The Champions League returns to action on Tuesday 21st February, with a repeat of last season’s final taking place at Anfield as Liverpool host Real Madrid in the first leg of their last-16 clash.
Elsewhere, Serie A leaders Napoli travel to Germany to take on last season’s Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt, before Manchester City visit RB Leipzig and Inter Milan host Porto.
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Neither team have hit the heights of last season, with the Reds trailing Arsenal by 19 points in the Premier League, and Los Blancos languishing eight points behind their fiercest rivals Barcelona in La Liga.
However, Liverpool against Real Madrid is always a blockbuster tie, especially with this being their fourth meeting in this competition in recent seasons. Jurgen Klopp’s side have lost two finals to the record 14-time champions, as well as a quarter-final tie in the 2020-21 campaign, so they will be desperate to taste revenge against their nemesis this time around.
Having beaten Everton and Newcastle within the past week to keep their slim hopes of a top four finish alive, the hosts head into this match in a much better place than they may have feared during their terrible run of form, but it is still a little surprising to see them as short as 2.29 to win the first leg.
The draw is 3.60, with an away victory for the Spanish champions 3.00, so there may be some interest in backing Carlo Ancelotti’s side on the Double Chance (X2) market at 1.52 despite them having to overcome the famous Anfield atmosphere.
With all four last-16 ties last week seeing Under 2.5 Goals scored, this looks a strong price at 2.09. This has landed in six of Real Madrid’s eight league games since returning from the World Cup, while also occurring in three of Liverpool’s last four league matches. Klopp has clearly aimed to tighten up his defence, and there is little incentive for either manager to adopt gung-ho tactics early on in this tie.
In terms of the player markets, Vinicius Junior will be full of confidence after scoring the winner in last season’s final in Paris. Liverpool usually hold a high defensive line, and the Brazilian is the one player with the searing pace to hurt them in behind. You can back him at 3.45 to score anytime.
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