Football

Real Madrid coach Zidane reacts to drawing Liverpool in Champions League

Los Blancos will face Jurgen Klopp’s side in the last eight of Europe’s top continental club competition, setting up a rematch of the 2017-18 final

Zinedine Zidane says that Real Madrid’s upcoming Champions League quarter-final clash with Liverpool will be “demanding”, regardless of the Reds’ current woes in the Premier League.

Los Blancos have been drawn against Jurgen Klopp’s side in the last eight of Europe’s top continental club competition, setting up a rematch of the 2017-18 final over two legs.

The English champions, who succeeded Madrid as title holders in 2019, have won only four top-flight games since the start of the year, but Madrid’s manager has warned that his side will not be taking their opponents lightly.

What has Zidane said?

“We know the difficulties of a game against Liverpool,” the Frenchman told his pre-match press conference following Friday’s draw, ahead of a trip to Celta Vigo in La Liga.

“We cannot say that it is a bad draw or that it is a good draw. Liverpool are a team that, in a tie, can play their ace at any given moment. But that is the same as us.

“It will be a good match between two teams that have won many Champions League trophies between them. At this level, it is always very difficult to win.”

The bigger picture

Madrid’s ultimately comfortable progression against Atalanta in the last 16 mirrored that of Liverpool against RB Leipzig, a marked contrast to the topsy-turvy seasons both have endured on the home front.

But whereas Los Blancos have rallied from being also-rans behind neighbours Atletico Madrid to mount a genuine title defence, the Reds have seen their hopes implode since the festive period.

The Champions League – the first honour both Zidane and Klopp claimed in charge of their respective sides – not only remains the only silverware Liverpool are competing for but possibly their only passage back into the tournament next term, as they currently sit sixth in the Premier League.

Madrid however remain competitive on the home front, just six points off Atletico with under a dozen games to go – and with Diego Simeone’s side likely to be reeling from a dull exit against Chelsea in Europe themselves.

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