Liverpool plays against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 at Anfield in the first leg.
Liverpool finished second in their group stage, behind Napoli, and Real Madrid finished on top in their group stage, ahead of RB Leipzig.
The Spanish side has been in good form and has lost only three games in La Liga this season. The English side has had a turbulent domestic season and hasn’t enjoyed a favourable season in the Premier League, having lost seven of 22 matches.
The two sides have locked horns plenty of times over the past few seasons, and Liverpool are winless against Real Madrid in their last six meetings and have drawn one and lost five.
It is yet another heavyweight tie in the competition, and all eyes will be on this one. Below, we compare the stats from their current European campaigns.
Comparison of the team’s performances
The viz above shows the percentile rank of both teams’ stats compared to each other as well as to other teams in the UEFA Champions League 2022–23. It can be seen that Real Madrid has better stats than Liverpool in terms of passing and possession. Notably, the visitors have a slight upper hand in terms of shots and xG but are beaten in goals per 90. Alternatively, there are a couple of departments where the hosts have similar stats, such as opposition entries per 90, and are ahead in the high pressure and recoveries per 90 departments.
Real Madrid maintains 58.38% possession and attempts 665.33 passes on average with an accuracy of 90.6%. They make 72.67 recoveries per 90 minutes. Whereas, Liverpool keeps the ball for 56.1% of the match on average, attempting 525.17 passes with an accuracy of 85.4%. Additionally, the Reds make 86.83 recoveries per match.
Liverpool have taken a total of 100 shots in six UCL matches and scored 17 goals. They accumulated 13.01 xG and scored a few goals from inside and near the six-yard box. The xG map above shows that the Premier League side has attempted most of their shots inside the penalty box but has also shown a desire to shoot from distance. The Reds have scored 2.83 goals per match, averaging an xG of 2.3. They take 16.83 shots per match with a 46.5% accuracy rate.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, have taken 107 shots and scored 15 goals with an xG of 12.89. They have also scored one penalty. The Spanish club has scored a few goals from inside the six-yard box and three right from the edge of the penalty area. They scored at the rate of 2.5 goals per match while averaging 2.53 xG. Real Madrid averages 18.33 shots per game with a 40% success rate.
Gameplay with the ball
The above viz depicts the ball progression made by Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League 2022–23. They generate 3.33 counterattacks per 90, with 39.96% of them ending in shots. They perform 35.67 positional attacks per 90, with 28.5% ending in shots. Additionally, they make 80.83 progressive passes per 90 with 83.5% accuracy. It can be seen that most of their intensity is on either flank, and the team doesn’t use the central regions to progress forward as frequently. Also, the team largely depends on the attacking channel available down the left flank, with more attempts and success in terms of dribbles.
In terms of attacking moves, Real Madrid creates 36.67 positional attacks per 90, with 29.5% ending in shots. The team makes 1.5 counterattacks per 90 minutes, with 66.7% of them ending in shots. Additionally, they made 77.83 progressive passes per 90 with 86.1% accuracy in the 2022–23 UEFA Champions League. It can be seen that the team makes progress up the pitch by using wider areas and also generates attacking moves through the central zones. Madrid also have plenty to show near the half-line, with quite a few successful runs in the middle third.
The two visuals above compare both teams based on their defensive territory on the pitch. The Reds have made 36.83 interceptions compared to 40.33 by the Spanish side. The visitors have also taken more defensive action inside their box compared to the hosts. Overall, Liverpool makes 11.17 fouls per match, compared to the 7.0 made by Madrid.
Additionally, it can be seen that the Premier League side has a similar backline in comparison with Real Madrid and has made fewer interceptions in the box as compared to the Spanish side.
Mohamed Salah will be expected to lead the attack for Liverpool. He is the top scorer from the English side in the UCL and has scored seven goals (3.34 xG) in the Champions League. Salah poses a natural attacking threat, and the Madrid defenders will have the task of keeping him at bay. He has scored most of his goals from the right and has taken 20 shots in the current campaign, most of them from inside the box.
Meanwhile, Vinicius Junior has been one of the top contributors for Real Madrid this season. He has five goal contributions for the La Liga side in the Champions League, netting four and providing three assists. Liverpool players will have the task of nullifying the Brazilian winger’s presence in the final third. He is menacing down the left flank and has made 30 penetrating carries in the current UCL campaign.
Liverpool are expected to be without the injured Luis Diaz, Ibrahima Konate, Thiago Alcantara, and Calvin Ramsay. Apart from these four players, the remainder of the squad should be ready to go.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid are likely to miss the services of midfield duo Aurelien Tchouameni and Toni Kroos through injury. Additionally, Ferland Mendy and backup striker Mariano Diaz will stay out due to the same. Other than these absentees, the rest of the players will be available for selection.
Liverpool vs Real Madrid will be one of the biggest matches of the UEFA Champions League round of 16. The Reds will have the advantage of playing at home in this first leg and will be motivated to register their first win against the Spanish side in a long time. Real Madrid, on the other hand, will give their maximum effort to carry forward a positive result from Anfield to Bernabau for their return home fixture.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine