Carlo Ancelotti sends Real Madrid ‘quite simple’ Liverpool message and gives Karim Benzema injury update
Speaking before of Wednesday’s home match against Liverpool in the Champions League round of 16, Carlo Ancelotti of Real Madrid
Carlo Ancelotti acknowledges that Real Madrid’s game against Liverpool on Wednesday night is “more challenging” but maintains that he is not taking anything for granted.
With a 5-2 lead from the first leg at Anfield at the end of February, the European champions welcome the Reds to the Spanish capital.
According to Ancelotti, the tie’s current dynamics present more challenges for his team to overcome than for Jurgen Klopp’s players, who are aware that they must score three goals to tie it.
Ancelotti was AC Milan manager in the 2005 Champions League final when Liverpool secured arguably the most dramatic comeback in European Cup history, fighting back from 3-0 down to draw level before winning on penalties, and the Italian says he will be guarded when the Reds visit Santiago Bernabeu.
“The message is quite simple: not to assume and play the best way we can to try to present a match like we did in the first leg,” Ancelotti said. “My idea is not to make assumptions. We will try from minute one to play with utmost intensity and try to win the match.
“From a psychological level the match is more complex for us than Liverpool. 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.”
Ancelotti, whose side were eventually on the right side of a memorable 5-4 victory over Chelsea at the quarter-final stage last season, says he is using that game to focus minds when Liverpool visit.
After a 3-1 lead from the first leg at Stamford Bridge was wiped out by goals from Mason Mount and Antonio Rudiger, Los Blancos were forced to dig deep to book their place in the last four where they eventually beat Manchester City before winning the final in Paris against Liverpool at the end of the May.
Ancelotti added: “I remember the match against Chelsea last year and that is going to help us present a different match. We will try not to make any assumptions.
“I believe we did not talk a lot. We have seen what we have done, the good things and bad things from the first leg. Many things weren’t done properly, especially on the defensive side. We have an advantage but we will think about the match being open: we want to attack and play our best offensive football.
“There is no assumption, that is quite clear, and 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.”
On Karim Benzema’s fitness concerns, Ancelotti said: “He is 100% ready for tomorrow. He trained on Sunday and he is really motivated because for Karim, for me, for the players and the club this is a really important competition.”