We’re in to the second week of UEFA Champions League knockout action, and Tuesday evening’s fixtures will see Liverpool host Real Madrid at Anfield – while Napoli make the trip to Frankfurt’s Deutsche Bank Park. We’ve taken a look at both games, to analyse each team’s chance of success and key players to keep an eye on throughout.
Liverpool v Real Madrid
Liverpool’s form this season has been less than ideal – and the Reds find themselves lingering in eighth place in the Premier League with 22 games played. A recent resurgence has seen them earn back-to-back 2-0 wins over Everton and Newcastle, but Real Madrid pose an entirely different threat and it’ll be interesting to see how Jurgen Klopp’s side deal with the danger they present.
Real Madrid sit second in LaLiga – eight points off Barcelona who hold the top spot, and eight points clear of Real Sociedad in third. They’ve picked up 10 points from their last five games, and Carlo Ancelotti will be hoping to secure a good result on his return to Merseyside this evening.
Liverpool finished second in their group, picking up five wins after suffering a 4-1 defeat to Napoli on the opening matchday. Their opponents topped their group, narrowly beating RB Leipzig to the top spot with just a point separating the two clubs.
Real Madrid are expected to be without Aurélien Tchouaméni in the middle of the park, though Liverpool are looking forward to utilising Darwin Núñez – who appears to be fit to play despite sustaining a shoulder injury against Newcastle on the weekend. However, Real Madrid also have some serious firepower up front, with Karim Benzema looking to add to his impressive record in the Champions League.
Liverpool must secure a win tonight if they’re to stand any chance of progressing – their form so far this season has been tumultuous to say the least, and if they can’t win in front of a passionate packed-out Anfield, I don’t see how they’ll fare any better at the Bernabéu on March 15th. The Anfield faithful will no doubt be looking for revenge this evening, and the past finals will be replaying in their heads throughout.
Eintracht Frankfurt v Napoli
Frankfurt are enjoying their maiden Champions League campaign, and have progressed through to the knockout stages at the first attempt. They finished second in a group topped by Tottenham on a chaotic Matchday Six that could have seen any of the four sides qualify. Oliver Glasner’s side did well to overcome the threats posed by Sporting and Marseille, and now they reap the rewards in the form of a contest against Serie A table-toppers Napoli.
Napoli topped Group A on goal difference – finishing level on points with Liverpool, winning five of six games throughout their group. The picture is even prettier in Serie A for i Partenopei, as they sit a whopping fifteen points clear of second-place Inter. They’ve scored a colossal 56 league goals this season, and all but one have come from inside the box – demonstrating Victor Osimhen’s lethal finishing touch inside the area.
Frankfurt’s defence will have to be switched-on at all times this evening, as Napoli’s front three will look to pounce on any slight opportunity. Flanked by Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Hirving Lozano or Matteo Politano, Victor Osimhen will look to add to his tremendous goal tally this season – the 24-year-old Nigerian’s already bagged 19 in 23 appearances across all competitions this season.
For the hosts, their main goal threat is the French striker, Randal Kolo Muani. Having played in the World Cup final – bagging a penalty in the shootout – he certainly knows how to perform on some of the world’s biggest stages, and Oliver Glasner will hope for yet another star performance from the Frenchman.
Again, you can’t help but feel that this is a must-win game for the hosts this evening. Napoli are the most in-form team in Europe right now, and their fans will undoubtedly look to spur gli Azzurri on to victory when they play the return fixture at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium. It’s safe to say the atmosphere at the Deutsche Bank Park tonight will be heated, but Oliver Glasner’s side will feel that they can get a result – they’re at this stage of the tournament for a reason!
We’ll be live from the press box at the Deutsche Bank Park this evening to bring you the action as it happens – with live text commentary on our Twitter from 7pm UK time (8pm Europe). We’ll also be keeping you up to date with the score in Liverpool’s game!