Liverpool were carved open by Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League clash last week and if a repeat of the same happens this week as well then Klopp’s side will suffer a serious blow in qualifying for the Champions League next season.
Madrid were at the top of their game in Spain, pulling off seven shots on target while Liverpool managed only a single shot during the 90 minutes. And going into the second leg with a two-goal deficit, it’s no secret that Liverpool will need to score goals to be able to progress to the next round but at the same time, Jurgen Klopp has urged his players to keep a clean sheet on Wednesday.
He told the press: “Very important[to keep a clean sheet]. But that’s actually not too different to other games. You never want to concede goals and if you are really focused, that’s what we have to do.
“We cannot ignore defending in this game, we’d get punished for sure. I have no idea if anybody in the world can deny Real Madrid from having any chances. They beat us a week ago. Yes, we were not good. But a few days later they beat Barcelona in a very important game as well. So they are obviously in a good moment.
“We have to deny that, we have to defend on our highest level and then we have to create as well. That’s it. It’s nothing different really but of course it feels always different. The game starts with 0-0 anyway, but if they would go 1-0 up or whatever in a normal game we would have to score two to win it or score one to get a point.
“The point wouldn’t help, 2-1 wouldn’t help. So that’s the situation. We have to be 100 per cent on our absolutely top level to have a chance to make it. But that’s possible that we are at our 100 per cent, so we should try it.
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“They are really experienced. They have [had] an intense season, they have injuries, that’s clear. Everybody can see that and we have the same.
“We are on the same level, nobody has to use that for any kind of explanations, it’s just late in the season, a crazy year with a lot of games and all these kind of things, but the decisive part of the season is now and I am 100 per cent sure Real Madrid will be 100 per cent ready for this game.
“That’s what we prepare for, not what [Real] felt five minutes after the Barcelona game [at the weekend], which is a moment when you really feel each bone when it was that intense. They are in a good moment and that’s what we will prepare for.”
Can Liverpool keep a clean sheet?
Liverpool have been using Ozan Kabak and Nat Phillips as their first-choice central defensive pairing over the past few games and barring the first leg, these two have done pretty well so far.
Everyone thought the pair would come out with flying colours in Spain as well but the sheer brilliance of Benzema and Vinicius Jr was too much for them to handle. And we fear a repeat of the same could happen this week as well.
Klopp has the option to bring Fabinho back into central defence but we doubt if the manager will take that call so the Real Madrid forwards could once again have a merry time up front.
Last week the two Liverpool full-backs were also very average and they will need to pull up their socks if they want to stop Real Madrid from scoring an away goal on the night and thereby killing off the tie.