Real Madrid vs Liverpool: Salah can help Reds grab first-leg draw

Egyptian star has a score to settle with the Spaniards and is worth a bet to grab a vital away goal in Tuesday's quarter-final first leg.

When: Tuesday, April 6, 20:00 BST

How to watch: BT Sport 2

Best bets

1-1 Draw at 6/1 (BetVictor)

Karim Benzema to score first at 19/4 (Unibet)

Mo Salah to score anytime at 11/8 (Unibet)

Follow the Real Madrid vs Liverpool game in our score centre

Real Madrid, the record-breaking 13-time winners, obviously deserve huge respect whatever team they send out in this competition. But there are signs of wear and tear. Real topped Group B but hardly set the world alight with three wins, a draw, two defeats and a goal difference of just +2.

They were more sure-footed in the last 16 when beating Atalanta 4-1 on aggregate and winning both legs - 3-1 at home and 1-0 in Italy.

As for La Liga, they're on a run of three straight wins although two of those came against Elche and Eibar - two teams who reside in the bottom four.

That puts them in second place, three points behind Atletico Madrid, so the domestic title is certainly within reach again. A key fixture comes this weekend when they take on Barcelona (one point behind Real) so that is certainly a distraction as it falls bang in the middle of the two quarter-final ties against Liverpool.

There are a couple of other negatives for this opening clash too.

Firstly, they play it away from the Bernabeu as the nearby Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium hosts. Secondly, they're without centre-back Sergio Ramos. Yep, him! The man who became public enemy No.1 for Liverpool fans after he ended Mo Salah's night in the 2018 Champions League final when wrestling the Egyptian to the ground.

Last three meetings:

Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool (May 26, 2018)

The 2018 Champions League final won't be forgotten quickly. Salah was in sensational form heading to Kiev but lasted just 30 minutes after Ramos' dark arts did for him. Still 0-0 after 51 minutes, the second half became an unfolding nightmare for Reds goalkeeper Loris Karius as his poor throw out was diverted into the net by Karim Benzema before he let a Gareth Bale hit-and-hope squirm through his fingers late on to seal Liverpool's fate. Sadio Mane had prodded in an equaliser after 55 minutes but Bale had restored Real's lead with a worldie overhead kick which, to be fair, Karius could do nothing about.

Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool (November 4, 2014)

A game that played a part in Brendan Rodgers' eventual downfall as he severely narked Liverpool's established stars by sending out a heavily weakened team. For the record: Mignolet, Kolo Toure, Manquillo, Moreno, Skrtel, Lallana, Lucas, Allen, Can, Borini, Markovic. That line-up smacked of damage limitation and lack of ambition and even though Liverpool only lost 1-0 to a 27th-minute Benzema goal, there were wider ramifications. It's not every day you get to play in the Bernabeu and bringing on Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho late on did little to appease their frustration.

Liverpool 0-3 Real Madrid (October 22, 2014)

Liverpool had lost Luis Suarez and their joie de vivre after just missing out on the title in 2013/14 and they were outclassed here. The rampant Reds had destroyed Real 4-0 in the previous Anfield meeting in 2009 but this time they were 3-0 down after 41 minutes following an opener from Cristiano Ronaldo and a Benzema double. Also going down like a lead balloon was Mario Balotelli swapping shirts with Real defender Pepe as they walked off at the interval. He was substituted at half-time. Yep, not exactly one of those legendary European nights at Anfield.

Head-to-head

Liverpool wins: 3

Draws: 0

Real Madrid wins: 3

Liverpool scored: 7

Real Madrid scored: 7

Liverpool have found solace in Europe

While Liverpool's title defence was imploding with a string of miserable defeats at Anfield, they still had some mojo in Europe.

Last 16 opponents RB Leipzig had reached the semis last season and looked well equipped to get the better of the toiling Reds.

But Jurgen Klopp's men outplayed them in both legs, winning 4-0 on aggregate after a pair of 2-0 victories.

Both were played away from home due to COVID restrictions and, as Liverpool showed against Arsenal at the weekend, they're enjoying the freedom of the road.

Earlier in this competition, the Merseysiders went to Italy and thrashed Atalanta 5-0 thanks mainly to a Diogo Jota hat-trick and they won more points on their travels (seven) than at home (six) in topping the group with 13 points.

After what's been a sustained wobble, Liverpool have now won three straight and, continuing the theme, all were away from Anfield.

They've each been achieved with clean sheets (2-0 vs Leipzig, 1-0 at Wolves and 3-0 over Arsenal) so the incredibly unlikely centre-back pairing of Ozan Kabak and Nat Phillips is doing a sterling job.

Being protected by Fabinho is a big help and the previously leaky Reds have now conceded just two goals in their last six matches in all competitions.

Liverpool's last five results:

Liverpool 0-1 Chelsea

Liverpool 0-1 Fulham

Liverpool 2-0 RB Leipzig (Salah, Mane)

Wolves 0-1 Liverpool (Jota)

Arsenal 0-3 Liverpool (Jota 2, Salah)

Scoreline prediction: Real Madrid 1-1 Liverpool

Liverpool will be fuelled by revenge after that Champions League defeat three years ago - the manner of it was unsatisfactory and this tie smacks of settling unfinished business.

Intent is one thing, but do Liverpool have the form to back it up? A few weeks ago that would have been 'no' but after three straight wins and an impressive set of results on the road they look primed to give Real a big run for their money on Tuesday night.

Zinedine Zidane's side have had their troubles too but, like Liverpool, come into the game on an uptick in form. It all makes for an intriguing first leg.

Style-wise, Liverpool could be dangerous opponents for the hosts though. Madrid have plenty of nous and experience but could be caught on the break. The absence of Ramos will also make them more vulnerable.

For that reason, I think Mo Salah jumps off the page as a good goalscorer bet. He'll be desperate to put one over Madrid after the injustice of 2018 and, more practically, he scored in both legs against Leipzig as well as the 3-0 win at Arsenal so has a spring in his step again.

Salah will also be on penalty duties which helps. He's 11/8 with Unibet to find the onion bag.

But Real rarely fail to score and this is clearly a step up for Liverpool's young centre-backs.

In which case the obvious Real Madrid scorer candidate is Benzema.

The wily French striker has scored four times in his three meetings against Liverpool and goes into this one in red-hot form. Benzema has scored in each of his last seven games, twice scoring braces.

I'll take him to score the first goal of the night at 19/4 with Unibet.

So, one for Benzema, one for Salah and that equals a 1-1 draw at a best price of 6/1 with BetVictor.

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