Liverpool will hope to avoid a heavy defeat when they travel to Spain to take on in-form Real Madrid in the Champions League at the Bernabeu on Tuesday (19:45 GMT, live on ITV).
Real Madrid extended their winning run in all competitions to 11 with a comfortable 4-0 thrashing of Granada on Saturday. They top the Primera Division table, with 24 points from eight wins, no draws and two defeats.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side outclassed Liverpool in their encounter at Anfield two weeks ago, winning 3-0 thanks to a superb finish from Cristiano Ronaldo and a double from Karim Benzema. After a couple of promising moments for their hosts in the early exchanges they took control of the match, dominating possession and allowing very few efforts on goal.
Madrid followed that result with an excellent performance in a 3-1 win at home to Barcelona in El Clasico. They showed good determination to get back into the game after giving up an early goal and eventually overcame their rivals through a combination of sparkling attacking play and strong work-rate. They really turned on the style once ahead.
Best Match Winner Betting Odds
1/4 Real Madrid (Coral, BetVictor, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power)
11/2 Draw (Bet365, BetVictor, SkyBet, Unibet, Boylesports)
12/1 Liverpool (Bet365, BetVictor, Betfair Sportsbook)
After a slightly shaky start to the season, Madrid have been highly impressive over the last month or so. The switch to a 4-4-2 formation, with James Rodriguez, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Isco forming a midfield of quality ball-players, has reaped major dividends, bringing better balance to the side. Modric has been simply sublime in recent matches.
Ancelotti will definitely be without the injured Jese Rodriguez (knee), while Dani Carvajal (hamstring), Gareth Bale (gluteus maximus) and Fabio Coentrao (knee) are all doubtful.
Liverpool travel to Madrid on the back of a drab 1-0 defeat away to Newcastle on Saturday. They have had some troubles in the early part of the season and are seventh in the Premier League, with 14 points from four wins, two draws and four defeats.
Brendan Rodgers’ (pictured) side enjoyed nearly two-thirds of the possession on Saturday, but were unable to convert their control of the ball into a steady stream of efforts on goal. Newcastle comfortably out-shot them and took the three points when Ayoze Perez pounced on an error from Alberto Moreno. Liverpool had just one effort on target from inside the area.
It was a familiar story for the Reds in a season in which they have so far failed to replicate the free-scoring form that saw them come so close to winning last year’s league title. The departure of Luis Suarez and the early-season injury problems of Daniel Sturridge have severely blunted their offence. Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert are yet to notch a league goal between them.
At the other end, Moreno’s mistake was symptomatic of the problems of a defence that has kept just one clean sheet in 15 matches in all competitions. In open play, they have struggled due to individual errors and a lack of adequate protection in front of them. From set-pieces, poor organisation and the failure of Simon Mignolet to control his area have been their downfall.
Rodgers will definitely be without the injured Sturridge (calf), John Flanagan (knee) and Jose Enrique (knee) for the trip to Madrid. Mamadou Sakho (thigh) is a serious doubt.
Real Madrid v Liverpool Betting Tips
Real Madrid recorded their first ever victory over Liverpool in the match at Anfield, subjecting the Reds to their biggest home defeat in European competition in the process. Liverpool had won the three previous meetings, including a 1-0 win in Madrid in 2009. They actually have a better record against Spanish sides away from home than they do at Anfield.
Real Madrid have been in spectacular form in recent times. They have scored 46 goals and conceded just seven during their current 11-match winning streak and will be confident of extending that run to 12 on Tuesday. They are functioning well as a unit and carry such a strong goal threat that it is difficult to imagine any team preventing them from scoring.
Ideally, Liverpool could do with picking up a point here. Madrid top the group on nine points, with Liverpool, Ludogorets and Basel all level in second with three points apiece. Yet while a defensive approach would therefore seem the most apposite, the quality of Liverpool’s defending this season suggests it would be a suicidal choice.
Madrid are ideally set up to take advantage of Liverpool’s faults and we expect Ancelotti’s side to record a relatively comfortable victory.
- Back Real Madrid -2 on the Asian Handicap @ 24/23 with BetVictor or @ 41/40 with Bet365. There is precious little in it between those two betting odds, both being a shade over evens. Your stake is returned if they win by two goals, while a win by three or more goals sees the bet pay out
- Benzema has scored in each of his last five league and Champions League matches, including a double against Liverpool in the match at Anfield. He is revelling in a more focused central role in Madrid’s current formation and can be fancied to extend his scoring run. Back Karim Benzema to score at anytime @ 21/20 with Betfair Sportsbook.