Two heavyweights of European football are set to lock horns in the quarter-finals of elite continental competition in 2020-21
Nat Phillips is eager to point out that while Liverpool may have endured a testing 2020-21 campaign, on a European stage they remain “on the same level” as “iconic club” and upcoming Champions League opponents Real Madrid.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are readying themselves for a heavyweight showdown with the Blancos in a European quarter-final, with the first leg of that contest set to take place at Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.
Both sides could find themselves knocked from title-winning perches domestically this season, but continental glory remains up for grabs as two teams with 19 successes between them prepare to lock horns and finish their respective campaigns with a flourish.
What has been said?
Phillips expects Liverpool to hold their own against Real, with the Reds defender telling UEFA’s official website: “They certainly are [an iconic club].
“And that shows in what they’ve achieved as a club, the trophies they’ve won and the level they’ve maintained for years and years, and the players that have represented them as well.
“But when you’re coming up against them as opposition, you don’t look at that. At the same time, Liverpool are on the same level in terms of what they’ve achieved as a club. So, when you’re going into a game like that you’ve got to treat it like just another game.
“Obviously you’re going to be coming up against top players and better players but, in my opinion, you’ve got to treat every game like you’re going to be coming up against the best opposition you’ve ever faced so that you’re on your best game, and it’ll be no different in that game.”
How is Liverpool’s form looking?
The reigning Premier League champions know they will need to be at their best in order to progress past Real and keep their European dreams alive.
Consistency has proved elusive for much of the current season, with untimely injuries conspiring against the Reds.
Klopp’s side did, however, put in an eye-catching performance on their return to domestic duty after the latest international break as Arsenal were swept aside 3-0 at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
That display should help to raise morale in the Liverpool camp heading into a crunch clash with Madrid.
There is, however, still plenty for the Reds to work on, with no victory at Anfield secured in any competition since December 16 – with a last-16 success over RB Leipzig in the Champions League picked up on neutral soil in Budapest.