Real Madrid should be able to hold on at a fanless Anfield
Real Madrid appear to be favorites to progress to the UCL semifinals ahead of Liverpool as they visit Anfield on Wednesday night for the second leg of the quarterfinal clash between the two sides, and rightfully so.
Liverpool have not been at the top of their game in recent weeks although they’re beginning to bounce back in the Premier League with 3 wins in their last 3 games.
It can be recalled that Los Blancos thrashed the Reds 3:1 in the first leg at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium and will be coming to Anfield to consolidate on their victory.
However, they should also have learned a thing or two from sides who visit Anfield with a healthy advantage only to end up battered and see their deficit overturned eventually in stunning fashion.
Fellow La Liga giants Barcelona can attest to this fact, and if there’s any side that can overturn a deficit in the UEFA Champions League, then it’s Liverpool and they have some amazing records to prove it.
However, Atletico Madrid had other ideas when they visited Anfield in the UCL last season and beat Liverpool home and away to progress to the next stage.
Therefore, Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid are expected to take a cue from their local rivals. Also, the fact that fans won’t be in the stands to provide the electric atmosphere to intimidate visiting sides should work to Madrid’s advantage.
Nevertheless, Real Madrid must play a mature game based on the experience they’ve garnered over the years in the UCL. They should be disciplined and do enough to see out this game. If they come out firing from the start and concede early, it will be chaos for them.
I expect the Los Merengues to be conservative at the start and soak whatever pressure Liverpool have to offer in the early stages of the game. It doesn’t mean they should allow themselves to be pegged back for most of the game.
After all, the Reds need the goals and will come out like a house on fire to get them.
Real Madrid have been on an impressive run of form and last lost a game in January. They restricted Jurgen Klopp’s men to just 1 shot on target in the first leg and not many teams can do such against Liverpool in such a crucial game.
At Anfield, the Reds will be on fire and I don’t see them being restricted as they were in Spain. Real Madrid, on the other hand, will be eager to prove that their performance in the first leg was not a fluke.
Their last visit to Anfield in the UEFA Champions League ended in a 3 nil victory and they’d be hoping to rejoice at the blast of the final whistle although Liverpool with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota, and Roberto Firmino will have a thing or two to say about that.
Regardless, this is one of the games in this round where I expect both teams to score respectively in both legs and I’m looking forward to the battle at Anfield.