Galacticos 2.0 Too Good For Redmen
Liverpool v Real Madrid
Can Liverpool create another famous Anfield night in the Champions League? If not, then their return to European football’s top table could be cut short.
Liverpool scraped three points and a win from an incredible game against QPR at Loftus Road on Sunday. But the victory only marginally masked what was another inept performance from the Reds and again highlighted how much they miss Luis Suarez and the injured Daniel Sturridge.
Mario Balotelli put in another below par performance and has yet to deliver since his big money move to Anfield. The Italian has scored just one goal in a red shirt, and that came against minnows Ludogrets in the opening Champions League game of this group.
Brendan Rodgers’s side have won only five of 11 games in all competitions this season, and have just three points from two Champions League games following the 1-0 defeat in Basel last time out. Another loss here would leave their chances of qualification for the knockout stages precariously poised.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, arrive on Merseyside having won their last seven games in all competitions, including their last two by 5-0 scorelines.
During that run of seven games Carlo Ancelotti’s men have scored five or more on five occasions, including a 5-1 victory over FC Basel in the Champions League.
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored at least once in each of his last 11 games for club and country and already has 20 goals, including three hat-tricks this season.
The defending European Champions have lost only one of their last 16 Champions League matches and, having scored 20 goals in their six group games last season, have begun this campaign with seven in two.
Mario Balotelli has done very little to warrant his position in Liverpool’s starting XI, but his experience in big games and his ability to do something special may earn him a stay of execution for this Wednesday night. Daniel Sturridge has now been ruled out for a further “two to four weeks” after picking up a calf injury prior to the weekend.
Gareth Bale was an unused substitute in the weekend win against Levante, and is a major doubt here. Karim Benzema, Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos all also missed the game and will be assessed ahead of the trip to England.
Liverpool have an immaculate record against Real Madrid having won 4-0 against the Spaniards when the teams last met at Anfield four-and-a-half years ago, after winning 1-0 in the Bernabeu a couple of weeks earlier. Steven Gerrard scored twice in that 5-0 aggregate victory at the last 16 stage of the 2008/09 Champions League.
The only other previous meeting between the two clubs came in the final of the 1980-81 European Cup, which the Reds won 1-0 thanks to an Alan Kennedy goal.
Free scoring Real Madrid could run riot on Merseyside this Wednesday night and odds of 3/4 about an away win look huge. Liverpool have produced some famous nights at Anfield in recent times, but if they were to turn around their recent form and get a result here it would surely top the lot.
Take a big slice of the 9/5 being offered about Real Madrid (-1) in the Handicap market, and I would also advise a smaller play on the 9/2 for Madrid (-2).
Ronaldo is priced at odds of 8/13 to score anytime and although I’m not usually one for backing players at odds-on prices in this market, on current form he’s a shoo-in to get on the scoresheet here.