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Liverpool logo
Champions League | Round of 16 | 1st Leg
Feb 21, 2023 at 8pm UK
Anfield
Real Madrid logo
Liverpool
2 - 5
Real Madrid
Nunez (4'), Salah (14')
Elliott (90+3')
FT(HT: 2-2)
Junior (21', 36'), Militao (47'), Benzema (55', 67')
Junior (60')

How Real Madrid could line up against Liverpool

How Real Madrid could line up against Liverpool
© Reuters
Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at how Real Madrid could line up for Tuesday's Champions League last-16 first leg against Liverpool.

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti is expecting Karim Benzema to be fit for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Liverpool at Anfield on Tuesday.

The 2022 Ballon d'Or winner was left out of the squad for Saturday's La Liga win over Osasuna due to muscular fatigue, but he is not thought to be carrying a serious injury and was only absent for precautionary reasons.

Benzema should therefore return to the final third and take his rightful place at the tip of the attack over Rodrygo, while Mariano Diaz is out with an unspecified injury but would have never started anyway.

Federico Valverde has developed a taste for goals this season - scoring his 12th of the season on Saturday night - and he should link up with Benzema and Vinicius Junior, who netted the winner against Liverpool in last year's Champions League final.

However, midfield is where the bulk of Ancelotti's selection concerns lie, as Toni Kroos and Aurelien Tchouameni both missed the win over Osasuna due to illness, and neither man has made the squad here.

While Valverde could be utilised in a deeper role, Dani Ceballos has stepped up to the plate in recent weeks, and the ex-Arsenal loanee can feel hopeful of joining Eduardo Camavinga and Luka Modric in the engine room.

With left-back Ferland Mendy facing several more weeks out with a thigh issue, David Alaba should line up on that side, while Dani Carvajal is confirmed to be starting over Nacho Fernandez on the right flank.

Thibaut Courtois - who made nine saves in last year's final - had struggled with a hamstring injury prior to the weekend, but he was passed fit to start against Osasuna and ought to be protected by Antonio Rudiger and Eder Militao at Anfield.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Alaba; Ceballos, Camavinga, Modric; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius Jr

> Click here to see how Liverpool could line up for the first leg

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Karim Benzema in action for Real Madrid on October 5, 2022
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