Marco Asensio will replace Federico Valverde while Lucas Vazquez has been ruled out for Real Madrid’s Champions League quarter-final second leg at Liverpool.
Real Madrid will be hoping to complete the job and seal safe passage through to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals when they lock horns with Liverpool at Anfield in the quarter-final second leg on Wednesday night. And, Zinedine Zidane has a fresh injury concern hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture.
Lucas Vazquez has sustained a knee injury that is set to rule him out of the rest of the season. The Spaniard’s absence means that Alvaro Odriozola remains the only viable option to play as a right-back, considering Dani Carvajal is not a part of the travelling squad that has made the trip to Liverpool.
During his pre-match press conference, Zidane commented on the possibility of Odriozola making the starting lineup, saying, “He hasn’t played much this season, but he’s committed and came on the other day against Barcelona. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see if he plays or not. I’m not going to tell you anything now.”
Apart from Carvajal, Eden Hazard has not made the cut either despite returning to training, while Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos, who has now also tested positive for COVID-19, continue to be on the sidelines. The continued absence of Varane and Ramos means that Nacho and Eder Militao will continue at the heart of the Real Madrid defence.
Odriozola ought to indeed start as the right-back, with Ferland Mendy getting the nod over Marcelo to be the left-back. In goal, there is no looking past Thibaut Courtois, who will see Real Madrid revert to the 4-3-3 formation against Liverpool after a slight shift in the system in El Clasico versus Barcelona this past weekend.
The formation change means Federico Valverde, who is also struggling with a minor foot issue, will drop to the bench, although Zidane iterated that he is at 100 percent. The Real Madrid boss said, “He’s back and will be at 100% and with the team. We’ll see how we work things tomorrow, but, as I say, he’ll be at 100%.”
In Valverde’s stead, Marco Asensio ought to start in the three-man attacking unit, with Vinicius Jr. and Karim Benzema being automatic picks in the final third. As for the midfield, the likes of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Casemiro pick themselves as part of the three-man unit in the middle of the park, with Valverde coming off the bench later on in the game.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Courtois; Odriozola, Nacho, Militao, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius Jr.