Three Liverpool players set to return vs Real Madrid as Jurgen Klopp gets squad boost

Liverpool prepare to face Real Madrid in the Champions League last 16 at Anfield,

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Two of Europe’s heavyweight clubs do battle tonight when Liverpool face Real Madrid at Anfield (20.00 GMT).

The Reds host Los Blancos in the Champions League last-16 first leg and there’s plenty of anticipation heading into the tie.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have underperformed this season, with the European Cup the only remaining piece of silverware they can win.

A couple of weeks ago, not too many Kopites were feeling optimistic about facing Real - who beat Liverpool in both the 2018 and 2022 finals as well as dumping them out in the 2020-21 season. But after back-to-back wins against Everton and Newcastle United, confidence is growing.

And for the clash against Madrid, Klopp will welcome back three players into his set-up. Champions League rules allow clubs to name 12 substitutes on the bench - as opposed to nine in the Premier League. Therefore, Curtis Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Fabio Carvalho are poised to return.

The trio have been omitted from the past two match-day squads because of Liverpool's improved injury situation.

The returns of Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino and Virgil van Dijk have meant that Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Carvalho were deemed surplus to requirements against Everton and Newcastle.

Jones has been limited to 11 appearances so far this season. The homegrown midfielder suffered with a tibia injury earlier throughout various stages campaign and signed a new contract in November that runs until June 2027. However, since the restart of the season after the World Cup, Jones has not made a single start and managed just 54 minutes of action.

Oxlade-Chamberlain finds himself out of contract in June, with an Anfield departure appearing ever-more likely. The versatile 29-year-old has played 11 times in all competitions and started three successive Premier League games when Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota were sidelined before Gakpo's arrival.

Carvalho has scored three goals in 18 outings since joining Liverpool from Fulham last summer. However, he's found himself on the periphery of things of late and played in only two of the previous 12 games. Carvalho did miss two because of injury in that period, however.

Arthur Melo will not be involved, however, despite training yesterday. The on-loan Juventus midfielder was omitted from Liverpool’s Champions League squad for the knockout stage.

Thiago Alcantara (hip), Ibrahima Konate (hamstring) and Luis Diaz (knee) are injured.