Jamie Carragher outlines one thing Liverpool ‘have to’ do v Real Madrid


Jamie Carragher is not ruling out the prospect of Liverpool retrieving their vast deficit against Real Madrid tonight, but he believes the Reds must score first if they’re to have any hope of staying in the Champions League.

Jurgen Klopp’s side face a daunting task at the Bernabeu as they seek to preserve their European hopes after a 5-2 first leg defeat at Anfield three weeks ago.

The odds are very much stacked against us, but the 45-year-old referenced the 2005 final in Istanbul when the Merseysiders came from three goals down at half-time against AC Milan before triumphing on penalties.

Coincidentally, the Rossoneri’s manager that night was Carlo Ancelotti, who will also be in the Real Madrid dugout on this occasion.

Speaking to The Athletic ahead of tonight’s clash, Carragher called on the current Liverpool crop to summon the spirit of Rafa Benitez’ side of 18 years ago, but stressed the need to get the first goal.

He said: “The challenge facing Liverpool isn’t as big as the one facing us back then. We only had 45 minutes to turn it around from three goals down but this Liverpool team have 90 minutes. That’s why I’d still say Istanbul has the edge even if they pull this one off.

“The biggest thing is that Liverpool have to score the first goal on the night. That’s vital. They have to start fast. Pulling one back gives you belief and something to build on. That’s what happened to us with the header from Steven Gerrard.”

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It’s hard to disagree with anything Carragher says here. Yes, the task facing Klopp’s team tonight is a daunting one, and if Real Madrid were to score first then it really would seem irretrievable, but as things stand it’s not incomprehensible.

Right now, the mission is to score three goals inside 90 minutes. Just 10 days ago, Liverpool managed six goals in 45 minutes with a second half performance for the ages as they battered an in-form Manchester United.

Real Madrid don’t tend to do collapses in the Champions League, but the Reds mustn’t be daunted by the opposition. Indeed, they can take solace from the fast start they made at Anfield, going 2-0 up inside 20 minutes before the wheels came off.

A similar situation tonight would alter the complexion of the tie greatly, and even if takes until the early second half exchanges for us to break the deadlock, that could ignite something in us and give the home side a few jitters, akin to what Chelsea did in last year’s quarter-finals.

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