Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane praised Liverpool as a “whole team” ahead of the Champions League quarter-finals, but said he believed critics were in too much of a hurry to erase Madrid’s chances of winning money this year.
Both teams have sometimes struggled for consistency this season, but Real Madrid are now just three points behind leaders Atletico Madrid in La Liga, while Liverpool are two points from the top four in the Premier League.
– Notebook: Liverpool’s big decision on Salah
– Daily ESPN FC Stream on ESPN + (US only)
“They’re a whole team,” Zidane said at a news conference Monday. “Some people will mention the three forwards, and it’s true that they are really good, but I think they are a strong and solid unit. I prefer to focus on the team. After that, yes, the three forwards are really effective. We will have to be vigilant.”
Zidane’s role appears to be in jeopardy earlier in the campaign, with Madrid on the verge of relegation in the first round of the Champions League squad.
The team lost the European match opening 3-2 at home to Shakhtar Donetsk, then equalized 2-2 against Borussia Mönchengladbach, before back-to-back victories over Inter Milan followed by another 2-0 defeat to Shakhtar.
There was further pressure on Zidane in January, when Madrid were relegated from the Spanish Super Cup by Athletic Bilbao and the Copa del Rey by third-tier Alciano, losing at home to Levante in La Liga.
“Yeah, I think so,” Zidane said, when asked if his team was prematurely deleted. “I believe in my team and I trust them, I know what they can do. But we can not change that … The good thing about this team, the history of this club, is that we never give up on things. Where there is life, There is hope, and we live in two competitions. “
Real Madrid and Liverpool recently met in the 2018 Champions League final in Kiev, with Sad Gareth Bale giving Madrid a 3-1 win over Jürgen Klopp’s side.
Since then, Liverpool have continued to win competition in Madrid in 2019 and finished a 30-year wait for the Premier League title a year later.
“Since the final we played they have won the Champions League, and we have lost Cristiano [Ronaldo]”Defender Nacho Fernandez said.” But I do not think there is a big difference between us. We are competitive, we have won a lot of trophies, we are in great shape and we have a great staff. “
Zidane would not approve of Eden Hazard being available for Tuesday’s game at Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium, after the forward took part in training on Monday.
Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said his side are not looking to see revenge for the final defeat in 2018
“We are not on a revenge tour here,” he said at a news conference Monday. “I do not believe too much in revenge, but it would be nice to pass.
“Madrid excels – sometimes you meet opponents again. It also has nothing to do with the Premier League season.
“I can not bring back that feeling, this anger or anything else, so I will not even try. If we are better than Real Madrid or score more goals, we can move on to the next round.
“We are still fighting for places in the Champions League. We have to chase the teams ahead of us, we have to chase tomorrow after Real Madrid, who are in a really good moment.
“Very experienced. If anyone knows how to win the Champions League, it’s Real Madrid.”