Carlo Ancelotti’s statement to the Real Madrid players as Liverpool strive for an improbable outcome.
Carlo Ancelotti conveyed a message to his Real Madrid players as they prepare to face Liverpool in the second leg of the Champions League last 16 match. Liverpool are facing a difficult task as they lost the first leg 5-2 at Anfield against the reigning European champions, and now they must overcome a significant deficit when they visit Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.
Carlo Ancelotti, the manager of Real Madrid, is not assuming that his team will have an easy victory over Liverpool despite the seemingly insurmountable task that the English side faces in the second leg at the Bernabeu. Real Madrid were able to come back from two goals down in the first leg at Anfield to win 5-2, giving them a three-goal advantage going into the second leg.
However, Ancelotti knows that anything can happen in football and points to his experience as the AC Milan manager in the 2005 final, where Liverpool famously mounted a comeback to win. He also highlights last season’s quarter-final second leg against Chelsea, which they lost 3-2 but progressed due to their 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge. Ancelotti wants his team to go on the attack and not take anything for granted.
“The message is quite simple: not to assume,” said the Italian. “The players understand that I think it will be an open match as Liverpool come here trying to change the dynamic.
“We have to do both things, attacking and defending, properly. We will not just defend, we are thinking about the attack.”
It is a fact that no team in the history of the Champions League has ever lost the first leg of a knockout tie at home by three goals and managed to recover in the second leg. However, despite this advantage, Carlo Ancelotti still believes that his team has a difficult balancing act to maintain.
“From a psychological level, the match is more complex for us than Liverpool,” he added. “Liverpool come here to give it their all and do their best from minute one, whatever happens. We saw that from the first leg.
“We will try to do all we can from the beginning but we have more questions than the opponent.”
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema is now fit to play after missing the team’s weekend win over Espanyol. However, it is Vinicius Jr, who scored two goals in the first leg at Anfield, who is expected to pose the greatest threat to Liverpool’s defense, given Real Madrid’s primary counter-attacking strategy. The Brazilian winger will face off against Liverpool’s right-back, Trent Alexander-Arnold, who is likely to be encouraged to push forward and provide attacking support. Ancelotti believes that Vinicius Jr has the potential to make history at Real Madrid, just like previous greats such as Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, and Casemiro.