Real Madrid: Expectations for each player in the second leg at Liverpool

Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois (Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Thibaut Courtois (Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Ferland Mendy
Real Madrid, Ferland Mendy (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

CB Ferland Mendy

With Lucas Vazquez out, Real Madrid may have to roll with a back three out of necessity. Ferland Mendy played very well in El Clasico at left back, stifling the opposition defensively as he usually does.

He did pretty well against Mohamed Salah in the first leg, all told, and he’ll want to be at his very best defensively at center back in a “back three” if that is indeed the move from Zinedine Zidane. As we have seen earlier this season, specifically against Getafe, Mendy can be great in this position.

CB Nacho Fernandez

Nacho has been exceptional whenever Sergio Ramos is out. He played a clean game against Liverpool in the first leg and was steely in El Clasico, serving a crucial leadership role as Real Madrid held on for a third straight win over La Blaugrana.

More of the same will be needed from Nacho this Wednesday night at Anfield. Real Madrid need to be perfect when playing out of the back, and they will likely need Nacho to make more direct interventions defensively against a Liverpool attack that will surely be significantly more potent in a do-or-die game with two goals separating them from Los Merengues on aggregate.

CB Eder Militao

Eder Militao is good-to-go after seemingly having a limp during El Clasico. It’s been a tough season for Real Madrid with injuries, but Militao, thankfully, doesn’t appear to be one of the casualties heading into the second leg of the quarterfinals.

Last Tuesday, Militao was one of the heroes for Los Merengues, playing shutdown defense and only really making one mistake, which was in the build-up to Liverpool’s lone goal. Militao has his youthful errors, but he is, as a whole, one of the most talented young defenders in Europe. At times, he looks world-class on the ball. His battle with Sadio Mane will be one of the big storylines of the game, and he’ll need to keep being a composed presence at the back for his club.