The 2022/23 Champions League season has been full of intrigues and drama. It is a competition that has thrown up enough surprises that would be missing in a blockbuster Hollywood series, yet there is the feeling that more drama will still unfold. Some top teams have found themselves on the receiving end of bad results.
For instance, no one ever thought Paris Saint-Germain would finish second in a group that includes Juventus, Benfica and Maccabi Haifa. Neither did anyone expect the Bianconeri would drop down to the Europa League. Perhaps the most surprising is Barcelona, who did a 1-2-3 in its group. The Catalan giants drew one, won two and lost three games, with their only victories coming against Viktoria Plzen.
With Barca in the Europa League, the draws for the Champions League have also been interesting. It makes one believe there is a scriptwriter behind these draws. How do you explain PSG drawing Bayern Munich, perhaps the toughest pick in the pot, or Real Madrid up against Liverpool for the umpteenth time? Jurgen Klopp is confident of a better result against Los Blancos this time.
Klopp is optimistic about the tie against Real Madrid
Real Madrid and Liverpool are paired in the Champions League for what perhaps seems a game we’ve seen far too often. Los Merengues have come out tops in five of their last six encounters with Liverpool, recording only one draw. Fate has drawn them together again in the Champions League round of 16, and Liverpool would look to exact some revenge on the Spanish giants.
Despite history not favouring the Reds, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is optimistic of a fair outing against a team that has become their nemesis in recent years. Real Madrid has beaten Liverpool in two finals in the last five years and also recorded a quarter-final victory over the Reds.
According to Klopp, Liverpool has played Real Madrid in a couple of finals recently, but it is not so often the two have met in a two-legged affair. The German tactician said that fans can now look forward to that happening.
Klopp cautiously told the Liverpool website that Real Madrid has the best European record, but that of Liverpool is not shabby either. He expects Anfield to play its role in seeing Liverpool scale through against the Spanish giants.
A poor season for Liverpool
Liverpool finished second behind Napoli in their group in the Champions League. It allowed them to be paired with the defending champions in the last-16 draw on Monday. Despite their poor record against Real Madrid, Klopp is looking forward to two memorable meetings with the side managed by Carlo Ancelotti.
On Sunday, Liverpool won their fifth game of the season and their first away win in a 1-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur. The Reds sit eighth on the Premier League log and are 15 points off league leaders Arsenal. They have managed just five wins in 13 matches and look anything but a top-four team t the moment.
The World Cup coming up gives the Anfield side some time for a breather as they restrategize ahead of the season.
Klopp believes it is a good draw and fancies Liverpool’s chances against Real Madrid. Klopp must reckon that Real Madrid has won all three Champions League encounters against Liverpool when facing them as European champions.
Former Real Madrid striker Emilio Brutagueno believes Real Madrid can handle the pressure of being considered favourites.