Liverpool boost as Real Madrid duo set to miss Champions League first leg

Real Madrid face Liverpool on February 21st and are likely to be without some key personnel.

Real Madrid are likely to be without duo Ferland Mendy and Lucas Vasquez when they face Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League knockout tie at Anfield on February 21.

The two sides last met in the 2021/22 final, when Madrid triumphed 1-0 as Vinicius Junior’s goal was enough to secure the win on the night and complete another treble for Los Blancos.

Currently, Madrid are preparing for a semi-final clash in the FIFA Club World Cup against Al Ahly but missing from their squad is Karim Benzema, Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Eder Militao, alongside full-back Mendy and right winger/right-back Vasquez.

Whilst those key players are likely to be fit for the clash with the Reds, Vasquez’s ankle injury sustained against Valencia in mid-January is set to rule him until late February or early March. With Mendy, he’s set for a late March return after injuring his thigh in the Copa del Rey quarter-final win over Atletico Madrid.

Mendy stands as a big loss given he’s the number one choice for Madrid and is highly experiened with 129 games under his belt in Spain. It also means that the lack of a suitable back-up has seen young midfield star Eduardo Camavinga, Madrid’s Player of the Month for January, deputise in that position.

In contrast, Vasquez’s versatility has seen him play a number of positions and he’s been a reliable squad member for that reason. So far, he’s only started eight games total in his 15 appearances so far but he’s only completed 90 minutes on three occasions.

The first leg at Anfield takes place February 21 before the return leg at the Santiago Bernabeu arrives just three weeks later on March 15.

But Liverpool will take some solace in the fact Madrid face four games in just days before they face Liverpool, as they aim to take home the FIFA Club World Cup, as well as close the gap to Barcelona with games against Elche and Osasuna.