The stage of the Champions League is ready for new football matches, including the visit of Liverpool in Madrid, scheduled for Tuesday. The champions of England and Spain, who together have 19 titles from the Old Continent, although they are far from the desired results in the current season, are always among the candidates for the highest ranking on the international scene.
And before tomorrow's match, Rafa Benitez gave a statement. Benitez is an experienced strategist and during his rich career, he sat on the benches of Real and Liverpool. "Both teams are good and there is no favorite for me.
I think Liverpool will try to do what works best for them: pushing, pushing whenever they can, and if Real wins the ball fight, Liverpool will focus on quick counterattacks." "That is what they did against Leipzig in the last two games: a counterattack in the first game and high pressure at Anfield brought two victories.
They will try to do it again," the Spaniard is convinced. After years in which Liverpool recorded very good results and decorated the season with Champions League and Premier League trophies, the current one looks bad, considering that the title in the domestic championship has already been practically dropped, and Benitez revealed the main causes of the results below expectations.
"This season was special for everyone. The virus made the pre-season harder and changed the way all coaches and players train and work." "There were more injuries and the way we traveled also changed. In short, everyone suffered one way or another, and in addition, Liverpool has very important players who are injured.
" Although they are still a competitor for the throne in Spain and Europe, Real also showed instability and oscillations in the current competition year. "Real had their stages, as often happens in all teams."
"They went through problems, Real lagged behind Atletico in the Primera, but then their performance improved. When you have good players, you usually return to the level during the season."
The upcoming duel for Benitez was an occasion to remember the 1/8th finals from the 2008/09 season, in which he directed a convincing victory for the English team (4: 0) to advance to the next phase.
"Those were unforgettable days for us. In a short time, we beat Real Madrid 1-0 and 4-0, Manchester United 4-1, and Aston Villa 5-0. Real Madrid won several games in a row and we came out on the field with Gerard recovering from injury, so we decided that the plan for the first game should be defensive and counter-attacking with a 4-2-3-1 formation."
"The key was faith in ourselves and in our collective organization. In the return match, with Gerard who was already in good shape, we could have played the same, but we decided to use our good moment at Anfield and started the attack from the first minute."
"Our intensity, speed, the pace of play, and balance between the lines were crucial and Madrid had no chance. It must also be added that Casillas was the best guest player, so he prevented an even more convincing victory. "