By Gary Fulcher and Mihail Vladimirov.
Two giants of European football with 15 European Cups between them meet on Wednesday evening, when holders and ten times winners Real Madrid travel to Anfield – 7.45pm kick off UK time – in what will be just the fourth meeting between the two sides in this competition. Liverpool have a 100% record against Real – winning the 1981 European Cup final 1-0 in Paris and securing a 5-0 aggregate victory over two legs in the round 16 encounter back in 2008 – but based on our current defensive frailties (we’ve kept just two clean sheets in our last 20 matches in all competitions) and Madrid’s goalscoring prowess (39 goals scored in 11 matches this season), Liverpool face a huge task to extend either of those records to four matches following the final whistle.
While Liverpool eventually overcame Q.P.R. 3-2 on Sunday, Real Madrid cruised to a 5-0 win over Levante; their second consecutive 5-0 win in the league and more alarming for our defenders, the fifth time in their last six matches that they’ve smashed five goals or more past their opponents: 5-1 against Basel (Champions League), 8-2 against Deportivo (La Liga), 5-1 against Elche (La Liga), 5-0 against Athletic Bilbao (La Liga) and 5-0 against Levante (La Liga).
Cristiano Ronaldo’s total of 17 goals in 11 matches is more than the entire Liverpool team have managed so far this season in all competitions (not including the epic penalty shootout goals). The stats and the odds may be against us but Liverpool do have a habit of rising to the occasion when the big games come around. And it doesn’t get much bigger than Real Madrid.
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