more just four times this season – but this is a side that can score goals:
- Fabinho to sit alongside Elliott and Keita (Milner will be an alternative)
- Salah, Nunez and Gakpo to start third game in a row
- Stick to 4-3-3 formation
This is how Liverpool would take to the field:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Keita, Elliott; Salah, Nunez, Gakpo
In 12 matches against Ancelotti, Klopp has won just three times and to keep his counterpart on his toes the German could look to change the formation of his side.
Liverpool have nothing to lose and everything to gain and for this reason, it could be a chance to turn to a 4-2-3-1 formation – which in practice can also look like a 4-2-4.
Klopp has the firepower in his side and no Henderson is an untimely blow, but this could be the time to mix it up and give Real something different to think about:
- Unchaged back four with Alisson sitting behind
- Fabinho and Milner to form the pivot
- Keita a midfield alternative for Elliott
With those tweaks, this is how the Reds would line up:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Milner; Salah, Nunez, Gakpo; Jota
With this the last Liverpool game until April 1, due to the international break, there are no excuses but to give it everything and leave it all on the pitch.
As Klopp said before the famous victory against Barcelona: “Just try and if we can do it wonderful and if not, then fail in the most beautiful way.”
Up the Reds.