As Liverpool leaves the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night, the odds are against them.
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Jurgen Klopp’s team was on the verge of elimination after Real Madrid’s 5-2 victory in the first leg at Anfield three weeks prior—worst Liverpool’s defeat at home in the Champions League. The champions of Europe, three goals up in their own stadium, against a team humbled by lowly Bournemouth last weekend. The tie ought to be finished by now, according to logic.
Yet, Liverpool is competing in the Champions League. On the big stage, they have pulled off a couple miracles when everything seemed lost. What can be taken away from those brave acts that became part of Anfield folklore?
How do you do the seemingly unachievable?
The 2005 final in Istanbul saw the biggest comeback of them all, and Jamie Carragher was a part of it. After a discouraging first 45 minutes, Liverpool trailed AC Milan 3-0. But, they fought back to force overtime and then maintained their composure to win on penalties. Carlo Ancelotti, the current manager of Real, was the victim that evening. It makes sense why he and Carragher have been beating the drum that this tie is still alive.
According to Carragher, Liverpool’s challenge isn’t as significant as the one we faced at the time. “This Liverpool team has 90 minutes, whereas we only had 45 to come back from three goals down. Because of this, even if they manage to pull this off, I’d still say Istanbul has the upper hand.
“The most important thing is that Liverpool needs to open the scoring tonight. It is crucial. They have to start fast. Getting one back provides you confidence and a foundation on which to build. We experienced that when Steven Gerrard’s header went in.
A team has only ever come back from a deficit of three goals or more from the first leg four times in Champions League history.
The most recent incredible recovery, though, came from Klopp’s Liverpool during the second leg of their semi-final matchup with Barcelona in 2019.
That is the design. They mocked the absence of Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino in the ideal display of restrained hostility.
There were unexpected heroes. The team advanced to the championship when Divock Origi, who had started the scoring, converted Trent Alexander-fast Arnold’s corner after Georginio Wijnaldum scored twice off the bench.
They are truly fucking mentality giants, which is what actually made it possible. Again, this combination of a great heart and football prowess. It’s unbelievable,” remarked Klopp.
Klopp’s abilities of motivation undoubtedly came to the fore on that occasion. He spoke to his team before the game: “What we need to do tonight I would say is impossible but, because it is you bunch, there is a chance.” The pre-game meeting took place at the city’s Hope Street Hotel.
Everything was altered by the manager’s address that morning, according to captain Jordan Henderson. “He immediately had us. I kept asking myself, “Anfield, the crowd, an early goal… maybe?,” throughout the day.
That particular night, Origi scored after just seven minutes, but Liverpool didn’t further cut the gap until the half, and Carragher feels that fact shouldn’t be ignored.
It’s not a case of going crazy and attempting to get three points right away, he explains.
“A genuinely respectable scoreline would be Liverpool leading 1-0 at the Bernabeu at the end of the first half. Remain in the tie.
Not that you should start four attackers when I say they have to really go for it; I’m primarily referring to what they do off the ball. They must exert great pressure and provoke errors. They must be combative. It is a good idea to have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. It must be kept under control.
You cannot enter the game planning how you will score three or four points. Don’t focus too much on the outcome that must be achieved, is my suggestion. a. There was a a d s.. There d s……. Madrid’s Liverpool should be the same. We represent Liverpool in Europe; perform admirably.
A further benchmark for Klopp’s Liverpool is the night of April 14, 2016, when they defeated Borussia Dortmund 5-4 on aggregate by scoring three goals in the final 25 minutes of their Europa League quarterfinal. The “Miracle of Istanbul” was mentioned by Klopp in his halftime team speech.
The coach advised us to build a memory to share with our future generations and make the fans’ night memorable. Origi declared, “We had faith in it. “We all thought it would be a special occasion when we scored the first goal.
“The manager was very calm—very calm. Big manager class would be that. He believed in us, which helped, so there was no sign of anxiety or terror. We didn’t have anything to lose.
This time, however, Liverpool won’t have a sizable army of supporters cheering them on. In fact, they only have 1,800 seats available in Madrid because of the Bernabeu’s renovation.
Real has lost by three goals at home in Europe twice this year, both in the 2018-19 campaign, which would be unprecedented on the opponent’s field (3-0 against CSKA Moscow with a much-changed team and 4-1 against Ajax in the knockout stages when they were knocked out). Barcelona defeated Ancelotti’s team 4-0 at the Bernabeu a year ago, and on four occasions this season they have given up three goals in a single game.
Real aren’t a remarkable team, says Carragher. “Chelsea visited there in a comparable circumstance during the previous season’s quarterfinals. Although it wasn’t as bad, they were 3-1 behind after the home leg. They led Real by three goals at the Bernabeu until Real rallied to win the match.
“I witnessed Manchester City in the semi-final at the Bernabeu look in control for the majority of the evening before mysteriously succumbing twice in stoppage time and losing after extra time.
Along the road, you’ll need a little luck. You need your attackers to be decisive and your goalkeeper to make big saves when it counts.
“Real enjoyed a little of luck in the first leg at Anfield. Alisson is one of the best goalkeepers in the world with the ball at his feet yet he gave them a goal at a key juncture of the game.
“It’s important to appreciate the Bernabeu experience. This venue is incredible. a unique location to play football. Get the first goal, maintain composure and self-control, and hold the tie for as long as you can.
How should Liverpool play in terms of strategy?
Ancelotti is one person who doesn’t need to be reminded of how even a lead that seems unassailable can be made vulnerable in Europe.
The Italian not only has scars from Istanbul but also more recent memories from last season, when his Real Madrid team, who had a 3-1 lead over Chelsea after the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal, fell behind Thomas Tuchel’s team 3-0 at home.
Even though Real Madrid scored two late to win the match on aggregate, Liverpool’s work is made more difficult because a 3-0 victory would just tie the score. But, there is a recent case that demonstrates three goals may be scored in Madrid.
Chelsea’s first and third goals stemmed from their capacity to drag out Real Madrid’s center-backs and expose the middle space behind them, even if their second goal came from a set piece. Tuchel’s strategy caught David Alaba and Nacho Fernandez off guard because to their lack of a recognized No. 9 and their crucial positional flexibility.
Liverpool has had difficulty opening up space behind Real Madrid. Ancelotti prepared his team to sit deep in the Champions League final from the previous year so that Klopp’s team might have the ball in front of them.
Last month, Liverpool used their own strategy to defeat Real Madrid, and it was successful for 21 minutes. They carried a threat to score goals and were fierce, aggressive, and disciplined.
Within the opening 10 seconds, defensive midfielder Fabinho applied aggressive pressure to Eduardo Camavinga high up the field, signaling their intent.
To prevent Real Madrid’s deepest midfielder Eduardo Camavinga from receiving the ball and turning when there is room in front of him.