Madrid (Spain), Feb 20 (IANS) Midfielders Toni Kroos and Aurelien Tchouameni have both been left out of the Real Madrid squad that left for Liverpool on Monday ahead of their UEFA Champions League last-16 first-leg tie.
The duo missed Saturday’s 2-0 win away to Osasuna with flu and neither has recovered in time for the game. That limits the options of coach Carlo Ancelotti in midfield, and the Italian will almost certainly line up with Luka Modric, Dani Ceballos and Eduardo Camavinga.
The good news for Madrid is that Karim Benzema has shaken off the slight muscle issue that sidelined him at the weekend and has been included in the squad, reports Xinhua.
Ancelotti has also called up B-team striker Alvaro Rodriguez, who impressed in a brief substitute appearance on Saturday night. The tall forward set up Vinicius Jr for a goal that was disallowed for offside and then assisted Marco Asensio for Real Madrid’s second goal.
Anfield promises to be a pressure-cooker atmosphere as Liverpool look to avenge their narrow defeat in last season’s Champions League final.
Liverpool are still without key players such as Ibrahima Konate, Luis Diaz and Thiago Alcantara, but in their last two matches, Jurgen Klopp’s side looks to have recovered some of the energy and spark that has been missing for most of the season, and wins at home to Everton and away to Newcastle United imply a turnaround in fortunes.