Missing Players and team news:
With Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip all occupying spots in the long-term section of Liverpool’s infirmary, inexperienced duo Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak must prepare for another taxing evening against Zidane’s bright attacking crop. Jordan Henderson is not ready to make his comeback just yet either, and fellow midfielder Curtis Jones sat out the win over Aston Villa as a precaution due to a muscular problem, but he should be in the squad this week. Origi is an expert in Anfield comebacks against Spanish powerhouses, but the Belgian striker’s torrid season continues as he remains sidelined with a muscle injury of his own, while Sadio Mane was benched at the weekend so will return to the first XI here. Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota continue to battle for the final spot in Klopp’s formidable front three – the Portuguese was trusted from the first whistle in the first leg but Klopp may opt for a more creative flair in Firmino this time around. The final spot in Liverpool’s midfield three is also up for grabs, as the experienced James Milner and Thiago do battle for the chance to start against the 13-time winners, and it would not be a surprise to see the former get the nod in the absence of Henderson. With Dani Carvajal (hamstring), Ramos (calf) and Varane (coronavirus) already missing, Real Madrid have been dealt a further injury blow in defence after it was confirmed that Lucas Vazquez’s issue in El Clasico was more serious than initially feared, and the makeshift right-back could be out for the season after a cruciate ligament sprain. Having just recovered from a problem of his own, Alvaro Odriozola – usually nothing more than a fringe player – is therefore likely to be handed the daunting task of keeping Mane quiet on Wednesday. The unlucky Federico Valverde also re-entered the treatment room during El Clasico, but the Uruguay international has a chance of recovering from a bruised foot in time for the second leg, although it will still be too soon for Eden Hazard to take to the field. Casemiro’s sending off at the weekend means nothing for the Champions League, and with Valverde now considered a doubt, Marco Asensio is sure to return to the first XI as he aims to build on his strike from the first leg. The veteran Luka Modric chalked up an assist for Vinicius Junior’s second goal on the night in the first leg, and the Croatian midfielder could make history for Real Madrid if he sets up a goal for the fourth time in a row in the Champions League this week.