Two years ago, in 2018-19, Liverpool already starred in a great comeback and against Barcelona in the semifinals to reach the Champions League final that was played at Wanda and won 0-2 against Tottenham: after losing by 3-0 on May 1, 2019 at the Camp Nou in the first leg, the ‘reds’ defeated Barcelona 4-0 on 7 of that month at Anfield. A night that will never be forgotten by either Liverpool fans or Barcelona fans. In the quarterfinals of this edition of the Champions League, Jürgen Klopp’s men lost 3-1 against Real Madrid on Tuesday and dream of another comeback. Despite the differences between that ‘network’ team and the current one.
That 3-0 at Camp Nou was misleading because Liverpool played well. As is 3-1 at the Alfredo Di Stéfano stadium due to the difference between Real Madrid and the ‘red’ team. Also at Anfield it will be played without an audience. But if football is football it is because no one can rule out (or at least at Anfield) that the ‘reds’ will come back.
The absences of Van Dijk and Henderson
The absence of Virgil van Dijk, injured since October and probably out for the whole season, at Liverpool today is not only a question of the lack of defensive solidity that the Dutch center-back brings to the team, but also his leadership, his character, the mentality that since his arrival he transmitted to his companions. The downside of Van Dijk is joined by those of Joe Gomez and Joel Matip. And, in terms of leadership, Anfields miss their captain, Jordan Henderson, injured and fundamental in the middle zone.
It is always said that football is a matter of state of mind and the current one is not being Liverpool’s season. A glance at the Premier table is enough to prove it: 7th, 3 points from the Champions zone and 26 from the leader, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Two years ago, Klopp’s men, in addition to winning the sixth ‘red’ Champions League, fought until the last day for the English championship, which City won.
Key parts in low hours
Today’s Sadio Mané is not the one he was 2 years ago, when he qualified Liverpool for the quarterfinals with a double against Bayern in Munich (1-, after a 0-0 at Anfield). Neither Roberto Firmino or the same Trent Alexander-Arnold, among others, go through their best form.
That May 7 the Anfield fans drove Liverpool. Next Wednesday, May 14, the ‘reds’ will not have such an ally. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the quarter-round against Real Madrid will be played, like the first leg, behind closed doors.