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The starting XIs from the last time Real hosted Liverpool

Real Madrid vs Liverpool will always be a clash that immediately jumps off the fixture list.

With a combined total of 19 European crowns between them, the pair are two of the most decorated teams in the competition’s history and you can guarantee you’re in for a blockbuster whenever they play.

Well, that’s if Brendan Rodgers isn’t in charge anyway…

The last time these two goliaths met in Madrid was all the way back in 2014, and then-Liverpool boss Rodgers effectively threw in the towel. Having been hammered 3-0 by Los Blancos at Anfield two weeks earlier, he opted to leave Steven Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and Mario Balotelli out of his starting XI.

Liverpool's bench had a number of key players on it for their clash with Real
Liverpool’s bench had a number of key players on it for their clash with Real | Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

With such a star-studded bench, the team sheet on the night was certainly, erm, interesting. Obviously Real ran out comfortable winners, with the 1-0 scoreline doing little to give a true reflection of a game in which they had 27 shots to the Reds’ four.

Anyway, enough Rodgers bashing, let’s have a look at said starting XIs from the night and find out where they are now…

Alvaro Arbeloa featured against his former club | PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/Getty Images

Iker Casillas (GK) – It’s fair to say Iker Casillas had one of his quieter nights against one of Europe’s so-called big hitters, with Liverpool testing him just once in the full 90 minutes. After moving to Porto in 2015, the Spaniard retired in 2020 and is now deputy to the Real Madrid Foundation CEO.

Alvaro Arbeloa (RB) – Having been developed in the Real Madrid academy, Alvaro Arbeloa headed back to the Spanish capital in 2009 after a two-year spell with Liverpool. In 2020 is was revealed that the Spaniard would be joining Real’s academy staff as he worked towards his Spanish FA PRO licence.

Raphael Varane (CB) – Despite this clash being nearly seven years ago, you’ll notice an ongoing theme throughout much of the Real Madrid side from 2014; most of them are still at the club. Varane was being billed as a future star when these two sides last met in Madrid and it’s fair to say he hasn’t turned out too badly; the Frenchman is a key part of Zinedine Zidane’s side to this day and has picked up three La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns at the club.

Sergio Ramos (CB) – Ramos is arguably more important than ever to Real right now, though his future at the club remains in doubt. The Real captain is said to be keen to extend his stay at the Santiago Bernabeu, but contract talks are seemingly ongoing.

Marcelo (LB) – Another player still at the club. Marcelo has been a superb servant to Real since joining in 2006, racking up over 350 league appearances for the club and becoming an integral part of their success.

Lucas Leiva, Luka Modric
Modric was among the world’s best midfielders | Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

James Rodriguez (RM) – Few would have predicted James would be playing his football at Liverpool’s city rivals in 2021. No disrespect to Everton, but they’re hardly one of European football’s behemoths. Their acquisition of the Colombian last summer was a superb coup for the club.

Luka Modric (CM) – Modric’s career has gone from strength to strength at Real. The midfield maestro has been at the centre of their achievements since his move to Spain in 2012 and he was rightly awarded the 2018 Ballon d’Or. At 35 his career is undoubtedly in its twilight, but his importance to Zidane’s side can’t be underestimated.

Toni Kroos (CM) – Alongside Modric for the majority of his Real career has been Kroos. Much like the former Tottenham man, Kroos has been the cornerstone of Real’s success over the past few seasons.

Isco (LM) – While Isco may be in the same boat as Modric and Kroos in terms of still be at Real, his career with the Spanish giants hasn’t been at the same level. The 28-year-old is essentially a bit-part player under Zidane these days, with substitute appearances about as close as he gets to regular first-team action.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo was at the peak of his powers | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Karim Benzema (CF) – The scorer of the game’s only goal from the 2014 clash at the Santiago Bernabeu. Not much has changed in nearly seven years to be fair. The Frenchman is still scoring goals for fun, the only difference is he’s now the main man following the departure of a certain someone…

Cristiano Ronaldo (CF) – Of course we’re referring to this man. Ronaldo is the main man wherever he goes, though his spell with Juventus isn’t exactly going to plan. While the Portuguese talisman continues to notch ridiculous goalscoring figures at 36 years of age, the Old Lady still can’t get their hands on the Champions League crown and are now resigned to losing their Italian title.

Right then, let’s look at this shambles of a Liverpool side…

Kolo, Kolo, Kolo, Kolo, Kolo, Kolo, Kolo TOURE! | JAVIER SORIANO/Getty Images

Simon Mignolet (GK) – First up it’s the ringleader of the circus himself, Mignolet. The Belgium international endured a turbulent time at Anfield where he pretty much got the brunt of the Liverpool fans’ anger every other week. He did well to keep the score down to 1-0 when the two sides met back in 2014 and he’s now plying his trade back in Belgium with Club Brugge.

Javier Manquillo (RB) – Manquillo spent a year on loan at Liverpool from Atletico Madrid before being shipped out to Sunderland and Marseille. In 2017 he moved to Newcastle where he’s struggling to hold down a place in the starting XI after an injury-disrupted few seasons.

Martin Skrtel (CB) – Skrtel certainly wasn’t what you’d call a dependable centre-back during his time with Liverpool, but his no-nonsense approach to defending saw him win over a lot of fans at the club. The former Slovakia international moved to Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir in 2019, though he terminated his contract in January 2021 having suffered an ACL injury.

Kolo Toure (CB) – Toure’s legend will forever live on in the form of p*ssed up darts fans continuously singing his name after six pints. As for the man himself, he’s still working with Rodgers and is part of the first-team coaching staff at Leicester City.

Alberto Moreno (LB) – In hindsight, how on earth did this Liverpool defence only concede one goal against Real Madrid? Alberto Moreno’s time at Liverpool was certainly entertaining, it’s just a shame he couldn’t defend. The Spaniard is now back in his home country playing with La Liga outfit Villarreal.

Joe Allen isn’t quite playing on the same stage anymore | PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/Getty Images

Emre Can (CM) – While a lot of this Liverpool side have seen their careers go downhill since 2014, Can’s CV is impressive to say the least. The German moved to Juventus in 2018 and – following a success loan spell – secured a switch to Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund in 2021.

Lucas Leiva (DM) – Lucas Leiva is another who was probably limited in terms of ability but became something of a hero at Anfield. The Brazilian moved to Lazio in 2017 after a decade on Merseyside and he’s still with the Serie A outfit now.

Joe Allen (CM) – The beautiful human being himself. It really is one of life’s tragedies that Joe Allen doesn’t get to run into the arms of Brendan Rodgers every morning at training anymore. Instead, he’s pulling the strings in the Championship with Stoke City – and by ‘pulling the strings’ we mean producing 6/10 performances at a moderate rate.

Fabio Borini, Sergio Ramos
Fabio Borini vs Sergio Ramos *seems* like a mismatch | Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Lazar Markovic (RW) – Surely one of Liverpool’s weirdest transfers of the Premier League era. Lazar Markovic arrived at Anfield in 2014 after the Reds agreed a £20m fee with Benfica. Markovic was effectively invisible throughout the defeat to Real in 2014, and after numerous loans he eventually secured a permanent move to Serbian side Partizan where he’s become a key part of their team.

Fabio Borini (CF) – Just take a second to contemplate the fact Fabio Borini’s CV boasts clubs including Milan, Chelsea, Roma and Liverpool, yet his 12-year senior career has yielded just 47 goals in all competitions. The man’s agent deserves a medal. After a whopping three goals for Liverpool he secured a permanent move to Sunderland in 2015, and he currently plays in Turkey with Fatih Karagumruk.

Adam Lallana (LW) – Adam Lallana’s career hasn’t exactly been a bad one, but to be honest it could have been so much better. One of the most technically gifted players England have produced in a long time, his career was marred by injuries and he’s now attempting to keep Brighton in the Premier League.

Source 90min

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