Real Madrid have another defender ruled out due to injury after Lucas Vazquez suffered a sprain to the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee against Barcelona on the weekend.
With Zinedine Zidane now missing several defenders to injury and coronavirus infection, the Reds should feel more emboldened ahead of their attempt to come back from a 3-1 first-leg defeat.
If they are to progress to the next round, the Merseysiders need to win 2-0 or by at least two clear goals. Allowing Real Madrid to score an away goal will be disastrous as it will take away the biggest advantage that Klopp’s men have.
Vazquez’s injury could actually swing the tie. While the 29-year-old is by no means a world-class fullback, he’s experienced and in knowing his limitations, has become a very well-rounded player under Zinedine Zidane.
The Spanish side will miss him this evening. In his place, Alvaro Odriozola will start and while Sadio Mane has been far from his best, the Senegalese should be instructed to get at the substitute right-back and look to get beyond him as much as possible.
While Jurgen Klopp made some major errors against Real Madrid such as starting Naby Keita over Thiago Alcantara, the biggest misstep he made was showing the La Liga champions too much respect.
Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane were missing and Liverpool treated a partnership of Eder Militao and Nacho Fernandez as the strongest central defensive duo in Europe which resulted in the pair bumping chests at the end of the evening.
When, in reality, they were hardly challenged and when the Reds actually played direct and with purpose, they scored a goal that was quite scruffy, to be fair, but that should be Liverpool’s blueprint tonight.
The Anfield outfit needs to play to their strengths instead of playing to Real Madrid’s strengths. Vazquez may not be the most high profile name in this clash by any stretch of the imagination but his absence should be treated with as much attention as Sergio Ramos’ was.