Jurgen Klopp enters this tie in Spanish needing to clinch back a three-goal deficit but will take much hope from Rafael Benitez’ inspiring vote of confidence.
Ex-Liverpool manager Benitez knows a thing or two about European comebacks whilst managing the Anfield-based club, with a certain 2005 Champions League final springing to mind.
Liverpool find themselves in a relatively similar situation in this campaign, with a comeback of this magnitude a tall order for any side.
The Spanish mastermind spoke to the Times ahead of this highly anticipated clash between two of Europe’s biggest clubs.
“All hope is not lost – I should know” Benitez said, as he referred to that infamous night in Instanbul, 2005.
“Will it be very difficult for Liverpool to overturn Real Madrid’s lead and progress in the Champions League? Yes. Will it be impossible? No. Miracles can occur – as we know.”
Benitez made a note of the importance of Klopp’s mentality heading into the return leg is, and how scoring first will be imperative to see whether this tie can see-saw in favour of the visiting side.
“Remembering the Champions League final in Istanbul in 2005, my message at half-time was that if we can score the next goal, then we would be back in the game. That happened, of course.”
“And, I am pretty sure, Jürgen Klopp’s team-talk will be about the importance of scoring first. The main difference is that now they have 90 minutes to turn the result around and win outright, or take it to extra time. Real have home advantage.
“But the fact that the away goals rule is no longer applicable is one small positive for Liverpool. If I was to ask, ‘Can Liverpool score three times in the Bernabeu?’, then I think a lot of people would say, ‘Yes’.” Benitez finished.
Few outside Anfield believe Liverpool can navigate through Madrid and making their way into the final eight of Europe’s biggest club competition.
But if anyone was going to do it, it would Liverpool seeing as they are a different beast in the chapter of ‘Greatest European comebacks’.