Round 16 - 1st Leg
Real Madrid vs Liverpool
Two of European football's most illustrious names will come together for only the second time when Real Madrid CF and Liverpool FC get their first knockout round contest under way at the Santiago Bernabéu. Twenty-eight years after Liverpool claimed the European Champion Clubs' Cup at Madrid's expense with a 1-0 final win in Paris, these two clubs with 14 continental crowns between them will meet again in a duel deep in subplots. The presence of Rafael Benítez in the opposition dugout adds arguably the thickest splash of intrigue given his close association with the Spanish champions, with whom he spent a decade and a half of his sporting life. Born in Madrid, Benítez joined the Santiago Bernabéu side as a young hopeful in the 1973/74 campaign and spent seven years in the youth and reserve ranks. After injury had ended his playing days, he returned to the club in 1986 to embark on a coaching career in their youth system. He rose the ladder to become coach of Castilla, Madrid's B team, and, in the 1993/94 campaign, even had an eleven-game spell assisting then caretaker boss Vicente Del Bosque with the first team.
Liverpool's squad features five Spanish players in Xabi Alonso, Arbeloa roud:, Pepe Reina, Albert Riera and Fernando Torres, the erstwhile icon of Madrid's city rivals Club Atlético de Madrid. Torres did not win a single game against Madrid in nine attempts with their city rivals Atlético. His only goal against us came in a 1-1 home draw, his final derby for Atlético. Still, he is a totally different player now and a clear danger (not that it matters to Pepe).
Real Madrid will register Lassana Diarra in the Champions League - so Klaas Huntelaar will not be eligible.
Real Madrid's Champions League record this millenium;
2005: First Round
2006: First Round
2007: First Round
2008: First Round
S.Ramos - Pepe - Cannavaro - Heinze
Robben - Lassana - Gago - Sneijder
Higuain - Raúl
Arbeloa - Skrtel - Carragher - Aurelio
Mash - X.Alonso
Kuyt - Gerrard - Riera
UCL| R16| 1L| Wed, 25 Feb 2009| 20:45 CET| Santiago Bernabéu