Soccer

Real Madrid’s defensive crisis forces changes that Liverpool forwards will love

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has been left with a defensive crisis that Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool trio of Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah will look to exploit.

Following the news that captain Sergio Ramos will miss the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final through injury, Raphael Varane tested postive for Covid-19 on Tuesday morning.

That has given their French boss a huge dilemma before their biggest clash of the season so far, and he could be forced to alter his formation to cover the gaps.

That news will come as a postive to Klopp, who is desperate for his side to prove they are still fighting for silverware following their recent Premier League struggles.

Real Madrid podcast Managing Madrid are expecting Zidane to line-up with a 3-5-2 formation that includes Eder Militao, Nacho and Ferland Mendy with Marcelo and Lucas Vazquez playing as wing-backs.

They reckon that Thibaut Courtois will play in goal, with a midfield of Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, with Marco Asensio playing behind star striker Karim Benzema.

Liverpool boss Klopp is set to stick with the front three that saw off Arsenal on Saturday, with Mane and Salah starting that game as Jota came off the bench to score twice.

The prolific forwards are likely to enjoy going up against the new-look system against the side that beat them to Champions League glory during the 2017/18 campaign.

Earlier this week Zidane was asked about the fitness of his captain Ramos, who spent time on the sidelines before picking up another knock while away on international duty.

He said: "Injuries are a part of football that we don’t like, but they happen. But, nobody is to blame here.

"We just want Sergio to recover as soon as possible, knowing the player and captain he is.

"He wants to play.”

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  • Klopp said before the encounter in the Spanish capital: “I’m not so determined to show the world how good we are or whatever. I want to show our fans that we are still fighting.

    “That is much more important to me. If people think because we don’t play a good season I am a worse manager then I don’t like that but I don’t care to be honest.

    "We had some problems that you know about, but it’s not about that.

    “We want to get whatever is possible out of this season. We’ve said it a lot of times – until a specific moment in a season you create a basis and then there is the finishing part of the season. We are in that.”

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