Zinedine Zidane admits Real Madrid head to Anfield for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final “stretched to the limit” – but are ready for whatever Liverpool throw at them.
Real travel to England off the back of a 2-1 Clasico win over LaLiga rivals Barcelona on Saturday – a result which leaves Los Blancos well-placed for the Spanish title race, one point behind leaders Atletico.
That victory was Real’s sixth in a row in all competitions, and the Spanish giants will be defending a 3-1 lead on Merseyside as they bid to reach a Champions League semi-final against Chelsea.
While Real are on a high following their Clasico result, they head to Liverpool with a depleted and increasingly tired squad due to a punishing run of injuries at the decisive stage of the campaign.
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) April 14, 2021
However, Zidane insists his players would not be looking to reserve any energy against Liverpool, saying on Tuesday: “We’re not going to try and manage our effort levels, we’ve come here to win and that’s what we’ll try to do.
“We’ve spoken about this with the team, we made a huge effort in the first leg and against Barcelona but we’re used to it.”
Real travelled to Merseyside with a similar squad to the one that beat Juergen Klopp’s side last week in the Spanish capital, still missing defenders Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Dani Carvajal and record signing Eden Hazard.
They will also be without Lucas Vazquez, who sustained a knee injury against Barcelona which has ended his season.
The French coach did not give any clues as to whether right back Alvaro Odriozola would get a rare start in place of Vazquez or give any other hints about his starting 11.
— Real Madrid C.F. 🇬🇧🇺🇸 (@realmadriden) April 13, 2021
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But he highlighted his side’s ability to overcome adversity, which has seen them recover from a poor start domestically and in Europe to emerge as serious contenders for the Liga title and a shot at adding to their record 13 European Cup triumphs.
“A lot of things have happened to us this season, we are missing a lot of players right now and, while I’d love to have them all available, we’re going to make sure we put in our best performances with the players we have,” Zidane added.
“This team always comes together in the toughest of times, which shows the character we have.”