Liverpool vs Real Madrid
Scorer of the winning goal in the Champions League final, Vinicius has continued to be an integral part of this Real Madrid side.
Vini has had the most shots on target of any RM player domestically this season and he averages 1.27 P/90.
In the CL he’s been performing well above that, he’s averaged 2.46 SOT/90. Perhaps most impressively is how consistent he is at hitting the target, 48% of his shots in the CL have been on target.
Madrid heavily targeted TAA in previous iterations of this fixture, I’d expect the same here and for the Brazillian to see plenty of the ball.
Cody Gakpo perhaps hasn’t started as quickly as Liverpool fans would’ve wanted but after scoring in back to back games, the confidence is beginning to surface for the Dutchman.
Gakpo had 2 shots on target against Newcastle and has managed 1 in 4 of his last 5 matches, the only game he blanked in was against Wolves, when he was asked to play a deeper role than the one he’ll feature in tonight.
Liverpool will undoubtedly have sustained spells of pressure in this game as they’re roared on by the home support, they really need to take a positive result to the Bernabeau.
Alaba starts at left back, a direct opponent to Mo Salah. Salah draws 0.78 fouls/90, which isn’t the most outrageous stat but he does attempt 3.32 dribbles/90 which is the highest in the Liverpool squad.
This is a bet about context and value, I think the price on offer for Alaba is generous given the situation. He doesn’t average a huge number of fouls, but against Salah, away from home in a CL knockout game, he’s a good price.
In last seasons CL, his foul numbers increased drastically, particularly when Madrid played away from home.
He made 3 fouls away to PSG, 2 away at Inter and even 2 away at Sheriff.
Madrid will take no prisoners at Anfield. If Alaba has to take down a player, most likely Salah, to prevent an oppertunity then he’ll do it.
Worth noting too that Alaba is primarily a centre back now. He’s not got the burning pace he used to and faced a substantial time on the sidelines recently with a nasty injury. Salah has every chance of exposing the Austrian in those wide areas, particularly with TAA in support.
TAA is another who’s foul count isn’t huge, he averages 0.61 P/90 in the PL but this is a whole different ball game.
Vinicius is fouled 4 times P/90, a frankly ridiculous number and he attempts over 8 dribbles/90. Again, an obscene number.
Bigger sides always target Trent, but when your most creative and direct player is also Trent’s direct opponent, that is only going to magnify the situation.
Trent made a foul in last seasons final, when facing Vini JR.
Young Bajcetic has been a real shining light in what has been quite a gloomy season for Liverpool fans.
The Spaniard is excellent with the ball but he’s also got a bit of bite to him, he’s not afraid to get stuck in.
He’s also still very inexperienced and comes up against the likes of Modric (fouled 0.78/90) and Dani Ceballos (fouled 2.18/90).
Bajcetic averages 1.32 fouls/90. He’s made 5 fouls across his last 5 outings, only blanking in 1 of those games.Against quality opposition, 1 foul looks likely to me.