This evening sees one of the juiciest fixtures of the group stages hit our television screens when Real Madrid travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool.
After a shaky performance against league strugglers QPR on Sunday many people have tipped the Spanish giants to bowl over the 2005 Champions League winners tonight with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez deemed too strong for Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge.
However, we at Talking Baws actually believe last season’s Premier League runners up can win against Madrid and here are four reasons why.
By Scott MacArthur – @scottmacarthur8
1. The Anfield Atmosphere
Without a shadow of a doubt, Anfield is one of the best stadiums in the world when it comes to a Champions League night. With only 45,500 people inside the Liverpool faithful still make themselves louder than the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United fans in their high-capacity stadiums and this usually spurs their side on to victory. Real Madrid have only played at Anfield once and they were thrashed 4-0 by the home side. We can’t see a repeat of that scoreline tonight, however, the Kop may just witness their team taking an extremely valuable three points.
2. Mario Balotelli
The Liverpool striker has had a pretty poor start to his career on Merseyside (and that’s putting it nicely) so it’s about time he starts to prove his worth and where better to start than against one of the best teams in the world. The Italian striker is known to perform better against the bigger clubs and if he can keep his temper when faced against Pepe then Mario may just turn Super after all.
3. Three out of Three
These two clubs have incredibly only faced each other three times in the Champions League with tonight’s hosts coming out on top every time. Liverpool lifted the European Cup in 1981 after defeating Real 1-0 thanks to an Alan Kennedy goal in the second half and when the teams faced each other in the last 16 of the competition back in 2009 Liverpool won 5-0 on aggregate defeating their opponents 1-0 in the Bernabeu before defeating them 4-0 back at Anfield.
4. No Gareth Bale
There’s no doubt Liverpool will be slightly nervous about the prospect of facing Cristiano Ronaldo, however, I’m sure the news of Gareth Bale’s absence will have made them feel slightly better. The Welshman has been in sizzling form this season for Los Blancos with seven goals and four assists in 15 appearances and despite still having the power of Ronaldo, Benzema and Rodriguez, Madrid will still miss their £85million man.