Liverpool vs Real Madrid – Match preview and team news

Anfield is the setting for one of the most intriguing match-ups of the Champions League group stage, as defending champions Real Madrid face five-time winners Liverpool.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers knows he must be tactically spot on for this encounter, with concerns continuing to surround his leaky, vulnerable defence which was bullied at times by Queens Park Rangers at the weekend. Another dilemma for the Northern Irishman is whether to start with Mario Balotelli, who has been under-fire in recent days due to his poor form since arriving from Milan.

With the exception of the win at Tottenham at the end of August, Liverpool’s performances have been below-par throughout the campaign so they must raise their levels here against such formidable opponents. Play like they did at Loftus Road, and Cristiano Ronaldo and co could ruthless expose their deficiencies.

Raheem Sterling came good towards the end against his former club and having been linked with a move to the Bernabeu, this could be a chance to prove himself against the best in Europe. Having lost in Basel in their last Group B game, Liverpool must take something here, but it is a tough ask.

And Real could hardly be in better form, with five consecutive La Liga wins lifting them up to third behind Barcelona and Sevilla ahead of Saturday’s El Clasico. The goals are flowing at an ominously regular rate, with Ronaldo having broken a record by hitting the net 15 times in eight league outings.

Liverpool are still without striker Daniel Sturridge, while Rodgers could bring the likes of Joe Allen and Alberto Moreno back into the starting XI. The visitors are unable to call upon Gareth Bale, who has a thigh problem, and defender Sergio Ramos.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Liverpool vs Real Madrid

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