Real Madrid predicted line-up - and what Spanish press say about Liverpool clash

The biggest news revolves around Los Blancos’ star striker.

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Star striker Karim Benzema looks set to return to Real Madrid’s starting line-up for the Champions League Round of 16 second leg with Liverpool at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night.

The Frenchman was absent from the 3-1 win over Espanyol at the weekend. That was the 14th game Benzema has missed this season, but he’s still managed 18 goals and five assists in 28 appearances in all competitions.

The 35-year-old’s return is the big talking point in Spain as media outlets such as AS reveal their predicted starting XI, provide injury updates and ponder if Liverpool can overturn a 5-2 first leg deficit.

The media suggest Madrid will start with Nacho at left-back, as first-choice option David Alaba is missing through injury and second-choice in Ferland Mendy has just returned to fitness, but isn’t ready to start.

Nacho replaced Alaba at Anfield after Liverpool took an early two-goal and helped steady the ship. He also played in the comebacks against PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City last season and is a highly experienced squad player.

AS also claim that stopping Mohamed Salah is ‘no small task’, but Nacho coped extremely well after being subbed on in the 27th minute of the first leg as Salah didn’t manage a shot for the rest of the game. Defensively, there are ‘no more dilemmas’ ahead of an occasion they called a ‘gala night of champions’.

With the team mostly picking itself, one area of dilemma is in defensive midfield. Toni Kroos and Luka Modric are nailed on to start, but there’s still a debate whether to start Eduardo Camavinga or Aurélien Tchouaméni.

The Madrid-based paper claimed that the pair of French internationals have been jostling for this position for some time and used a quote from manager Carlo Ancelotti to describe Camavinga’s performance: “It is true that he makes some obvious mistakes, from time to time, but in the end he plays so well that you forget them.”

The 20-year-old impressed in the 5-2 demolition of Liverpool but AS added that ‘Ancelotti is aware that Camavinga’s volatility can be counterproductive’ in a game that requires a certain calmness on the pitch.

Their predicted starting eleven is: Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Nacho; Tchouameni, Kroos, Modric; Valverde, Vinicius, Benzema.