Sport Reasons for Liverpool to be cheerful ahead of visit of Real Madrid
Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp senses Real Madrid have come at perfect time
He had spotted the question early - 'would you ever have regrets about not managing Real Madrid in his career?' - and was ready to have some fun. Klopp was ready to engage.He had spotted the question early – 'would you ever have regrets about not managing Real Madrid in his career?' – and was ready to have some fun. In recent months, such an inquiry would have received brusque short-shrift but, this time, Klopp was ready to engage.
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.
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Here, Sportsmail takes a look at the reasons to be optimistic from a Liverpool point of view as they look to write another memorable chapter in their European history.
INJURIES PILING UP FOR MADRID
They may have defeated their arch rivals Barcelona over the weekend in LaLiga, but it wasn't all pure elation for Madrid and their manager Zinedine Zidane.
The Spanish giants are now without right back Lucas Vazquez, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season after sustaining cruciate ligament damage in his left knee against Barcelona.
Vazquez has been one of Madrid's most consistent performers this season, beginning the campaign as a right winger but finishing it at right back in the absence of the still not fit Dani Carvajal.
Dalglish has not given up hope on Liverpool in Real Madrid tie
Dalglish has not given up hope of Liverpool staging another Anfield comeback in the Champions League against Real Madrid and winning another Istanbul final, saying: 'Maybe romance is not yet dead.'The former Liverpool player and manager believes the Reds face a tougher task against Real than they did in overturning a three-goal deficit to beat Barcelona in the 2019 semi-finals, and not just because the match will be played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Spaniard has joined Carvajal, captain Sergio Ramos - who is continuing to recover from a calf injury - and former Chelsea star Eden Hazard on the sidelines for the Anfield encounter.
To make matters worse for Madrid, German midfielder Kroos' fitness is a concern too ahead of the second leg having experienced 'some discomfort' before being withdrawn in the 72nd minute against Barcelona.
Kroos was key to Madrid's fortunes in the Spanish capital last week against Liverpool, and Zidane will be praying his ever-reliable midfielder wins his fitness battle.
So with experienced players out, most notably Ramos and perhaps Kroos, can Liverpool capitalise on Madrid's injury woes?
MADRID AT THEIR LIMIT...
Madrid boss Zidane has admitted he is worried about his side's injury crisis ahead of the business end of the season - with his team still in contention for Europe's biggest prize and the LaLiga crown.
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Kenny Dalglish is not giving up hope that Liverpool can reverse their fortunes in the Champions League quarter-finals against Real Madrid.Los Blancos were a class above Jurgen Klopp's men in Tuesday's first leg in the Spanish capital, Madrid running out 3-1 winners with Vinicius Jr scoring twice and Marco Asensio also on target.
After El Clasico victory, the Frenchman even admitted that his Madrid side are in danger of blowing themselves out before the season reaches its climax.
'I don't know how we are going to end the season because physically we are at our limit,' Zidane said after the 2-1 win on Saturday night.
'We are hanging in there but we are struggling to finish games at the moment. We are at our limit.'
And with things taking their toll within the Madrid camp, this could perhaps be a key area for Liverpool to exploit on Wednesday night.
One of Liverpool's key traits under Klopp is their relentless pressing from the front, and the Reds will be determined to suck the life out of Madrid at Anfield.
MORALE WILL BE HIGH FOR LIVERPOOL
It has been a rollercoaster of a season for Liverpool after relinquishing their Premier League crown ever so tamely, but the Reds have still shown signs they will not go down without a fight.
After producing a dominant display in the 3-0 victory over Arsenal on Easter weekend, they followed that up with a dramatic last-gasp victory over Aston Villa in the Premier League.
Klopp is chasing perfection ahead of second leg against Real Madrid
By the reckoning of Jurgen Klopp, only perfection will do if Liverpool are to turn around their tie with Real Madrid on Wednesday. These next couple of training sessions need to be pretty decent, then. For now, more than usual, perfect is just an illusion. It has been close at points in the two seasons before this one, but these days at Anfield, not so much.Beating Aston Villa was important, no doubt about that, and likewise the breaking of two embarrassing streaks whereby Liverpool had neither won nor scored from open play at home in league games this calendar year.
That is two wins on the trot in the English top flight as they desperately look to secure their spot in the top four come the end of the season.
And the victory over Villa at Anfield will have done Klopp's side the world of good, giving them the confidence they desperately need at the moment - while keeping some sort of momentum going.
Two setbacks in a row against Madrid and Villa would have damaged the Reds even more ahead of what many view as an almost impossible European task.
But the last-gasp Premier League win will have kept Liverpool's belief alive that they can pull off another great European comeback at Anfield.
CONFIDENCE BOOSTER FOR TRENT
Just like Liverpool's season, Trent Alexander-Arnold's form has been up and down throughout and his recent snub by England came as a hammer blow to his Euro 2020 hopes.
After a brilliant display against Arsenal at the Emirates, where he delivered a fantastic cross for Diogo Jota's opener, he produced the perfect response to Gareth Southgate and his critics.
But then he endured a night to forget in the Spanish capital last week as Madrid's attack ran Liverpool's defence ragged during the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie.
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DOMINIC KING: Klopp was devastated about the damage that had been inflicted to Manchester City's coach three years ago. He will be hurt deeply by the latest attack.'I feel embarrassed,' Klopp hissed. 'I don't have the words. It is idiots in this situation. How can you do that? It is not a little bit funny. You give this opportunity to the people to create something wonderful but the people do not understand the rules.
However, he put that performance behind him by playing a starring role in the victory over Villa - scoring a superb curling effort in the 91st minute past Emiliano Martinez from the edge of the penalty area to secure the three points.
The last three matches has somewhat summed up his season - failing to string together a consistent level of performance - but the right back will be hoping his heroics against Villa can finally push him forward again.
The 22-year-old's confidence has taken a real hit in recent times, but there would be no better time for him to rediscover his mojo than against Madrid.
Alexander-Arnold will be required to keep Madrid's threatening attack quiet throughout on Wednesday, while also delivering the goods going forward with his superb array of passing. He will need to produce the perfect performance.
... AND MADRID ARE STAYING AT THE TITANIC!
If you are one who reads much in omens, then perhaps you should take a look at this...
For their trip to Merseyside, the Spanish giants have decided to stay at the four-star Titanic Hotel on Stanley Dock.
The Madrid squad were filmed arriving at their luxury accommodation on the eve of the heavyweight European clash.
And ironically when Madrid take on Liverpool on Wednesday night, it will be exactly 109 years to the day since the Titanic - the largest ocean liner at the time - tragically sunk in the North Atlantic Ocean after hitting an iceberg.
Madrid will be hoping that headline writers all over Europe don't have a field day come the late hours of Wednesday night.
???????????? ¡Llegada al hotel de concentración en Liverpool!— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid)
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