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Real Madrid vs Liverpool: 5 key battles to watch out for | UEFA Champions League

Real Madrid v Liverpool
Real Madrid v Liverpool
Joshua Ojele
ANALYST
Modified 06 Apr 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

UEFA Champions League quarter-finals fixtures are set to get underway as Real Madrid and Liverpool lock horns at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.

This is the first leg of the two-legged tie, and both sides will be aiming to grab a win and place one foot firmly in the semi-finals.

Real Madrid finished first in Group B with 10 points and secured a 4-1 aggregate win over Serie A outfit Atalanta in the round of 16.

Similarly, Liverpool finished top of Group D with 13 points and progressed into the quarter-finals after a comfortable 4-0 aggregate win over RB Leipzig in their round of 16 tie.

Real Madrid and Liverpool now square off for the first time since their 2018 meeting in the final of the same tournament and this promises to be a heated contest.

In that encounter, Real Madrid came out victorious with a 3-1 win to grab their fourth Champions League title on the bounce.

However, since then, both sides have seen changes to their squad and will be aiming to progress into the next round of this tie.

Liverpool have struggled in the Premier League this season and will prioritize winning the Champions League to make up for their poor domestic run.

Real Madrid are still in the La Liga title race, but they will aim to do the double, making this clash a highly anticipated one.

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On that note, we will look at five key battles that could determine the outcome of the game on Tuesday.

Real Madrid vs Liverpool: 5 key battles to watch out for

#1 Raphael Varane vs Diogo Jota

Diogo Jota has been in great form
Diogo Jota has been in great form

In the absence of Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid will rely on Raphael Varane to lead and orchestrate their back-line against Liverpool.

The Frenchman has been a key figure for Real Madrid this season, featuring in 27 of the Galactico’s 29 La Liga matches.

He has been arguably Real Madrid’s best defender this season as he averages 3.6 duels, 3.7 clearances and 1.7 interceptions per game in La Liga.

Diogo Jota has been one of the standout performers for Liverpool this season.

The Portuguese has settled brilliantly in the Liverpool attack since completing his move from Wolverhampton Wanderers in the summer.

Jota has scored eight goals in 13 appearances for Liverpool this season and with Firmino currently struggling to find his feet, Jota could be in line to start on Tuesday.

With Ferland Mendy taking on Liverpool’s star Mohamed Salah down the left flank, that leaves Raphael Varane faced with handling the threat of Diogo Jota.

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#2 Ferland Mendy vs Mohamed Salah

Ferland Mendy will have to be aware of Salah
Ferland Mendy will have to be aware of Salah's movement

This is one of the most anticipated winger-fullback contests in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.

Mohamed Salah has been Liverpool’s shining light amidst their struggles this season.

With Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino struggling in front of goal, Salah has shouldered the club’s goalscoring responsibilities.

The Egyptian is currently second in the Premier League scoring charts with 18 goals. He has also bagged five goals so far in Liverpool’s run to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.

Salah will spearhead Liverpool's attack on Tuesday and will be up against Ferland Mendy on the left side of the Real Madrid defense.

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The former Lille man has been ever present for Real Madrid this season and his impressive defensive contributions have been vital in Madrid’s hunt for the La Liga title.

To limit Salah’s impact on the game, Mendy will need to be at his absolute best.

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Published 06 Apr 2021, 09:00 IST
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