One of the key problems for Liverpool in the tie at Anfield against Madrid was the porous nature of the host’s midfield. Rodriguez was given freedom to drift wherever he liked, whilst Kroos and Modric had little pressure on them when in possession. It was neither a pressing game, nor a defensive approach, it was somewhere in the middle unfortunately for Liverpool.
Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling will play just in front with the hope being that the pair can be influential on the counter-attack, and it is worth noting that Coutinho did cause Madrid some problems a fortnight ago – the Brazilian found pockets of space in behind Kroos due to the German’s lack of mobility.
Despite Daniel Sturridge having flown to Madrid with the Liverpool squad, there is very little chance of him making his return. Mario Balotelli will again be trusted as a lone striker and it may well be the case that tomorrow is the perfect scenario for him. He will not be expected to take part in Liverpool’s linkup play, his role will be to hold up possession and be in and around the penalty area when any chances arrive.
It will certainly be interesting to see if Liverpool can find a way of frustrating Madrid’s attack and succeeding in the final third by utilizing Balotelli’s individual strengths.