Liverpool travels to Madrid to play against Real Madrid for the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 encounters on Wednesday night. Real Madrid holds a big advantage after securing the first leg 2-5 at Anfield, and the return leg seems destined to be in Los Blancos’ name. Liverpool destroyed Manchester United 7-0 in the Premier League and most recently lost 1-0 to Bournemouth. The Reds have had many gaps in their performances and do not look complete this season. Real Madrid pulled off a comeback victory from 2-0 down in the first leg and proved that Liverpool are a team that can easily be exploited this season. Below, we take a look at some of the stats that depict what the first leg looked like and comprehend how the return leg could play out.
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 overall stats than Liverpool in more areas. Notably, the English team leads in terms of crosses, high-pressing success, and recoveries. Alternatively, there are a few indicators in which the La Liga side holds the advantage, such as goals, shots, possession rate, and expected goals.
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.
Performance in attack in the first leg
The above visuals depict both teams shot maps from the first leg. Los Blancos took a total of nine shots, of which six were on target and five of them found the back of the net. They ended the match with an overall xG of 1.56 compared to 0.17 xG per shot. They scored all five from inside the box. There were a few errors from Liverpool’s defence, once during a corner when an unmarked Militao poked in a free header. Both keepers also made errors in front of the goal, which helped the opponents score. Liverpool took seven shots, finding the target four times, and managed to score twice. They ended the game with an overall xG of 1.95 compared to 0.28 xG per shot. They scored both goals from near the six-yard box and managed to hit the target from a long distance on one occasion.
The above two visuals represent the penetrating carries made by Real Madrid and Liverpool, respectively, in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 ties.
Los Blancos made a total of 14 runs into the penalty area in the match, and most of their success came down the left flank, courtesy of their Brazilian superstar. Vinicius Junior was a constant threat down the left and wreaked havoc on the Liverpool backline, managing to force an error from Allison. 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.
The Reds made more than double that of the visitors from Spain at Anfield in the first leg, with the team managing to make a total of 34 penetrating carries into the box. Despite all their efforts, the team could not find the finishing touch and was easily exploited at the counter. 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.
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 averages 4.1 dribbles and 2.2 crosses in the current UCL campaign.
Meanwhile, 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 (4.61 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 23 shots in the current campaign, most of them from inside the box.
Los Blancos head into this one without David Alaba, who is expected to sit this one out. While the rest of the team is available for Carlo Ancelotti.
Meanwhile, Klopp will travel to Madrid without the likes of Luis Diaz, Thiago Alcantara, Calvin Ramsay, and Joe Gomez.
Overall, Real Madrid are the favourites to grab a win and move on to the next stage of the tournament. Liverpool are surely not the team they were a couple of years ago and are much less feared. Real Madrid, despite their turbulent form this season, are always up to the task on the biggest stage of all.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine