Brendan Rodgers urged his side to have the belief and show courage as they lock horns with Real Madrid at Bernabeu tonight.
On paper this match seems a foregone conclusion. Liverpool have struggled both at home and abroad while Carlo Ancelotti’s men are at their destructive best having put together a run of 11 straight wins, scoring 46 goals in the process. The gulf in class between the two sides was visible a fortnight ago and in some way the pressure is off tonight as very few people believe that Liverpool can actually take something away from this daunting trip.
However Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes this is not an impossible task. “You have to have the belief and courage to go out and play in the big games like this,” he said.
“This is one of the iconic grounds in the world, the pitch will be perfect and when you come up against the best opponents that’s the challenge that makes you perform to your best. We don’t come here as a team expecting to lose.”
“I’ve said to the players that we went into games last season when we were high on confidence and playing wonderful football and we slipped up.If that happens to us who at the time were one of the top sides in Europe last year then it can certainly happen to the best team.”
“We recognise it is a difficult ask. But when you come to such a wonderful arena, you want to come show your qualities, your courage and your character as a team. That’s something we want to do here.”
The much-maligned Liverpool backline will have to find a way to contain Real’s devastating attacking threat. Gareth Bale is likely to be called upon following his return from injury.
“Ronaldo at this moment is probably the best player in the world and is playing with great confidence and enthusiasm.You have to ensure your team is super compact, your lines are close together. When you go forward you go forward in the correct numbers, you can’t leave yourself naively open on the counter attack.”
“You have Benzema and Ronaldo who stay up. Rodriguez and Bale will be in the half position and then someone breaking through, so very quickly you are going to have four players against your back four or three.”
Daniel Sturridge travelled with the squad to Spain but he is unlikely to feature while Rodgers also suggested that Steven Gerrard might be rested for this clash.