Liverpool rivals round-up: One Real Madrid defender has issued a Mohamed Salah warning ahead of Wednesday’s second-leg game, as PSG eyes a seismic transfer.
On Wednesday night, Liverpool will take on Real Madrid in the second leg of its Champions League round of 16 tie.
The Reds face a near-impossible task against the side who beat them in last year’s final, having lost the first leg 5-2 at Anfield.
Mohamed Salah and Darwin Núñez put them 2-0 up in a rapid start but that was a distant memory by the end of the game as doubles from Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr. and a header from Éder Militão gave Real a huge advantage.
No team in the history of the competition has ever gone through after losing the first leg by three or more goals at home.
Liverpool will need to pull off a miracle to avoid losing a Champions League knockout tie for just the second time under Jürgen Klopp.
Paris Saint-Germain is the biggest casualty of the round of 16 so far, having been knocked out by Bayern Munich, while one English team is already out in the form of Tottenham Hotspur.
Here, Liverpool.com takes a scan around the other big sides in the Premier League and around Europe to take a look at the news going on at the other clubs.
Éder Militão wary of ‘hyper-motivated’ Salah
Real Madrid defender Éder Militão has name-checked Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino as he warned his teammates that their place in the Champions League quarter-finals is not assured.
Salah missed a penalty in Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat against Bournemouth on Saturday but has scored five goals in his last seven matches across all competitions.
Militão has noted that Salah is ‘hyper-motivated’ against Los Blancos, having been forced off with an injury in the 2018 final, a game Liverpool lost 3-1.
“The night in Liverpool was one of the most historic in my sporting life — to win 5-2 there and score is a unique moment for any footballer,” he said, via the ECHO.
“But Liverpool have a super squad and now we do not want to be surprised at home. Mohamed Salah has come into a good moment in attack.
“He is always dangerous and against us he is hyper-motivated, and also Roberto Firmino is scoring goals again. So until the end of this match, nothing has been decided.”
Liverpool.com says: The tie is almost certainly done and dusted, but if Liverpool is to make history, you’d imagine that Salah will play a critical role.
PSG sets sights on Haaland
Paris Saint-Germain could activate the release clause in the contract of Manchester City striker Erling Haaland to create a ‘dream duo’ with Kylian Mbappé, RMC journalist Daniel Riolo says.
Riolo told Football.fr (via Sport) that Haaland is seemingly ‘not very happy’ in Manchester, only a matter of months after joining from Borussia Dortmund.
While Manchester City, backed by senior figures from the United Arab Emirates, may be reluctant to sell to Qatari-owned PSG given regional tensions, PSG is interested and could bypass talks by activating his release clause.
From 2024, clubs outside England will be able to sign the Norwegian for $213m (£177m/€200m). That’s marginally more than the $200m (£166m/€187m) PSG paid for Mbappé back in 2018, following the formality of a season-long loan.
Haaland has scored 33 goals in 34 games in his first season at the Etihad but Manchester City finds itself five points behind Arsenal in the Premier League title race.
Mbappé, 24, and Haaland, 22, have been tipped in some quarters to become the next Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo by establishing themselves as the two best and most famous players in the global game. Should PSG trigger the release clause, it would have spent a total of $413m to unite the duo.
Liverpool.com says: Liverpool would be relieved if Haaland left the Premier League, and while PSG would look like an enormous Champions League threat, a PlayStation front three of Neymar, Messi and Mbappé has failed to deliver an elusive European crown up to this point.