Liverpool started the season off with a few tweaks to their defensive system which led to many mistakes at the back. This change was meant to refresh and evolve the side tactically but the system immediately backfired as Liverpool embarrassed themselves against the Aston Villa. The problems continued to grow as Liverpool lost their key players in Virgil Van Dijk, Matip, Joe Gomez and many more at various points in the season.
In 2020-21, Liverpool have been Miles off the pace in comparison to the past 2 seasons. The reds currently are sit in seventh-place with 46 points, 5 points less than Chelsea who are fourth in the premier league. Since the big win against Crystal Palace in December, they have drawn 3 games, lost 7 games losing 6 consecutive home gamess and won only 4. At present, Real Madrid stands in third place beneath Atlético Madrid and Barcelona by 6 and 2 points respectively.
Liverpool’s defense has been a nightmare this season and has conceded 36 goals. On the other hand, Real Madrid has conceded 23 and has kept 11 clean sheets in La Liga. Diogo Jota has been vital to Liverpool’s champions league side scoring 4 goals and assisting 1. Sadio Mane started the season off in his usual spring and gave a few match winning performances, as time has passed, however, as the more of the season has passed it has been a case of Diminishing returns for the Senegalese, particularly by the elite standards he has set for himself. Liverpool against Chelsea clearly showed that Mane is lacking the final touch in the box and is not able to convert the chances. Although, Liverpool has scored a fair amount of goals in the premier league their defense cannot be trusted as they have been leaking goals like a sieve.
In the champions league, Liverpool has scored 14 goals and has conceded only 3, and we can agree that the reds have the hunger to and drive to win the champions league. With Liverpool in the middle of an almost three-week spell without a match, Mane could benefit more than most. Granted, the 28-year-old is on international duty with Senegal and won’t be afforded a complete rest, but a change of scene will hopefully work wonders.
Well, it is an understatement to say that Real Madrid’s attack is not fluid as they have been dependent on Benzema to score goals throughout the season. The Los Blancos side has been ineffective from the wings as we were able to witness that Vinicius lacks that final touch against a high line of Atalanta. Madrid’s offensive play is hugely dependent on Kroos and Modric and if Liverpool can eliminate their midfield through their high pressing game then it is easy to say that Liverpool would be at the forefront.
If Real are as ineffective as they were against Atletico Madrid then Liverpool would comfortably be in the semi finals. Since the time Liverpool has forced Jordan Henderson to play as a center-back and has lost him against Everton, Liverpool has not been able to press properly. Fabinho and Jordan Henderson are most likely to be back in the team against Real Madrid as midfielders, we can expect Liverpool to dominate the mid field from the first second of the match.
Liverpool’s high line will suit Vinicius Junior but he will have to finish those chances. Real Madrid is no longer the offensive juggernaut that we have seen in the past decade. As we saw towards the end of last season, Zidane emphasizes defensive stability over goals. He is more than happy to grind out 1-0 victories, thus Liverpool will have to be more careful and not give away chances. Liverpool has been playing a bit differently in the champions league and if they can beat Real Madrid we will be able to witness a potential match up against Chelsea.
Battle between Liverpool and Chelsea is a historic one. When they won against Chelsea in the 2004/05 champions league semi-finals, they ended up winning the trophy in Istanbul. Both Jürgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel have had success in the Bundesliga following the same route from Mainz to Dortmund.
After Thomas Tuchel’s reign started at Chelsea he has beaten Klopp once and the game plan was clear from the start that he will be using the pace of Timo Werner, Mason Mount, and Hakim Ziyech to threaten Liverpool’s backline. Liverpool were ineffective upfront in the game as well but the problem existed due to the fact that Salah was not playing centrally and was not able to link up with Mane and Firmino. Mostly every team is targeting Liverpool’s high line and has become a constant problem for them.
A lot of memories are attached with Liverpool at Istanbul the most recent one with Klopp himself. A final is one of a game and anything can happen against potential opponents like Man City, FC Bayern Munich, and Paris Saint Germain. Though the odds are against Liverpool as they have not been able to create many chances upfront but if Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane can get back to their best there is a chance for Liverpool to redeem their season in Istanbul and repeat history.
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