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🔴EOTK Insider Opinion: Why Liverpool's quadruple hunt could help their Champions League hopes despite Courtois' Real Madrid advantage claim 🏆
Thibaut Courtois could live to regret his comments ahead of Liverpool's upcoming meeting with Real Madrid in Paris
Speaking after his side’s remarkable comeback against Manchester City at the Bernabeu, you could forgive Thibaut Courtois for feeling a little confident.
His post-match comments were anything but arrogant, with the shostopper telling beIN Sports: “Liverpool are playing really amazingly this season, so it will be a really hard game.”
“The only good thing for us is that we aren’t playing anymore for anything, we can rest really well for that game, whereas they are playing for the Premier League, so for them it will be a bit harder.
‘But we just need to keep training well and do our best and hopefully win it.”
A reasonable summation of events and where the two sides stand in their respective quests for glory.
Los Blancos have recently wrapped up the La Liga title, with there being no further major commitments to prepare for beyond the Champions League final on 28th May.
Liverpool, on the other hand, find themselves in yet another domestic final in the form of the FA Cup, coming up against a Chelsea outfit bearing the scars of their League Cup final defeat at the hands of the same opposition. That’s not forgetting the title race either, where only a single point separates the two contenders at the top of the table.
Those are quite the distractions and Courtois is correct to highlight them.
That being said, as Manchester City have proven, to a degree, in their heartbreaking defeat to Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final, a lack of outside pressure isn’t necessarily always a good thing.
[Back to the drawing board for the former Bayern Munich boss, who has yet to win the Champions League since his Barcelona days]
Other commentators have rightly pointed out that Pep Guardiola’s style of play can at times hold his players back from making individual choices - the elimination of risk in an ordered world can backfire in games that the Cityzens lose control of. But that’s another point for another day.
Immediately right off the bat, Jürgen Klopp’s men will face a Tottenham side keen on qualifying for Europe’s premier competition directly after the former’s 5-2 aggregate win over Villarreal.
A week later - a meeting with Chelsea awaits at Wembley.
There’s no questioning the fact that Liverpool will be very much kept on their toes for the next few weeks leading all the way up to the Champions League final in Paris.
Winning all but two fixtures in an especially packed month of fixtures in April (one of which the Reds had thrown away a lead at home to Benfica with the aggregate score in their favour) certainly demonstrates that the Merseysiders are well-equipped to handle both pressure and a congested schedule.
So we know how Liverpool are likely to react to the challenge posed by their remaining five fixtures before the visit to the French capital.
The question remains, however, as to how Real Madrid will react without anything to fight for between now and the end of May.
[Carlo Ancelotti led Real Madrid to their 35th league title after thrashing Espanyol 4-0]
Perhaps it will give Carlo Ancelotti time to rotate his squad and ensure key men are rested ahead of the Champions League final.
But when has a pre-season-esque period of time ever been beneficial to a side’s hopes of staying sharp and in competitive shape?
Only time will tell whether the Italian can keep his men focused for their remaining challenge but perhaps the advantage Courtois claimed for his teammates might actually lie with their opponents, for now.
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