Champions League: Struggling Liverpool faced with rampant Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo will be aiming for another record as the Champions League`s all-time leading scorer when Real Madrid host a Liverpool side short on confidence at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.
Madrid: Cristiano Ronaldo will be aiming for another record as the Champions League`s all-time leading scorer when Real Madrid host a Liverpool side short on confidence at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.
Ronaldo`s opener in the European champions` 3-0 win at Anfield two weeks ago took him to within one goal of Madrid legend Raul`s 71 Champions League goals.
A 12th consecutive victory in all competitions would allow Real to seal their place in the last 16 with two games to spare in Group B.
Liverpool are tied with Swiss champions Basel and Champions League debutants Ludogorets Razgrad in a battle for second place on three points.
However, despite suffering a sixth defeat of the season at Newcastle United on Saturday, Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers insisted his side won`t be overawed by the task in front of them.
"We`ve worked very hard over a couple of years to get to this level," he said.
"To play Real Madrid at the Bernabeu tells us that we`ve been doing okay. But, of course, we`re in a transition phase. We want to be better and we need to be better. So the game Tuesday night is a wonderful game for us.
"We`re still very much in the group to qualify, which is the objective. It`s a big ask playing against arguably the best team in the world at the moment.
"But we`ll go into it with confidence. The players will be back up again after Saturday`s result and we`ll go into that game looking to get something from it."
By contrast, Madrid moved to the top of La Liga for the first time this season with a 4-0 thrashing of Granada on Saturday, taking their goal tally in their 11-game winning streak to 46.
"We need to continue this run and we`re very happy with the way we`re playing. We`re in incredible form," said midfielder Luka Modric.
"We want to be comfortable in games and we played well against Granada from the kick-off. The team wants more and the more goals we score the more we want."
Modric`s partnership with Toni Kroos in central midfield has rightfully received a lot of praise for their part in turning Madrid`s fortunes around after an uncertain few weeks following the departures of Xabi Alonso and Angel di Maria.
"Xabi Alonso was an excellent player for us, but Kroos and I are playing better and better every game," added the Croatian.
"We`re steadily getting to know each other and we know what we want to do on the pitch. I think that we`re playing very well defensively."
The hosts should also be bolstered by the return of Gareth Bale after five games out with a pelvic muscle injury.
The form of Isco and James Rodriguez during Bale`s absence is likely to mean that the Welshman will start on the bench, but Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti dismissed suggestions Bale`s return posed him a selection dilemma.
"Everyone thinks that Bale is a problem, but I think he is a player that will help us to be even better," said the Italian.