Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has identified two key Real Madrid players that the Reds will need to keep quiet this evening.
Liverpool face Real Madrid in a challenging Champions League quarter-final tie in Spain tonight, coming up against the team that beat them in the 2018 final.
Writing in a column in the Times, Benitez singled out Real Madrid midfield duo Luka Modric and Toni Kroos as two players Jurgen Klopp’s side will need to keep quiet this evening.
Kroos and Modric have been key players for the Spanish giants for a number of years now and both were instrumental to Real’s success in the Champions League during that final victory over Liverpool three years ago.
Benitez believes the likes of Thiago Alcantara and Georginio Wijnaldum will need to be on their game to prevent Kroos and Modric from finding Karim Benzema in the Madrid attack.
“Modric and Kroos are very quick-thinking players and if they keep the ball, they can find Benzema. But if Liverpool can stop Kroos and Modric playing, denying them the chance to pass to the Frenchman, Real will have problems,” Benitez said.
“Jurgen Klopp rotates in midfield within games but, usually, Georginio Wijnaldum and Thiago Alcantara, more than Fabinho, are the ones who have to be on top of Kroos and Modric all the time.
“One of Liverpool’s weapons will be the intensity with which they play because if they allow their opponents time on the ball then they will be in trouble.”
Benzema has been in fine form this season but he may struggle to get service if the Reds can effectively nullify Modric and Kroos, who are both among the finest creative midfielders in Europe.
This is now the only trophy Liverpool can play for this season after a difficult campaign in the Premier League, so they’ll want to get their tactics spot-on.
Having won the European Cup in 2019, Liverpool will surely still believe they have it in them to go all the way again if they can get a good result in Spain tonight.
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