In the Champions League, Liverpool will face Real Madrid in the opening leg of their Round of 16 matches on Tuesday evening
Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool will need to be disciplined in Tuesday’s Champions League match against Real Madrid.
Jurgen Klopp’s team hosts Los Blancos in the first leg of their Round of 16 clash, looking to revenge last season’s humiliating setback in the French capital. The Spanish giants are no strangers to delivering heavy punches on the Reds, having defeated them in the 2018 Champions League final and the quarter-final stages two years ago.
Both sides have not been at their best ahead of the latest installment of this heavyweight clash, with Real Madrid sitting eight points behind La Liga leaders Barcelona and Liverpool’s problems well-documented.
Nonetheless, Liverpool will be trying to beat Real Madrid on Tuesday evening, but Alexander-Arnold must avoid a yellow card throughout the game. If he is cautioned, the 24-year-old would face an automatic one-match suspension in the Champions League, shutting him out of next month’s trip to the Bernabeu.
This is due to a UEFA rule that requires a player who collects three bookings during a Champions League campaign to sit out one match as punishment. All yellow cards expire at the end of the quarter-finals and are not carried over to the final four matches.
Going head-to-head with Vinicius Jr is a chore no full-back wants to face, especially when escaping punishment from a referee, and Alexander-Arnold will need no reminder of the Brazilian star’s skill. At the Champions League final at the end of May, Vinicius Jr scored the game’s only goal after losing Alexander-Arnold at the back post to connect with Federico Valverde’s dangerous cross into the area.
If Alexander-Arnold is ruled out of the second leg in Spain, Klopp will be forced to make a selection decision to replace the vacuum left by the West Derby-born defender. Joe Gomez might be moved to full-back, with Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk acting as centre-backs, while James Milner could also play right-back. Given Vinicius’ attacking danger (he has 16 goals and eight assists in all competitions this season), neither situation would be ideal.