Liverpool fans will be hiding behind the sofa every time Real Madrid venture into the final third of the pitch. If the defensive showing against QPR is anything to go by then they need to be afraid. Very afraid.
Exactly why Liverpool have this Achilles heel at set pieces and for so long is a travesty that Brendan Rodgers has to put right quickly. Maybe a defensive coach needs to be brought in to try and stabilise the situation.
By half time against QPR, Liverpool could easily have been three down with only the woodwork sparing their blushes – twice – and it’s fair to say that the goalposts were the best player on the pitch for Liverpool in that first 45 minutes.
The bright spots for the Reds were the fantastic performances of both Sterling and Coutinho and despite taking plenty of criticism for recent performances Mignolet proved what a great shot stopper he is between the posts.
Balotelli – what are we to make of this performance? Shinning a gift horse of a goal over the bar and having his back to play when Sterling took a quick free quick, this was another dubious performance and the critics are starting to sharpen the knives.
The problem is Balotelli is not a target man in the style of Lambert and he also doesn’t make the runs that Sturridge would make. He falls somewhere in between and whilst there is no doubt that there is a class footballer in there somewhere, he’s currently falling between two stools and clearly lacking confidence which is of course what all strikers feed off.
The visit of Real Madrid is going to be a real test for Liverpool, especially whilst they are performing so badly at the back and are missing the services of Daniel Sturridge. If they play in any way near the barrel scraping bottom of yesterday’s game then it’s going to be red faces all round to match the shirts.
This the occasion that Anfield nights were made for though and I don’t fear a drubbing. But the Reds will do well to manage a draw here. You simply can’t bet on a shut out because they have been leaking goals ever since the season started.
Liverpool are 18/5 to win this game which is huge odds for the home team and Madrid are 4/5 which pretty much says it all.
This could be the game where Mario Balotelli comes alive and endears himself to the Kop with a man of the match performance. Or am I living in dreamland?