Real Madrid will face Liverpool in the first leg of the quarterfinals of the Champions League on Apr. 6, and they will be the favorites, given the Reds’ recent spiral due to injuries. Of course, Madridistas have become quite familiar with the injury bug in this grueling 2020-2021 season. But the good news is one of their most significant injuries should be healed up by the time the first leg kicks off.
According to a report from Mario de la Riva of AS, Dani Carvajal is returning to training and looks set to return for Real Madrid’s first game after the March international break against Eibar on Apr. 3. Thereafter, he should be ready to start against Liverpool.
Dani Carvajal was injured earlier this season, returned in February, and then reaggravated the injury after less than a half-hour of action against Valencia. Lucas Vazquez has filled in capably for Carvajal, though the defensive impact is felt. Real Madrid are a much better team defensively when Carvajal is in the lineup. Vazquez works hard but is not a true right back, and he struggles against certain players, such as Yannick Carrasco in the most recent El Derbi.
Liverpool have one of the best left wingers in the world in Sadio Mane, who is so good that Real were reportedly interested in him. Having Carvajal back to help defend against Mane is vital, because Mane is one of the most intelligent and hard-working attacking players in the world. Real need Carvajal to keep up with Mane in a chess match, because an inexperienced right back like Vazquez could get toasted.
Real Madrid need Dani Carvajal to help stop Sadio Mane
Mane has seven goals and four assists in the Premier League this season, as well as 1.7 key passes per game, 2.7 dribbles per game, and 2.5 fouls drawn per game, according to WhoScored.com. The 28-year-old exudes excellence, and thus having Carvajal back becomes imperative for Los Merengues.
Carvajal has not even played 1,000 minutes this season for Real Madrid due to recurring injury issues, so Madridistas can only hope he will play in the Champions League quarterfinals without any setbacks between now and then. Real must carefully monitor the star right back, who has shown throughout the years that there is nobody more well-rounded or more experienced in the big games at the right back position.
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So don’t underestimate the boost Carvajal can give to Real in this Champions League tie. He is a game-changer defensively and even offensively, given he is more consistent than Vazquez with his touches in the final third and deliveries. But it is the defensive impact that will matter the most against Liverpool.