Sport Benzema: Real Madrid must treat every game like a final in LaLiga title race
Who's best equipped to lift LaLiga title in one of closest races ever?
PETE JENSON IN SPAIN: Sportsmail takes a look at which team is in the best shape to take the title, following Real Madrid's vital victory against Barcelona in El Clasico on Saturday night.After Real Madrid's 2-1 win against Barcelona on Saturday night, Zinedine Zidane's side are now joint-top with city rivals Atletico on 66 points, with Barca a point behind.
Karim Benzema expects the title race in Spain to go down to the wire, meaning Real Madrid must treat every remaining LaLiga fixture as if it were a final.
Atletico Madrid at one stage in the season held a commanding lead at the summit, but Diego Simeone's side have now won just four of their past 10 fixtures, allowing their rivals to close the gap.
Barcelona sit second - just a point behind Atleti in the standings - having produced a 19-game unbeaten run since a shock 2-1 defeat away to Cadiz on December 5, 2020.
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However, Madrid have already beaten their Clasico rivals once this season, the reigning league champions triumphing 3-1 at Camp Nou. A similar result on Saturday in what Benzema describes as "the greatest game in the world" would see them climb above Barca.
"There are still quite a few games to go," Benzema told LaLiga World.
"I think this league is going to go down to the wire, because it's still very competitive. We've got to treat every game as if it were a final."
On the fixture itself, he said: "In my opinion, El Clasico is the greatest game in the world. Not just for me but for everyone. There's an incredible history between the two clubs, it's always a key game.
"As always, it's going to be a tough match against a team who like to have the ball. But we also like to have the ball.
Benzema matches Ronaldo scoring run as Militao proves his value to Madrid
Real Madrid followed up a home win over Liverpool by beating Barcelona, thanks in part to Karim Benzema and Eder Militao.A 2-1 triumph over Barcelona sees Zinedine Zidane's side take over at the top of the table. Their stay at the LaLiga summit could only last 24 hours - long-time leaders and noisy neighbours Atletico can go back above them if they take a point from their game in hand - but, make no mistake, Los Blancos are in the thick of a three-way title race.
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"I think a lot of the game will take place in the middle of the park. But just like when we played at Camp Nou, we've got to go all out to win because this is a final for us.
"They love to have possession, they've got a good keeper [Marc-Andre ter Stegen] and then they've got [Lionel] Messi. He is so important for Barcelona in every way. We've got to take care because he's very dangerous indeed."
Having scored 21 goals to help his team secure the title in the 2019-20 season, Benzema already has 18 in 25 league appearances this term.
The Frenchman is averaging a goal every 122.4 minutes in the competition during the campaign, while he has also provided six assists.
While Messi tops the scoring charts with 23, the Barca talisman has only managed one more goal in open play (17 to 16) than Benzema, who is playing with a freedom on the pitch that has benefited both him personally and also the team.
Reasons for Liverpool to be cheerful ahead of visit of Real Madrid
Liverpool will have to defy the odds once again in Europe on Wednesday night if they want to secure their passage to the Champions League semi-finals. Jurgen Klopp's side are on the brink of crashing out of Europe following a tame 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the first leg of the quarter-final tie in the Spanish capital last week.Vinicius Junior and Marco Asensio were on the scoresheet for Los Blancos as they put one foot in the semi-finals. But Madrid will know that Liverpool have been here before, most recently when they stunned Barcelona at Anfield after a 3-0 deficit from the first leg at the Nou Camp two years ago.
"I don't know if it's my best season. Every year I start from zero and aim to do better than the previous campaign," Benzema said.
"I'm on a good goal-scoring run and hope to keep it up, keep helping out my team, putting points on the board, keep winning games.
"But the most important thing is winning those games. I feel free on the pitch. I do what I like on the field, I help the team set up moves and I finish them."
Benzema has scored at least one goal in each of his past six LaLiga games - he could become the fourth Real Madrid player to find the net in seven or more in a row in the competition in the 21st century, following in the footsteps of Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo, who achieved the feat four times, and Gareth Bale.
Zinedine Zidane's Madrid can also make it three wins in a row against Barcelona for the first time since 1978; they have not done the league double over their opponents since the 2007-08 season.
Zinedine Zidane caught grinning after Casemiro gets revenge on Milner .
While it was a fantastic night at the office for Real Madrid, it appeared there was one moment in particular which especially pleased their manager Zinedine Zidane.After doing the damage in the first leg of the quarter-final tie in Madrid winning 3-1, the Spanish giants stayed resolute to grind out a goalless draw at Anfield to boost their European dreams even further.