Having watched the two respective Champions League semi-finals involving Real Madrid and Liverpool, I think it’s safe to say defending isn’t a skill either side are very adapt at.
Real Madrid conceded 3 goals against Bayern Munich over their two legs, which doesn’t tell the true story as there could and should have been a lot more success for the Germans. While Liverpool conceded a massive 6 goals against Roma, although in defence of Klopp’s men, there was a couple of questionable penalties included.
Popular betting offers suggest that bookies and punters alike are expecting plenty of goals when Madrid and Liverpool meet in Kiev at the end of the month. Over 2.5 Goals (90 mins betting only) is only 1/2, Over 3.5 Goals is at 6/5, and Over 4.5 Goals is 3/5, all of which suggests they are expecting goals.
It’s not all been doom and gloom at the back for Liverpool in this season’s Champions League though. In fairness to Klopp’s side, they defended brilliantly against the free scoring Manchester City in the 1st leg of their quarter-finals, although they more than rode their luck during the second leg at the Etihad.
Even so, the way Liverpool put their bodies on the line in the 3-0 1st leg win, showed that they can defend resolutely when required. Although to counter that argument, they were all over the place in the last 10 minutes of the 1st leg against Roma, letting on 2 late goals to give Roma hope. They were then no better throughout the whole of their second leg, while conceding another 4 goals.
Madrid will sense opportunities against Liverpool. Both centre back Dejan Lovren, and goalkeeper Loris Karius, look to have mistakes in them. Full backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson both look like great prospects, but Alexander-Arnold is vastly inexperienced, and is likely to be targeted by Madrid. While Robertson is great at going forward, but is far from the finished article when it comes to defending.
Liverpool will also be looking to exploit Real Madrid weaknesses. Left back Marcelo – similarly to Andrew Robertson – is far better going forward, than he is at defending, and he is far more cavalier than his Liverpool contemporary, at times completely abandoning his defensive duties.
In the midfield area Madrid may have the far superior ball players in Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, but they can also be a touch negligent when it comes to defensive responsibilities – this could be an area Liverpool will be looking to exploit on the counter attack with the explosive running power of Salah, Firmino and Mane.
The Liverpool midfield has a totally different remit, with the discipline and work rate of James Milner and Jordan Henderson, providing cover to their defence, unlike Madrid.
There are plenty of strengths and weaknesses on both sides. Neither side totally convinces, and it could come down to tactics, big game experience which would suit Madrid, work rate which would probably favour Liverpool, or just some good old fashioned fortune on the night, when it comes to picking a winner.
The match is being played at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine on Saturday 26th May, the match kicks off at 7.45pm, UK time.
Madrid are the favourites to lift the trophy (by any method) at 8/11, Liverpool are 11/10. In 90 minutes betting, Black Type have Madrid at 6/5, with Liverpool at 15/8, and the draw at 13/5.
No major surprise to see that Ronaldo is the 3/1 favourite in First Goalscorer Betting, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah isn’t too far behind at 7/2.