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Real Madrid vs Liverpool – Analysis, Prediction, Team News

Wednesday 15th March 2023
20:00 GMT
Santiago Bernabéu Stadium

As part of our Champions League predictions, we take a look at the second leg of the round of 16 tie between Real Madrid and Liverpool. Real Madrid demolished Liverpool 5-2 in the first leg from 2-0 down. Game over? Read on with our Real Madrid vs Liverpool prediction.

Real Madrid


5-2 (A)


5-1 (H)

RB Leipzig

3-2 (A)


1-1 (A)


2-1 (H)


Real Madrid

5-2 (H)


2-0 (H)


3-0 (A)


7-1 (A)


2-0 (H)

Real Madrid vs Liverpool Match Preview

While we predicted goals in our Liverpool and Real Madrid preview for the first leg of their round of 16 Champions League knockout tie, we can be forgiven for not predicting that Real would hit Liverpool for five, especially after being 2-0 down within 15 minutes. Despite this fantastic start, once again, defensive errors were made and the midfield as a unit was guilty of not providing protection to a rattled Liverpool back four once Real started to claw their way back into the match. After halftime, Real Madrid were brutally efficient in attack as has been their trademark for much of the last 10 years, and they take a three-goal cushion back to Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

As is often the case in football, a great performance and result doesn’t always carry over into the next few games, and the hosts failed to show the same clinical streak in a 1-1 draw with 10-man Atletico in the Madrid derby. While Real Madrid struggling to score in their next match against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey wouldn’t normally raise much of an eyebrow – the manner in which it happened did. Real had 65% possession and 0 shots on target as a Xavi-coached Barcelona side took their chance and won playing reactive football.

Once again, Ancelotti’s men failed to find the target away in La Liga, this time to Real Betis. 62% possession and 15 shots on goal was only rewarded with chances created to the tune of 1.32 xG, as their hosts for the evening held on for a well-earned draw. A 3-1 victory over Espanyol was earned only after going 1-0 down and then, 71% possession and 22 efforts on goal yielded 1.75 xG. It’s not that Real Madrid didn’t deserve to win, nor do we ignore the fact that better players tend to outperform their individual xG stats as they’re more capable of finishing difficult chances (and also more prone to taking them on) – it’s that there’s a trend of them falling behind and generally not creating clear cut opportunities as you might expect from a team that defeated Liverpool 5-2 at Anfield.

Liverpool responded to their shocking five-goal capitulation at Anfield with a remarkable second-half display against Manchester United that will be remembered for years, if not decades to come. A ridiculous turn of events after a well-contested first half saw Klopp’s men run riot; 41 second-half minutes produced six goals for an eventual 7-0 victory. This magnificent victory came on the back of a disappointing 0-0 draw away to Crystal Palace – who despite their poor points return of late are difficult to score against, and an encouraging 2-0 home victory over Wolves. Our writing staff were torn between a score draw and a narrow victory for Liverpool over United, yet they made a mockery of both predictions.

Therefore, it’s of little surprise to anybody who has been following the game intently for a lengthy period of time that they would fail to beat Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium. While we speak in jest – we thought like pretty much everybody else that Liverpool would win comfortably – the sad truth of the matter is that Bournemouth were good value for their win. Not a sad truth for Bournemouth’s players, coaching staff and fans I’m sure, but for a side coming into a massive CL knockout tie at 5-2 down, it wasn’t quite the confidence booster they were hoping for.

Team News

Injuries and Suspensions

Real Madrid:

Might Not Play: Mendy

Will Not Play: Alaba


Might Not Play: Keita

Will Not Play: Diaz, Gomez, Ramsay, Thiago

Real Madrid vs Liverpool Lineups (Predicted)

Real Madrid (4-3-3): Courtois; Camavinga, Rudiger, Militao, Carvajal; Tchouameni, Kroos, Modric; Vinicius Jr., Rodrygo, Benzema

Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson; Robertson, Konate, Van Dijk, Alexander-Arnold; Fabinho, Bajcetic, Henderson; Salah, Gakpo, Nunez

Real Madrid vs Liverpool Lineup
Liverpool vs Real Madrid Lineup

Real Madrid vs Liverpool Analysis

Liverpool Must Go For It

In this preview’s edition of state the obvious, we note that Liverpool need to claw back a three-goal deficit and worse, that will most likely entail scoring more than three goals – and that’s just to take the game to extra time. The only way that Liverpool can realistically do this is if they start aggressively. They need to press aggressively as a team from the first whistle, and they need to play the first 20 minutes as if they’re looking to salvage a result at the end of a game where they’re behind.

There are two scenarios at play here; either it works, and Liverpool can score twice in quick succession for instance in order to make a real game of it from that point onwards… or Real Madrid do what they do best by using that opportunity to transition directly and accurately to their danger men in Vinicius Jr., Benzema and Rodrygo. When it comes to knockout football, that’s quite a trio to have at your disposal and Liverpool would be playing on a knife edge by adopting such an approach.

However, at 5-2 down the time for caution has long passed, and frankly, it wouldn’t damage their reputation beyond the ‘hilarious bantz’ brigade if they went for it, were punished for being too open and then went quietly into the night. While they could approach this with a more passive outlook, perhaps hoping to take a 1-0 lead into the break and build from there, it’s unlikely on balance that Liverpool have the ability to go to the Bernabeu and calmly play Madrid off the park for a 3 or 4 nil victory. They’ll have to cause chaos and take the game to them.

Real Can Afford to be Reactive – Initially at Least

Looking at this from the other side, it’s clear that Ancelotti’s men can defend in numbers while still retaining a massive threat on the counter. That’s because this Real Madrid side are superb in transition. In fact, their performances in front of goal have suffered lately while playing more ball-dominant football. While they’re not the best (but not a poor team by any means) at adopting a more measured, possession-based approach to constructing their attacks, they excel at quick thinking and positive distribution in the middle of the park owing to the presence of Modric and the recently returned Toni Kroos who should be available to start here.

They’ll know that Liverpool will be leaving gaps at the back as they look to hurt Real Madrid as quickly and as often as possible. Liverpool’s best chance in this fixture is to score a couple of quick goals (as they did in the first leg) for the shock value and then regroup to try to play a bit more cautiously if they’re getting caught out at the back. We don’t expect that Real will take the game to Liverpool from the off because that approach could yield the unwanted consequence of giving Liverpool the room they need to launch direct attacks.

Therefore, Real Madrid can retain their attacking threat without playing too much in the way of proactive football. They don’t need to condense the space in the opposition half, overload in wide areas or play with a high line of engagement for the press because they’re 5-2 up. While they will try to avoid being too passive as the possibility of conceding a couple of goals changes the complexion of the game completely, we don’t think Real will open up and try to make this an end-to-end contest if possible.

Our Prediction

Now, Liverpool could easily make a mockery of this, score two quick goals to make it 5-4 on aggregate and set up a monumental battle for a quarter-final place between two of the game’s most storied clubs. However, we simply can’t ignore how often and how easy it was for Real Madrid and Vinicius Jr. in particular to attack directly, efficiently and often.

To draw an analogy, it would be akin to backing Manchester United to defeat Liverpool a couple of weeks after their embarrassing 7-0 hiding at Anfield. When we factor in the desperate need for Liverpool to chase the game from the first whistle, it’s not difficult to envisage a situation in which Real get themselves a couple of goals from these situations and can then shut the tie down. We back Liverpool to make a real go of it – for a while. Then Real will get their noses in front and the rest of the evening should be a little dull by contrast.

Real Madrid 2-1 Liverpool

Real Madrid vs Liverpool – Real Madrid Odds:


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