| 6.4°C Dublin

euro dream Liverpool have to call on the ghosts of the past to create an unlikely Champions League finale


Close

Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid takes down Liverpool’s Mo Salah.

Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid takes down Liverpool’s Mo Salah.

Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid takes down Liverpool’s Mo Salah.

Revenge is a dish best served cold and I hope Liverpool's players remember that when they take on Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final.

It wasn't just the fact that Real Madrid beat Liverpool in the final of the 2018 competition that was hard to take, but more the manner of how they did it, as the whole game swung on Sergio Ramos's infamous downing of Mohamed Salah.

Ramos admitted after the game that he didn't hold back as he yanked Salah's arm and took him out of the game, with the outcome massively helping Real Madrid to get their hands on the trophy.

It was a nasty moment from a player who will do anything to win and Liverpool fans will never forget what happened that night in Kyiv.

While Liverpool eased their pain by winning the Champions League a year later, the sight of Ramos and his Real Madrid team arriving at Anfield should inspire the Liverpool players who suffered at their hands three years ago.

Inspire

If I were Salah, my motivation to get revenge would inspire me going into this rematch and the whole team need to use whatever method possible to find a way to win.

This Real Madrid team are not as good as the side that beat Liverpool three years ago and equally, Klopp's side are not the outfit they were a year ago after a slump in form over the last few months that has been alarming.

Close

Liverpool's Fabinho.

Liverpool's Fabinho.

Liverpool's Fabinho.

Yet as the draw was made for the final rounds of the Champions League on Friday, it felt like a light emerged at the end of Liverpool's tunnel. I'd say this game against Real Madrid is a 50/50 contest and if Liverpool were to get through, they would have a chance in what is likely to be a match against Chelsea in the semi-finals.

The fact that Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are all in the other half of the draw is a massive bonus for Liverpool and when you break it down and say they need three wins and a couple of draws to win the Champions League, it suddenly feels possible.

Yet that is not taking into account the massive holes in their make-up that have been exposed during what has been a traumatic opening few months of 2021.

Losing six home matches in succession is a run I never thought I'd see from a Liverpool team in my lifetime, but it's in the record books now and these players will forever be tarnished by it. The end result is Anfield has become a problem for Liverpool -and I never thought I'd be writing that in my Sunday World column.

During this miserable run of form, they have looked decent away from home and they had a major result by playing both legs of their Champions League last-16 tie against RB Leipzig away from home in Bucharest.

If there is any way we can get both legs of the Real Madrid tie moved to a neutral venue, Klopp would jump at that opportunity right now.

It's such a shame that we are looking at Anfield in this manner as if the stadium was full and Real Madrid came to town, it would be a massive advantage for Liverpool.

We've seen the world's best players and some great teams crumble when that Anfield roar leaves them dazed and Ramos is very lucky that the Liverpool fans won't be able to let him know what they think of him in this quarter-final.

The other reason why I wouldn't back Liverpool to win the Champions League is their defensive issues that have only been covered up and not solved.

Ozan Kabak and Nat Phillips have looked decent in the last couple of matches and having Fabinho back in front of them in his midfield role will certainly help to stabilise the team.

Yet defending against Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski, PSG's Kylian Mbappe and Manchester City's dynamic midfield is the ultimate test and there have to be doubts over whether they can handle it at that level.

For me, Chelsea look better placed to get to the Champions League final from the half of the draw Liverpool find themselves in as Thomas Tuchel has solved their defensive problems and they look to have real momentum behind them.

One thing we cannot predict this season is what happens next as this entire season has been strange from the off and part of that is due to the game being played inside echoing empty stadiums.

So can Liverpool win the Champions League?

Unlikely, is the best way I would describe that dream - but it is not impossible.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Sunday World


Top Videos





Privacy