Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has laughed off the suggestion his team will struggle at Anfield just like Barcelona did.
The manager already knows Liverpool don’t have their two most reliable defenders in Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez or even the injury plagued Joel Matip to provide the platform for Trent Alexander and Andrew Robertson to maraud forward and attack while Fabinho drops deeper to shield the back line.
Zidane also knows Jordan Henderson won’t be play. The captain is very vital to Liverpool’s energetic display and unwaverging belief. Once Jordan is inspired it transcend to the rest of the team.
Liverpool’s central defenders are average and they will certainly struggle against Madrid attackers– Van Dijk alone would’ve have stopped Toni Kroos lobby pace to Vinicius Jr either on the air or physically outmuscle the Brazilian off the ball.
Or, he would’ve tackled him very hard and made him roll with pain which certainly will send chills down the spine of Karim Benzema and Asensio.
But without Van Dijk or Joe Gomez , it is easy for Vinicius Jr or Asensio to run through the defense and score open goals. Zidane is expecting similar scenario at Anfield.
Liverpool midfielders waste too much on the ball- Unlike the previous three seasons, Liverpool were very fast in transition and had little or no interest in playing tiki taka football.
The ball was mostly launched to Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino to finish off the chances in one or two passes and not the endless passing we begin to witness in today’s Liverpool.
Zidane knows Liverpool will take too many touches before the ball reaches goal which is enough time for his team to regroup and play low blocks/ defend deep.
Trent Alexander tendency to go forward will expose Liverpool’s fragile backline- Trent Alexander Arnold will definitely be needed to maraud forward to create chances or score goals.
Thiago Alcantara might posses the quality to distribute passes but his delivery is not as good as Trent Alexander.
Arnold swerving cross, long distance shoot and brilliant passes superceded Thiago’s intelligent distribution cause it leads to quick goals not unnessary build up plan.
But, Arnold must first play as a defender before bombing forward to attack. If he makes one mistake, Vinicius Jr will instantly capitalized.
To go through, Liverpool must win 2-0 or 4-1. This game will be tough to win but Liverpool can do it.