Mohamed Salah has been denied a rematch with Sergio Ramos after the Real Madrid captain was ruled out of Liverpool’s Champions League quarter-final clash with the La Liga giants because of injury.
But that doesn’t mean Jurgen Klopp ’s side won’t get the chance to avenge the 2018 final defeat against some familiar faces.
Much has been made this year in how the majority of the Reds’ starting XI in Kiev are still prominent figures at Anfield three years on.
But Zinedine Zidane has a number of European Cup winners of his own from that night at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium who could lock horns with Liverpool once again.
The most prominent is Karim Benzema, scorer of Real Madrid’s opening goal in Kiev after taking full advantage of Loris Karius’ first concussion-induced error.
The veteran Frenchman and Ramos are two of 12 players from the La Liga giants’ matchday squad for the 2018 final, including nine of that night’s starting XI, still on the books at the Bernabeu today.
And while the Real Madrid captain isn’t the only injury doubt ahead of his side’s meeting with Liverpool, here’s the squad Klopp’s men could face at both the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano and back at Anfield.
Zidane has fielded 24 different players in the Champions League so far this season, though two of those players (Luka Jovic and Martin Odegaard) will definitely not face the Reds after leaving Madrid on loan in January.
Despite the duo’s departure, the La Liga giants were still able to name a full 25-man squad for this year’s knockout stages.
Real Madrid’s Champions League squad in full
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Andriy Lunin.
Defenders: Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Nancho, Marcelo, Alvaro Odriozola, Ferland Mendy, Pablo Ramon.
Midfielders: Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Casemiro, Federico Valverde, Isco, Ivan Morante.
Forwards: Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez, Vinicius Junior, Mariano Diaz, Rodrygo, Hugo Duro.
From that 25, goalkeeper Lunin and defender Odriozola have been limited to unused substitute roles, while Ramon and Morante have not yet made a Champions League matchday squad.
Zidane has also called upon one of his ‘List B’ players this season with Sergio Arribas coming on as a substitute away at Atalanta, while fellow eligible U21s B-listers Diego Altube (GK), Victor Chust (DF), Miguel Gutierrez (DF), Sergio Santos (DF) and Antonio Blanco (MF) have all made the bench.
According to UEFA, Real Madrid have a further seven players registered on ‘List B’ who have not been involved in any Champions League matchday squad this season.
Despite their own injury problems this season, Zidane hasn’t opted utilise more of his unused players with Real Madrid only naming eight substitutes for their round-of-16 victories over Atalanta and often only selecting 10 reserve players in the group-stages despite UEFA allowing clubs to name 12 players on the bench this season.
So that’s the full list of eligible players who have been included in a squad for Madrid this season. So who joins Ramos as a potential injury doubt?
Well according to Real Madrid, Toni Kroos, Eden Hazard, Federico Valverde and Dani Carvajal are all doubts after missing training on Wednesday.
All four first-team stars are suffering with injury and the club released a statement saying the players were “continuing with their recovery processes.”
A statement on Real Madrid’s website read: “The players began with activation exercises without the ball and carried out fitness and possession work. They then focussed on pressing, passing and finishing in mini-goals. Finally, they played a timed small-sided games.
“Carvajal, Hazard, Kroos and Valverde continue with their recovery processes.”
It is worth noting that Kroos, Carvajal and Valverde were all pictured training on their own earlier in the week, and could stand a chance of recovering in time despite Real Madrid’s latest statement on the quartet.
Meanwhile, they have not issued an update on Odriozola despite the defender being sidelined with an unspecified injury prior to the March international break.
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With Real Madrid hosting Eibar on Saturday prior to their meeting with Liverpool, further squad availability will become clear in the days ahead.
But, for now, it would appear that Ramos and Hazard are the only star names almost certain to be missing against Klopp’s Reds in the Champions League quarter-finals.