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Jurgen Klopp says “it’s not likely, but possible” for Liverpool to overcome Real Madrid in their Champions League clash this evening.
The Reds travel to the Spanish capital for the second leg of their round of 16 encounter, having lost the first leg 5-2 at Anfield last month.
The hosts flew into a 2-0 lead after just 14 minutes thanks to goals from Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah, but the visitors quickly turned on the charm to dramatically turn the match on its head.
Klopp reveals chances of progressing
Despite the heavy odds against Liverpool, manager Klopp remains somewhat upbeat going into the game. The German says his club will give it their all, but is fully aware of just how special their opponents are.
Real Madrid are serial winners in the Champions League, lifting the trophy five times in the last 10 years. Their latest victory came against Klopp’s men last year.
“I said three weeks ago, Madrid with their result are through to the next round,” said Klopp, as per BBC Sport. “Now we are here three weeks later and we know there’s a game to play.
“If there’s only a 1% chance, I would like to give it a try. We’re here to play an extremely strong opponent and try to win the game. As difficult as it is, it’s not likely, but possible. For that, we are here, we’ll see where it leads us to.”
Reds midfield duo ruled out
Liverpool’s task has been made even more challenging after it was revealed that young midfielder Stefan Bajcetic – who had looked set to start the game – has been ruled out with a thigh injury.
Also missing this evening will be captain and fellow midfielder Jordan Henderson, who is unavailable due to an illness. Thiago and Naby Keita are also out with a groin injury and a knock respectively.
It means the Reds are extremely light in midfield, not for the first time this season. It could open the door for on-loan man Arthur, who made the bench in Saturday’s loss to Bournemouth after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
The Brazilian, who is on loan from Serie A side Juventus, has featured for just 13 minutes for Liverpool since making the move to England in September. Those minutes came in the club’s Champions League opening group match, a 4-1 loss at Napoli.
Ancelotti offers Klopp insight into Real mentality
Klopp’s side go into the game on the back of a hugely disappointing 1-0 loss at Bournemouth, typifying just how poor the Reds have been away from home this season.
Madrid meanwhile defeated Espanyol 3-1 at home, but manager Carlo Ancelotti is taking nothing for granted against the Premier League side. Star striker Karim Benzema, who scored a brace in the first leg, is back in contention after missing the weekend win over Espanyol.
“The message is quite simple: not to assume,” said Ancelotti. “The players understand that I think it will be an open match as Liverpool come here trying to change the dynamic.
“We have to do both things, attacking and defending, properly. We will not just defend, we are thinking about the attack.”
⚪ #UCL matchday in Madrid 🔴#RMALIV | #WalkOn pic.twitter.com/fApDDo3xKN
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 15, 2023