Jurgen Klopp acknowledged Liverpool are "under pressure" to qualify for next season's Champions League as they look to salvage something from a difficult season.

The Reds were knocked out of this year's competition at the quarter-final stage after a goalless draw with Real Madrid at Anfield saw them lose 3-1 on aggregate.

Their exit on Wednesday ended any hopes of silverware in this campaign and they now face a battle to finish in the Premier League's top four with seven games left.

Liverpool are in sixth place, jostling with city rivals Everton along with Chelsea, Tottenham, Leicester and West Ham for the lofty finish they want.

Klopp's side head into Monday's clash with Leeds United on the back of three consecutive Premier League wins – just the second time they have strung together a trio of league wins this season.

Liverpool also boast a good recent record against the West Yorkshire club, with Leeds having won just one of their last 11 home games against the Reds in all competitions (drawn three, lost seven).

Speaking at a news conference on Saturday ahead of the trip to Elland Road, the Liverpool manager claimed his side are feeling the heat.

"Yes, we are under pressure, how everyone can imagine, in the sense that we want to finish in the top four but we don't know in the moment if we will," Klopp said.

"But we have seven games to prove that point and that's what we try.

"There are obviously two things in football that are important: one is the performance, the other is results. The last three Premier League games we won, one Champions League game we lost and one we drew.

"The one bad game we played in that spell was the Champions League game we lost, all the other games were OK or better, so that's what we have to keep doing: play our best football.

"And still you have to accept then the result because you have to finish the situations off, what we didn't do in the second leg against Real Madrid obviously, but that does not mean we will not do that forever again.

"That's the situation, just go for it. It's not only about having a response or whatever, it's just go for it, go and go and go, play your best football."

Liverpool won the reverse fixture against Leeds 4-3 on the opening day, and they have done the double over Leeds four times in the Premier League (1996-97, 1997-98, 1999-2000 and 2002-03).

Klopp said: "When you think about Leeds, it's like, 'It's uncomfortable, you have to go and do this and this and this' – exactly the same thing Leeds has to do when they think about us: 'Oh my God, how do we defend that?'

"We cannot do more actually, before a game. The way is clear – we have to win football games. The best way would be to win all the football games, but there are tough opponents and we respect that, we really respect that. 

"We see the situation we are in and we see it positively, to be honest. We are around, we have to win our games to put pressure on the other teams and stuff like this."

Klopp has no fresh injury worries ahead of the fixture and revealed positive progress in the rehabilitation of long-term injury victims Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Jordan Henderson.

He added: "Joe is outside running now and all these kind of things, which is obviously always a big step after all injuries.

"He [Gomez] looks fine when he is running, no real reaction in the knee, which is very important. It obviously still takes time but he's in a good way. Like Virgil, Joel and Jordan are."

Ibrahima Konate has cast fresh doubt on suggestions he will leave RB Leipzig to join Liverpool at the end of the season.

The 21-year-old French defender is said to have a €40million (£34.8m) release clause in his contract and reports have claimed the Reds may activate that.

However, Leipzig sporting director Markus Krosche last month told Stats Perform News the move was "not an option" for Konate to consider.

Now, Konate has spoken on the matter, telling German newspaper Bild: "I have a contract until 2023. And contracts are there to be fulfilled.

"There are often rumours in football and many believe them immediately. I or my agents did not get a call from Liverpool.

"I also have big goals with RB Leipzig: to get the best possible result in the Bundesliga, reach the cup final and the Under-21 European Championship with France."

Leipzig, sitting second in the Bundesliga, were facing a home assignment on Friday against Hoffenheim as they looked to put pressure on leaders Bayern Munich.

Unlike Liverpool, whose hopes hang in the balance, Leipzig appear certain to be in the Champions League next season.

Yet they will lose one star French defender when Dayot Upamecano defects to Bayern Munich at the end of the campaign, and to see another depart might be considered a body blow.

Konate is already thinking about life at Leipzig after Upamecano leaves, insisting he wants to be appraised on his own merits rather than compared to the future Bayern star.

"I don't want to be Dayot's successor. I'm me," said Konate. "We both came to Leipzig in 2017 and played well together here. Unfortunately, our paths are now parting. I'll let Dayot have his new job and continue doing my thing here."

Injuries have got in the way of Konate's progress and he has played in just 11 Bundesliga games this season, starting five times in the competition.

In that time he has achieved a duel success rate of 68.66 per cent, which is the third highest among defenders with more than 500 minutes on the pitch this season in Germany's top flight. Opta defines a duel as a '50-50 contest between two players of opposing sides'.

Konate has also won 23 of his 26 aerial challenges in the Bundesliga during the current campaign, and three of four tackles.

On the tackles front, Konate has good examples to follow in the Leipzig ranks of players with strong success rates. Among defenders with over 500 minutes of action in the Bundesliga this term, Lukas Klostermann ranks first in the league with a 92.31 per cent rate (12 of 13 tackles won), while Upamecano is fourth with 81.82 per cent (27 of 33 won).

Harry Kane continues to be linked with a move away from Tottenham and, after last week's defeat to Manchester United, his Spurs future looks little brighter.

Still, the England star has rarely allowed off-field rumours to influence his form, and he happens to be preparing to face one of his favourite opponents in Everton.

Liverpool forward Diogo Jota is another forward we are encouraging Fantasy Football players to select for this week, as the champions get ready for a tricky test at Leeds United.

Is there anyone else who offers good value for this week, we hear you ask? Read on for a handful of suggested picks, as powered by Opta data...

 

RUI PATRICIO

Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio has kept five clean sheets in his most recent 13 Premier League games. That might not sound like a lot, but he went 12 matches before there without keeping the ball out of the net.

Those shut-outs have come against some strong opposition, too: Chelsea, Leicester City, Leeds United, Aston Villa and Fulham have all failed to find a way past the Portugal international.

Given Sheffield United have failed to score in 17 league matches this term, the highest number in the division, Patricio is an ideal man for the number-one spot.

PABLO MARI

Backing Arsenal defensively is rarely the safest of bets, but they do have a strong record against promoted teams in the top flight, having kept four clean sheets in their most recent six meetings with such opposition.

Of their four main centre-backs, Pablo Mari has the best rate for minutes per goal conceded: one every 103.

Having helped the Gunners ease past Sheffield United last week, he could be in line for another outing against struggling Fulham.

 

ANTONIO RUDIGER

Antonio Rudiger has only started 14 games in the league this season, but Chelsea have kept clean sheets in nine of those matches, including in five of the most recent seven.

In the most recent game in which the Germany defender did not start, the Blues shipped five goals at home to a West Brom side who were made to look like peak Barcelona.

After their FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City, Chelsea resume league duties against Brighton and Hove Albion – a team with a frustrating habit of failing to turn promising play into goals.

 

DIOGO JOTA

Liverpool might have fallen from the lofty heights of last season, but few could blame their decline on close-season signing Diogo Jota.

The Portugal forward has averaged a goal every 103 minutes in the league this term, the best rate of any Liverpool player. He has also netted in each of his past three away games.

With Leeds United boasting an expected goals against figure of 48.94, the fourth-worst in the division, Jota will fancy his chances at Elland Road.

ALLAN SAINT-MAXIMIN

With a goal and an assist off the bench against Burnley last week, Allan Saint-Maximin proved just how valuable he could be to Newcastle United's survival hopes.

The winger has been involved in five goals (two scored, three assisted) in his previous six league matches, as many as he managed in 19 before then.

The Magpies face tough opponents in West Ham, but David Moyes' men have conceded nine goals in three league games - and each time after going 3-0 up.

 

HARRY KANE

Harry Kane cut a disconsolate figure after Spurs' loss to Manchester United, but this weekend could offer the chance for a pick-me-up.

Kane has scored nine goals in his past seven games against Everton in all competitions, including five in just three appearances at Goodison Park.

He also just one short of reaching 20 in the top flight in a single season for the fifth time.

KELECHI IHEANACHO

His two goals at West Ham were not quite enough to mount a comeback, but they did underline the red-hot form of Kelechi Iheanacho.

The striker has hit seven goals in five league games, as many as he managed in 63 previous appearances in the competition.

With eight league goals to his name in 2020-21, Iheanacho is just one short of his best ever return for a Premier League season. Next up for Leicester after their FA Cup final? Relegation-threatened West Brom.

Thibault Courtois' clean sheet against Liverpool has the Real Madrid goalkeeper anticipating a Champions League semi-final reunion with Chelsea in search of silverware.

After Madrid held Liverpool to a goalless draw on Wednesday, the LaLiga champions progressed to the semi-finals for the first time since 2018 via a 3-1 aggregate success.

Madrid will now face Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea for a spot in the decider – Los Blancos have qualified for the semis of the European Cup/Champions League for the 30th time, at least 10 more than any other team.

"We came into today off the back of two really difficult games and maybe we just lacked the legs in attack but defensively we ran as if we had twelve men on the pitch," Courtois said.

"It was unbelievable. Everyone has to put that effort in when we're taken to the limit.

"We had to dig in and give it our all and that's what we did. That's crucial for the team's desire and in order to show we're a unit."

Courtois spent four seasons at Chelsea following a loan period with Atletico Madrid before joining Real Madrid in 2018.

He won two Premier League titles and other honours during his time at Stamford Bridge.

Madrid have faced Chelsea more often without winning than any other side in their entire history, failing to win in all three games against the Premier League outfit (D1 L2), while their upcoming semi-final encounter will be their first ever Champions League meeting.

"It's a special game against my former club. Since [Thomas] Tuchel came in, they've played 3-5-2, 3-4-3 and they're doing well, not conceding many goals," Belgium international Courtois said.

"It's going to be a tough match but I hope we can come through it. 

"We're hungry to win another Champions League and we have to try and go into it on a high. We might get some of our injured players back but everyone who played today showed we're a fantastic team."

While Madrid hope to add to their record 13 European titles, Courtois is seeking his first. 

Courtois has reached the Champions League final once before, but that 2014 showdown against Madrid ended in heartbreaking fashion as Atletico conceded an equaliser in stoppage time, then three more in a 4-1 extra-time defeat.

Now he and his team will be hoping to maintain the stingy defence they displayed midweek, even without the injured Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal. 

The Spanish giants have now progressed from 11 of their 12 two-legged knockout ties in the Champions League under Zinedine Zidane, with the club's only elimination coming against Manchester City in last season's round of 16.

"Me and [Eder] Militao are part of the squad and we're here for a reason. We're well prepared for games like the one tonight," said Madrid defender Nacho.

"We've played three of the most demanding games together and we've produced high-level performances. So I'm pleased for myself, for Militao and especially for the whole team."

Jurgen Klopp remains confident Liverpool can qualify for next season's Champions League, though he acknowledges the stuttering Premier League holders have a fight on their hands to crack the top four.

Liverpool failed to take their chances in Wednesday's second-leg goalless draw as the Reds crashed out 3-1 on aggregate at the hands of Real Madrid.

Klopp's Liverpool attempted 13 shots from inside the penalty area but could not find a way to score against visiting LaLiga champions Madrid on Merseyside midweek – the club's most without scoring since March 2006 against Benfica.

With Liverpool's Champions League and Premier League hopes over, the Reds will turn their attention to breaking into the top four –  Klopp's men are sixth in the table and three points adrift of West Ham heading into the final seven rounds.

"That has nothing to do with confidence, I would say I am naturally confident, but that doesn't mean we will end up there," manager Klopp told reporters when asked if the performance against Madrid gave him confidence in Liverpool's bid to qualify for the Champions League.

"We just can read the table, we know the points, we know the situation and stuff like this. We know who we play and we don't have to talk too much about it. I said now what we think about it and, yes, we want and we have to – and if we want that we should play really good football, what we did tonight. But if we want to go through then we should finish those situations off on top of that because that is very helpful as well.

"I think we are not in a bad moment at the moment; we played pretty well even when it was a late winner against Aston Villa. We played a good game against them, we played really good against Arsenal and not too good against Real Madrid in the first leg, but in the other games we were not bad.

"Tonight, a good game, so we just have to keep going. We really have to keep going, we have to keep fighting, we want to be in the Champions League next year but in the moment we still have to pick up more points than a lot of other teams."

Liverpool are winless in their last five games against Madrid in the Champions League (D1 L4), while they have failed to score in both games against the Spanish powerhouse in this run at Anfield.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have only won one of their last 11 games against Spanish opponents in the Champions League (D3 L7), failing to win any of their last four across the last two seasons.

Klopp – who was asked if Liverpool's elimination would serve as motivation – added: "That will not happen that it impacts us negatively. We are not silly. We want what we earn. If we don't earn it 100 per cent, then we respect the situation that we don't get it.

"How I said, tonight if we scored an early goal this game would've been a different one – I think everybody knows that but it's hypothetical, we didn't. But it has now no impact on the Premier League, apart from that we don't play midweeks at least internationally – I'm pretty sure Premier League plays midweeks if I'm right. So we can concentrate and focus on the Premier League – what we will and what we have to.

"But it's tough just because we are still not in the hot seat, I would say, and we face Leeds on Monday, so that's a tough one. What can I say? They are the leader in all physical stats in the Premier League pretty much, so you better run a lot yourself. We have a few days until then, we will use that and then we make sure we are ready for that."

James Milner felt Liverpool created enough opportunities to overturn a first-leg deficit and knock Real Madrid out of the Champions League, only for their finishing to let them down at Anfield.

The Reds went down 3-1 in the initial meeting in the quarter-final tie, though Mohamed Salah's away goal in the Spanish capital provided hope of a comeback.

However, the Egyptian missed a glorious early opportunity to set the tone for Jurgen Klopp's side on Wednesday, with Liverpool only managing to get four of their 15 attempts on target against a Madrid defence once again without Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane and Dani Carvajal.

Zinedine Zidane had to use midfielder Federico Valverde as a makeshift right-back, yet the reigning LaLiga champions held on for a 0-0 draw that sets up a last-four tie against Chelsea.

"I thought the performance was good, the intensity and desire was good," Milner told BT Sport.

"We won the ball back well, pressed really well. But you can't not take the chances we had tonight. We had more than enough chances to do what we needed to do and we didn't take them, unfortunately.

"The positives are that we are creating them, especially against a team like this after the first leg, and we have done enough to go through. I believe that with the chances we had.

"We were obviously the better team. Alisson has made a good save as well [from Vinicius Junior], which you expect. But we did enough to win the game.

"You only need that first one – that first one changes the game. But, if you don't take your chances, then you're not going to go through.

"It's a disappointing way to end, because if we had played that first leg with the same intensity it could have been a different story.

"You can say we've left ourselves with too much to do because we haven't done it, but we have done enough if we take our chances. Ultimately, we weren't good enough over the two games."

For just the second time in Klopp's reign, Liverpool failed to win either leg of a Champions League knockout tie. The other occasion came in the 2019-20 season when Atletico Madrid knocked out the Premier League side in the last 16.

Milner - who became the oldest player to start in a European Cup/UEFA Champions League knockout game for Liverpool since Ian Callaghan in March 1978 - hopes the squad can build on the performance, even if the result was not what they wanted.

Liverpool must now fight to qualify for next year's competition through the domestic route, meaning they must secure a top-four finish in the league. The Reds currently sit sixth.

"If we perform at that intensity, that desire and tempo that we showed tonight over the last league games, then hopefully we can get into those top four spots," the midfielder said.

"That's the most important thing – that we replicate this form and these sorts of performances. That's the one thing we’ve been missing, that consistency.

"We need to get that back and push these last few games, put this disappointment to one side."

Zinedine Zidane said Real Madrid always want more after reaching the Champions League semi-finals as they also fight to retain their LaLiga crown.

Madrid booked a semi-final berth for the first time since 2018 after Wednesday's 0-0 draw away to Liverpool secured a 3-1 aggregate victory.

Los Blancos, who are only a point adrift of city rivals Atletico Madrid with eight games remaining in LaLiga, have qualified for the semi-finals of the European Cup/Champions League for the 30th time – at least 10 more than any other team as Chelsea await in the final four.

Zidane led Madrid to three consecutive Champions League titles between 2015 and 2018, and after eliminating Premier League holders Liverpool, the Frenchman said: "We're all pulling together and this side always does that and it always wants more.

"We've not won anything yet, but we're alive in Europe and the LaLiga."

Without the likes of captain Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane at Anfield – Madrid benefited from Liverpool's wastefulness after the likes of Mohamed Salah, Georginio Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino all had chances.

Madrid, who seized control of the tie thanks to Vinicius Junior's first-leg brace, weathered the storm – the Spanish giants have now progressed from 11 of their 12 two-legged knockout ties in the Champions League under Zidane, with the club's only elimination coming against Manchester City in last season's round of 16.

"We were up against it and we knew we had to suffer tonight, but in the end we got what we wanted, which was to go through," said Zidane, who has reached the Champions League semi-finals for the fourth time as a coach, more than any other French manager in the history of the competition – surpassing Arsene Wenger.

"I think we handled the game well, we rode the storm and can be proud of our display.

"We knew they'd start fast and they were really good in the opening 15 minutes, but that's normal. In the quarter-finals of the Champions League you have to dig in and we did that and got through."

Madrid have faced Chelsea more often without winning than any other side in their entire history, failing to win in all three games against the Premier League outfit (D1 L2), while their upcoming semi-final encounter will be their first ever Champions League meeting.

Jurgen Klopp lamented Liverpool's failure to take their chances in the second leg against Real Madrid at Anfield, but admitted: "We didn't lose the tie tonight - we definitely lost it in Madrid".

The Reds' Champions League campaign was ended by opponents from the Spanish capital for a second successive season, Madrid holding on for a 0-0 draw on Merseyside for a 3-1 aggregate triumph in the quarter-final clash.

Liverpool needed at least two goals to turn the tie around, but were unable to find a way through at home, despite creating a number of excellent opportunities - particularly in the opening 45 minutes.

They attempted 13 shots from inside the box – their most in a Champions League home game without scoring since March 2006 against Benfica (20) - but managed just four on-target efforts.

"You always need those key moments. The performance in general was good - we didn't lose the tie tonight, we definitely lost it in Madrid," Klopp told BT Sport.

"It was uncomfortable for Madrid, definitely. We were good, we were aggressive and played some really good stuff, obviously massive chances at the beginning of the game.

"It's hypothetical I know, but if you use one of them, it feels different. They had already started to struggle, and it would have increased that. But it is 'ifs' and 'when', because we didn't score.

"It became more and more difficult and then with the experience of Real Madrid; they played the time down."

Mohamed Salah failed to convert from Sadio Mane's square pass inside the opening two minutes as Liverpool started quickly, while the Egyptian and Georginio Wijnaldum were guilty of missing the target completely when presented with clear-cut openings before the half-time interval.

For Klopp, the inability to apply the finish to some excellent approach play summed up the 2020-21 season as a whole.

"It's a little bit ourselves this year with our finishing. We've had games here – ridiculous games – where we should have won. Not tonight, but in the Premier League where we just don't finish the situation off," he said.

"We have to take that, we all know how often Mo Salah finishes these kinds of things, with closed eyes pretty much. We had a lot of situations – and could have had more. The football we played around was even better than the chances we created."

Klopp admitted his substitutions affected the rhythm of his team, with the European exit now meaning the focus solely shifts to finishing in the top four of the Premier League.

Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota were introduced at the hour mark, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Xherdan Shaqiri came on with just under 10 minutes remaining.

"Second half, after 60 minutes, they took a bit more control, more of the ball. We made the changes and maybe timing wise it wasn't exactly right, we wanted fresh legs but we didn’t come through that well," the Liverpool boss continued.

"We lost a little bit of rhythm and tried too hard. Tonight it was absolutely okay, but we are out anyway.

"We love this competition, and for different reasons it is very important to the club. It doesn't make it easier now, because the two or three games we could have fitted easily in our schedule.

"Obviously we can now concentrate on the Premier League. That is what we do – Monday at Leeds is the next challenge. They are leading the league in all physical stats, so we will have to run and work our socks off to get anything."

Real Madrid reached the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 2018 after a 0-0 draw at Anfield secured a 3-1 aggregate triumph over Liverpool.

Zinedine Zidane's depleted side had seized control of the tie in the first meeting a week ago, Vinicius Junior the hero as he scored twice in the Spanish capital.

A makeshift defence stood up to the challenge in a scoreless return fixture, setting up a two-legged showdown with another English side in Chelsea for a place in this year's final in Istanbul.

The Ataturk Stadium holds fond memories for Liverpool – they were crowned European champions at the venue in 2005 – but there will be no return trip this year, leaving the focus for Jurgen Klopp's squad on securing a top-four finish in the Premier League.

The Reds will look back with regret on a disappointing display on the road, though they had a number of clear-cut chances to reduce the deficit on Merseyside.

Mohamed Salah was unable to convert a Sadio Mane square pass inside two minutes as the hosts started at a frenetic pace, his first-time attempt aimed straight at Thibaut Courtois.

The Egyptian forward – one of the more consistent performers in a season Klopp recently described as "bumpy" – wastefully fired over following superb work by Gini Wijnaldum, who also failed to keep an attempt of his own down as Madrid made it to the break unscathed.

Liverpool had a let-off when Karim Benzema's attempted pass to Vinicius deflected off Ozan Kabak and onto a post, much to the relief of Nathaniel Phillips after he had lost possession to present the counter-attacking opportunity.

Roberto Firmino tested Courtois again soon after the interval, while another on-target attempt from the Brazilian midway through the second half was blocked superbly by compatriot Eder Militao.

Vinicius was denied by Alisson in a one-on-one situation as Madrid's run of scoring in 23 straight knockout games came to an end, but more importantly they held firm at the back to seal their progression.

Real Madrid's team bus had one window smashed en route to Anfield for Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final second leg against Liverpool.

Reports began circulating in the Spanish media shortly after Madrid left the team hotel that their bus had been struck by an object.

While confirmation was not relayed by Madrid, footage of the bus showed the damage once it had arrived at Anfield, with one window on the vehicle missing.

Although it is unclear who is responsible, Liverpool were charged by UEFA in 2018 after Manchester City's bus was pelted with bottles and cans on its approach into Anfield ahead of a Champions League knockout clash.

The Reds were fined €20,000 for the actions of their supporters on that occasion.

Liverpool are 3-1 down from the first leg in Madrid.

Andy Robertson believes Liverpool need to cope better with Toni Kroos and Luka Modric if they are to stand any chance of overturning their 3-1 Champions League quarter-final deficit to Real Madrid on Wednesday.

Liverpool were considered fortunate to avoid suffering a worse defeat at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano last week, as Madrid appeared the far more accomplished of the two teams.

Kroos completed more passes (68) than anyone else on the pitch, though Liverpool enjoyed a slightly larger share of the ball (54.4 per cent). Despite this, Jurgen Klopp's men managed just one shot on target to Madrid's seven.

The issue, seemingly, was that Madrid used the ball better and focused much of their play down the left, with Vinicius Junior operating in the spaces vacated by Trent Alexander-Arnold. In fact, 44.3 per cent of their forays forward came down that side of the pitch.

Kroos was deployed on the left of Madrid's midfield three, allowing him to work closer to the area Los Blancos appeared to target – as such, the fact his four key passes was double the amount of anyone else on the field proves Zinedine Zidane's set-up worked like a charm.

Robertson, though, is convinced Liverpool could have done more without the ball, a suggestion supported by Fabinho being the only one of the Reds' four central midfielders involved (Naby Keita, Thiago Alcantara and Georginio Wijnaldum the others) to make more than one tackle (three).

"Real Madrid are one of the best at controlling games. When they're in winning positions, they've got the likes of [Luka] Modric and Kroos that can just stand on the ball for what feels like 10 minutes and you can't get it off them," Robertson told Liverpool's official website.

"But we need to put these players under pressure, we need to put them all under pressure, we need to make their life a bit more uncomfortable than we did last week. It felt as if we gave all of them too much time on the ball, really, so we need to make it uncomfortable for them.

"If we lose the ball, we need to get it back quickly and our pressing game needs to be top level, and that's the basis for all our good games. When you look at all the big games we've played and all the good games we've played, it's been down to the pressing being so good. So, we need to try to create that.

"It doesn't just happen, we need to make it happen. We need the hard work and we need everyone willing to do it. The lads are always willing to do it, so I've got no doubt about that, but it's just about us trying to get close to the ball.

"We know that when we've got it we can hurt teams, but when we don't have it we need to get it back quickly and we need to close the spaces, which we probably weren't good enough at last week. We can learn our lesson from that and hopefully we can put in a better performance."

Despite their injuries and subsequent frequent personnel changes, Liverpool have continued to be effective with their pressing this season, with their PPDA (opposition passes allowed per defensive action) of 10.6 slightly higher than the 10.3 they managed last term in the Premier League.

Only Chelsea (10) and Leeds United (9.2) have better such numbers than the Reds domestically, yet against Madrid their PPDA dropped significantly to 14.8, suggesting they were guilty of perhaps showing Zidane's men too much respect.

Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund are preparing for home quarter-final legs knowing only victories will give them a chance of reaching the Champions League last four.

Jurgen Klopp's side were beaten 3-1 by Real Madrid in the Spanish capital last week, the scoreline matching that of the 2018 final, when Zinedine Zidane won the trophy for the third year running.

Of course, the Reds have history of famous Anfield comebacks, most notably two years ago when Barcelona were stunned on Merseyside after winning the semi-final first leg 3-0.

Dortmund are also in need of a spirited display. Marco Reus' away goal gave them a foothold in the tie against Manchester City, but a late winner from Phil Foden at the Etihad Stadium means the Premier League leaders have the advantage.

Still, if Dortmund repeat the result of the last time they hosted City in this competition, they will be going through...

 

Liverpool v Real Madrid (1-3 on aggregate): History on Zidane's side

Liverpool's unforgettable 4-0 win over Barcelona was one of two instances out of a possible 11 where they have progressed in a knockout tie after losing the first leg by two or more goals.

They beat Madrid by the same scoreline in March 2009 at Anfield, but Los Blancos' most recent visit to Merseyside ended in a 3-0 win in October 2014. They are now on a run of four consecutive wins over Liverpool.

Given Madrid have scored in each of their previous 23 Champions League knockout games, and the fact they have won 15 of the past 16 ties where they won the first leg by at least two goals, they would appear to be in a very strong position.

If Liverpool are to produce another turnaround, Mohamed Salah will almost certainly be key. His goal in the first leg means he has scored in each of his previous four appearances in the competition, and he could become only the second Liverpool player – after Steven Gerrard in 2007-08 – to do so in five.

Luka Modric is also chasing a small slice of history. The 2018 Ballon d'Or winner has provided an assist in three Champions League games in a row; since at least 2003-04, no Madrid player has ever managed to set up a goal in four consecutive games in this competition.

Borussia Dortmund v Manchester City (1-2 on aggregate): Haaland the main threat to Guardiola's record

Pep Guardiola lost three of his first five meetings with Borussia Dortmund but is unbeaten in his most recent seven, while City have only failed to progress twice in 15 European knockout ties after winning the first leg.

However, Guardiola endured the most recent of those eliminations, with Monaco upsetting City in his first season in charge in 2016-17. In fact, in Champions League history, the team to win the first leg 2-1 at home has been eliminated (15 times) more often than they have progressed (12).

It really could be a game of fine margins. If Dortmund repeat the scoreline from their only previous home game against City in December 2012 (1-0), that will be enough to send them through. However, City have kept clean sheets in four consecutive away games in the competition; another on Wednesday will guarantee their semi-final spot and see them become the first side to record shutouts in five games in a row since Manchester United a decade ago.

Inevitably, all eyes will be on Erling Haaland. The Norway star has only failed to score in three of his 15 Champions League appearances and has never drawn a blank at home for Dortmund, hitting seven in just four games.

Haaland has been tipped to replace Sergio Aguero at City next season, but this could be a chance for the Argentina striker to underline his legacy: a goal here will take him to 37 in the competition, the most of any player for a Premier League club. Aguero likes Bundesliga opposition, too: 11 of his 36 goals have come against sides from Germany, more than he has managed against teams from any other nation.

Mason Mount declared Chelsea are "ready for anyone" and confident they will beat Real Madrid or Liverpool in their first Champions League semi-final for seven years.

Mehdi Taremi's spectacular stoppage-time volley snatched a 1-0 victory for Porto in the quarter-final second leg on Tuesday, but Chelsea progressed 2-1 on aggregate at Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan.

Thomas Tuchel's well-drilled Chelsea were untroubled until Taremi found the back of the net with a sublime acrobatic strike, which was only Porto's second shot on target in a drab encounter in Seville.

Chelsea have now reached the last four of the Champions League eight times, more than any other English team.

Mount, who scored in the first leg at the same venue last week, said the London club are not finished yet as they eye two trophies – with an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City to come on Saturday.

Asked who he would like to play Madrid or Liverpool at the semi-final stage, Mount told BT Sport:  "We are ready for fight and battle. we get to sit down, watch and analyse it [the second leg at Anfield on Wednesday]  

"The best team will go through and we will be ready for anyone."

The England midfielder added: "We're buzzing. We're in a good position, we know we're playing well. The focus in every game is 100 per cent.

"We're going into each game with confidence that we're going to win. We've got a big end to the season."

Chelsea's second-leg defeat was their first in the Champions League this season and just a second in 18 games in all competitions under Tuchel, who replaced Frank Lampard in January.

Luka Modric has admitted he would love to play with Kylian Mbappe at Real Madrid.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker continues to be linked with a switch to the LaLiga giants, and recent unconfirmed reports claimed Mbappe has told his French club he wants to leave.

Mbappe has also previously been linked with a possible switch to Liverpool, who Madrid face in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday.

It now appears the Spanish capital is a likelier destination than Merseyside for 22-year-old Mbappe, who helped France win the 2018 World Cup final against Modric and Croatia.

Asked about the prospect of signings for next season, Madrid playmaker Modric told a pre-match news conference: "There are a lot of rumours and news about players coming and leaving. I can't comment on that.

"Kylian Mbappe is a great player, he has showed us many times with PSG and the French national team. Great players are always welcome at Real Madrid, of course.

"But it wouldn't be correct for me to talk about players from other teams, especially at this stage of the season.

"We'll see what happens next season, but what I can tell you is he is one of the best players in the world."

The first degree of uncertainty over whether Mbappe and Modric share a dressing room next term centres on whether a deal will be struck between PSG and Madrid, but the second would be whether Modric remains with Los Blancos.

The 35-year-old midfielder's contract expires after the end of the season, and Modric is hopeful of staying on, saying there have been positive moves towards that happening.

"Like always, my contract extension is going well," Modric said. "I can't say anything else. I've always said I want to keep playing here at Real Madrid.

"I feel very happy here and hope I can stay here next season, but apart from that I can't tell you anything else."

Modric and Toni Kroos continue to look like a midfield combination that Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane would be bold if not foolish to split up, and Modric said his German team-mate has "made me feel at my most comfortable".

"I enjoy playing alongside Toni a lot. We understand each other very well," Modric added. "Let's see how much longer we can share the pitch together."

Madrid, who lead 3-1 from the first leg against Liverpool, travelled to Anfield without injured captain Sergio Ramos, and it emerged on Wednesday the skipper has also tested positive for the coronavirus.

They are also without Raphael Varane, Lucas Vazquez, Dani Carvajal and Eden Hazard for a game which Madrid approach on the back of a Clasico win over Barcelona in LaLiga.

Former Tottenham midfielder Modric said it was unfortunate the game would be played behind closed doors, given the volume that can be generated at Liverpool.

Madrid won 3-0 at Anfield in the group stage in 2014, with Modric and Kroos again at the heart of midfield.

Modric said Madrid would have relished a noisy welcome, saying: "I would like to play at Anfield with a crowd because I played a few times with Tottenham and played that game with Real Madrid and the atmosphere was amazing.

"Everyone wants to play with fans, with a crowd. That's why we're not thinking about if it's an advantage for us or not."

Real Madrid must perform at "maximum intensity" to get past Liverpool and reach the Champions League semi-finals, head coach Zinedine Zidane has warned.

Los Blancos claimed a 3-1 first-leg win in Spain thanks to two goals from Vinicius Junior and one from Marco Asensio, with Mohamed Salah grabbing an away goal for the Premier League champions.

Liverpool famously recovered from a 3-0 deficit to knock Barcelona out of the semi-finals two years ago, but that was one of just two out of 13 occasions in which they have progressed after losing the first leg of a European tie by two goals or more.

Madrid have only lost one of their previous 16 knockout ties when winning the first leg by such a margin, while they have scored at least one goal in each of their past 23 games in the competition beyond the group stage.

With history seemingly on their side, and following an impressive 2-1 win over Barcelona that lifted them to within a point of LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid, Zidane's side could perhaps be forgiven if they are unable to match the same level of effort at Anfield.

However, Zidane is not prepared to accept any such compromise in their standards, nor to begin prioritising one competition over another.

"We don't think like that. We only have this game with Liverpool in our heads. We want to go through," he told reporters.

"We're not going to waste our resources. Real Madrid always go out on the pitch to win. We've used so much energy against Liverpool and Barcelona but we're going to have to play at our maximum intensity again, and we're ready for that."

Madrid will be without Eden Hazard, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez, with Federico Valverde battling to be fit and several players admitting to being tired after the wins over Liverpool and Barca in a gruelling week.

"The team is always united against difficulties," said Zidane. "This shows the character they have. It's a very strange season for many reasons. But we can't do anything other than recover well. We'll keep going until the end.

 "We know what type of game we have coming up. What we are going to try and do is continue what we're doing and compete as a team. We're going to need to compete and attack well as a unit. We're ready for this return leg."

With Carvajal and Vazquez sidelined, Zidane is expected to choose between Valverde – nominally a midfielder – and Alvaro Odriozola at right-back on Wednesday.

"Fede has recovered and he's at 100 per cent with the team. We'll see tomorrow how we use him," Zidane said.

"Odriozola has played little, it's true, but now I'm not going to say anything about the team."

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