Real Madrid: Why Liverpool is a favorable draw, but not an easy one

Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images) /

Real Madrid fans have learned their beloved team’s opponent for the Champions League quarterfinals, Liverpool, with the first leg set to take place on Apr. 6 and the second on Apr. 14 – a Clasico sandwiched in between.

Compared to the other possible opponents Los Blancos could have drawn, the Reds are a comparatively less daunting task. PSG and Bayern were finalists last year, and, purely in terms of form, Manchester City look like the best team in the world right now. Even Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea can be dangerous in the Champions League, given Chelsea’s recent resurgence under Thomas Tuchel and the presence of Erling Haaland in the latter’s side.

Liverpool achieved much more success than either the Blues or Black and Yellows in the previous two seasons, but the 2020-2021 has been an entirely different story for Jurgen Klopp’s men. Like Dortmund a handful of years ago, Liverpool are hobbled by injuries and seem burned out on the pitch. But even that version of Dortmund was still passable in the Champions League, and this version of Liverpool has the talent to stay alive in this competition.

No draw against the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane can be said to be easy. Liverpool are not the same team that won this prestigious competition two years ago, competed in the finals against Real Madrid in the previous year, and won the Premier League in dominant fashion last season. But they are, nonetheless, a powerhouse with a few legitimate superstars, even if their central defense is a shell of what it once was.

Real Madrid are just as unpredictable as Liverpool

Real Madrid are, themselves, volatile. Just look at what we have seen in the 2020-2021 Champions League campaign alone. Los Blancos dominated Atalanta, Inter Milan, and Borussia Monchengladbach. But they also lost twice to Shakhtar Donetsk and stumbled against Gladbach and Atalanta in unconvincing performances, needing late-game heroics to avoid setbacks.

You never know which Real Madrid you’re going to get. The same can be said for Liverpool. Even so, Real have shown they can withstand injuries better than the Reds, and they have more proven Champions League commodities in legendary fixtures like Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Karim Benzema. That core quartet is capable of anything.

Liverpool will give everything they have, though. And they will not be easy to knock out, especially since Klopp knows he must go all-in for this competition. Personally, he also knows that this is his chance to remove the criticism that his teams – whether Mainz or Dortmund in the Bundesliga – flounder and burn out.

Again, it will be no walk in the park for Los Blancos. It will, however, be a less onerous task than facing PSG, Bayern, or City. And based on recent form, Chelsea seem like tougher customers than the Reds, judging by what they did to La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid.

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That means, of course, Madridistas will have high expectations for their team. The semifinals are within reach, and so are the finals, since Real will avoid facing either PSG, Bayern, or City if they make it to the next round. But they will have to go through Liverpool first before they can think of anything else. You can bet the Reds will be ready to give them the fight of their lives. It is a fight Real must win, if they are to remain a truly feared team in Europe.