Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema controls the ball during the Champions League, round of 16, second leg soccer match between Atalanta and Real Madrid at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
- Two of the most successful sides in European Cup history meet on Tuesday, with 19 titles between them
- Real Madrid host Liverpool in the first leg of this quarterfinal, their first meeting since Real won the 2018 final
- Read on for a full preview, odds, and the best bet for Tuesday’s Champions League quarterfinal encounter
Of the four Champions League quarterfinal ties starting this week, none come anywhere close to the championship pedigree of the two clubs who will take the field at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium on Tuesday. When Real Madrid vs Liverpool kicks off at 3:00 pm ET, it will be a clash of cultures, multi-million-dollar lineups and a combined 19 Champions League/European Cups between the pair.
Both sides are the reigning domestic league champions in Spain and England, respectively, although Liverpool’s chances of defending a first league crown in 30 years went out the window sometime around Christmas. On the other hand, Real are very firmly in the hunt for a 35th La Liga title, unbeaten in 11 games and now just four points behind city rival Atletico Madrid at the top of the standings. In addition, both have recently tasted success in this competition, with Real clinching a hat trick of titles with their 3-1 over Liverpool in the 2018 final, with the Reds getting in the winner’s enclosure the following year with a 2-0 win over Tottenham.
Real Madrid vs Liverpool Odds
|Matchup||Spread||Moneyline||Total at DraftKings|
|Real Madrid vs Liverpool||RM +0.5 (-186) | LIV -0.5 (+155)||RM +175 | LIV +155
|Ov 2.5 (-125) | Un 2.5 (+102)|
Odds as of Apr 5
As you might expect of two teams with a combined 19 titles in this competition over the years, there have been a number of prior meetings between this pair of European giants.
Most recently, of course, they met in the 2018 final, where Real Madrid emerged with a 3-1 victory following a controversial early ‘tackle’ by Sergio Ramos on Mohamed Salah, some dodgy goalkeeping from Liverpool’s Loris Karius and that goal from Gareth Bale.
That showpiece was the sixth meeting between the sides, a history that also includes clashes in the 2014-15 group stage, the 2008-09 round-of-16 and the 1981 final, won by Liverpool courtesy of a single goal from Alan Kennedy. In all, the record stands at three wins apiece, each with seven goals scored. The last time the two met in a two-legged knockout tie, Liverpool won the first leg in Madrid, before handing Real their heaviest Champions League defeat with a 4-0 thumping at Anfield as the Reds cruised through.
Real Record of Success
If history is any guide – other than actual Champions League wins – then Los Blancos are in a good spot. Zinedine Zidane’s team is in the quarterfinal stage of this tournament for the 36th time, and boasts an enviable record on their first 35 appearances, winning 29 and losing just six.
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) April 4, 2021
The Spanish giants also have a long record of success against English clubs, having won eight and lost five of the 13 two-legged ties they have contested. Madrid had won three such ties in a row before falling to Manchester City at the round-of-16 stage. That tie also saw a first-leg home loss inflicted on Madrid, just the third time it has lost at home to an English team. Otherwise, its home record against English clubs is a very respectable line of eight wins and six draws.
📍| Real Madrid were 13 points behind Atletico Madrid in January, and have now cut the lead to only 3 points.
No team in La Liga history has ever won the league after being 13 points behind the leader. pic.twitter.com/rtb104ak9D
— Madrid Zone (@theMadridZone) April 4, 2021
However, Madrid have been anything but dominant at home in the Champions League recently. Real have won just six of their last 10 at home, and have won just six of their last 12 Champions League games in total.
Reds Returning to Form
Liverpool’s first defense of an English league title in 30 years has been anything but successful, with a litany of injuries, poor form and startlingly bad home form.
A memorable opener tonight 👌 pic.twitter.com/Rzo8ramr1c
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 3, 2021
But having ridden out the storm, the Reds are returning to some semblance of form, most notably in Saturday’s convincing 3-0 win at Arsenal, a victory which takes them within touching distance of the top four in the Premier League. That came on the back of Jurgen Klopp’s team easily dispatching RB Leipzig in the round-of-16, with a pair of 2-0 victories wrapping up a comfortable aggregate victory.
Liverpool have now won their last three away games in the Premier League.
✅ 2-0 vs Sheffield United
✅ 1-0 vs Wolves
✅ 3-0 vs Arsenal
3 games, 3 wins, 3 clean sheets.
— EPL Statman (@EPLStatman) April 3, 2021
As it stands, Liverpool have won seven of their last eight games away from Anfield, and have posted clean sheets in their past five games away from home as well.
However, while the club has won 15 of its last 23 European fixtures, it has won just two of its last 12 against Spanish opposition, losing eight of those contests.
Real Madrid vs Liverpool Stats
|5-2-1||2020-21 Champions League Record (W-L-D)||6-1-1|
Injuries All Round
While Liverpool’s injury list is well documented, including the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and captain Jordan Henderson, Real Madrid have been hampered of late with a list of their own. As a result, captain Ramos will miss both legs of the tie with a calf complaint, while playmaker Eden Hazard is out for Tuesday’s match as well.
For this first-leg, I’m predicting a tightly contested draw.
Pick: Draw (+245)
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For the last 20 years, Paul Attfield has worked in sports media. Starting out in his native Britain with the likes of The Independent, he eventually switched continents, with his work appearing in the likes of the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Yahoo Sports since.