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Football Reporting

Champions League

Zinedine Zidane wary of Liverpool’s physical threat to Real Madrid in Champions League quarters

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said Liverpool will be physically demanding opponents after the two sides were drawn together in the Champions League quarter-finals, but the glamour tie will not distract them from their La Liga title bid.

The 13-time European champions were pitted against last season’s Premier League winners in Friday’s draw, in a repeat of the 2018 final, which Zidane’s side won 3-1.

However with Real sitting third in La Liga, just six points below Atletico Madrid in top spot, their focus for now remains on domestic issues, starting with Saturday’s visit to Celta Vigo.

“We know Liverpool: they’ll demand a lot from us physically, but this is for us to think about after the international break,” Zidane told a news conference.

“This season as a whole is tough. We can’t get ahead of ourselves, we have to take things day by day and be ready for whatever happens. We know we’re alive in the title race and we want to carry on working hard for that.

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Every year the final stretch of the season is do or die. I’m not focusing on the schedule, rather the day-to-day. That’s what really gets us going. We’re alive, we’re working hard and that’s inspiration enough for us.”

The meetings with Liverpool sandwich a Clasico tie against arch-rivals Barcelona, which could have a pivotal say in the title race.

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Eden Hazard will be absent for Saturday’s trip to Galicia with a muscle problem as his injury nightmare at the Bernabeu continues, and Zidane said the club are working on a specific plan for the Belgian.

“We want Eden to recover properly, completely. That’s the most important thing for us,” he said.

“We don’t want him to have surgery. We’ll have a distinct plan for him. We want him back and firing.”

Hazard will be joined on the sidelines by defenders Dani Carvajal and Alvaro Odriozola, as well as fellow forward Mariano Diaz.

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