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Do Liverpool have any chance of a comeback against Real Madrid?

Do Liverpool have any chance of a comeback against Real Madrid?

After Liverpool raced into a 2-0 lead in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Real Madrid, not many foresaw a five-goal blitz from the visitors that would ultimately put them in full control of the tie.

But that is the supreme quality of Real Madrid under Carlo Ancelotti. No matter how many knocks are meted out to them, they're never fazed. Indeed, they relish the challenge. It was the defining feature of their run to glory in last season's Champions League, that innate ability to produce their best when the chips are down, and when all seems lost.

5-2 was the final score at Anfield, which few could have predicted when analysing the football betting odds, but Real Madrid were good value for the win in the end, as Liverpool's frailties were exposed against the European champions.

So, is there any way back for Liverpool after such a humbling home reverse? On the surface of it, a three-goal deficit seems unassailable, but stranger things have happened in the Champions League, often involving Liverpool themselves, and Klopp and co. will be clinging to that hope as they look ahead to the return leg in Madrid next month.

It's not inconceivable that, if Liverpool could race into a lead similar to the first leg at Anfield, pressure would mount on the home side and nerves would begin to creep in. But then it must be remembered that Real Madrid are one of the best counter-attacking teams in the world, as demonstrated in the 5-2 triumph. If Liverpool attack too intently, they risk exposing themselves to a similar demolition job as in the first leg.

It might seem counter-intuitive to suggest this, but any hope of a Liverpool comeback will hinge on their defensive performance on the night, rather than their attacking prowess. If the Reds can build a solid foundation, and find their feet in the game early on, they'll have a platform from which to begin chipping away at Real Madrid's lead.

Undoubtedly, it will take a perfect storm of superb forward play and solid defence from Liverpool, combined with an under-par performance from Real Madrid, for Klopp's side to have any chance of getting back into this tie. But many of this squad will remember that famous night at Anfield against Barcelona, where Liverpool overturned a 3-0 first-leg deficit to reach the Champions League. This is an even bigger task, but all the English side can do is head to the Spanish capital and give it everything.

"I think Carlo [Ancelotti] thinks the tie is over and I think it as well in the moment," said Klopp after the first leg. "But in three weeks or the closer you get to the game the bigger our chances become. Tonight 5-2 and everyone saw they are pretty good in counter-attacking and we have to go there and take some risks to score three goals. That could be tricky. It is not even in my mind. We will go there and try to win the game. I don't know if it is possible but we will see."

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