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Liverpool given Champions League boost as Karim Benzema in double Real Madrid injury blow | Football | Sport

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Liverpool could possibly be spared the duty of facing Karim Benzema within the Champions League knockout stages after the Frenchman went off injured while playing for Real Madrid on Thursday night. The Reds have been terrorised by the Spanish giants in previous meetings but could see their hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals boosted if Benzema is deemed unfit to play after they lock horns again later this month.

The one-time Ballon d’Or winner can be expected to steer the road for Real Madrid if he features against Liverpool but could possibly be facing a race against time to attain full fitness after hobbling off the pitch against Valencia on Thursday. Benzema pulled up with what seemed to be a muscular injury on the hour mark and was quickly hauled off by Carlo Ancelotti, who can be sweating over the fitness of his star man over the approaching days.

Real Madrid may be without the services of Eder Militao against Liverpool after the defender was forced off with an issue of his own throughout the early stages of the match on the Bernabeu. The Brazil international fell to the turf in agony and it quickly became clear that he wouldn’t have the option to proceed in one other worrying moment for Los Blancos ahead of their Champions League round of 16 first-leg meeting with Liverpool on February 21.

It stays to be seen whether either player can be sidelined for an prolonged time period or in the event that they can be forced to sit down out against Liverpool, who can be hoping for all the assistance they’ll get as a way to down the reigning European champions over two legs. Benzema, who didn’t appear on the World Cup for France resulting from a pre-tournament injury, can be particularly missed by his Real Madrid team-mates if he’s ruled out of 1 or each matches.

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Liverpool are expected to enter the tie because the clear underdogs consequently of their sub-par form within the Premier League to this point this season, although their job could be made significantly easier within the potential absences of Benzema and Militao later this month. The Merseyside giants have already been tipped to taste defeat by Arsenal icon Paul Merson, who believes that Jurgen Klopp’s side will simply not have enough in midfield to hassle their Spanish opponents over 180 minutes of football.

“They could get through at home due to their fans, they’re like an additional goal on a Champions League night,” wrote Merson in his column for Sportskeeda.

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“We saw how badly Liverpool have struggled without Sadio Mane. Liverpool have an enormous atmosphere around them, but I don’t see their midfield winning them a Champions League match. I’d back Real Madrid to beat Liverpool over two legs.

“They’ve huge experience within the UEFA Champions League, but I don’t expect them to ride their luck this time. They were virtually out thrice last yr and were very lucky. I don’t see it happening for them this yr.”

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