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Preview: Liverpool v Real Madrid

Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool FC face "a great challenge" against holders Real Madrid CF but is confident his side can "rise to the standards" set by the visitors.

Liverpool-Madrid press conference
Liverpool-Madrid press conference

Liverpool looking to extend run of three wins in three games with Real Madrid
Brendan Rodgers backs Reds to "lift ourselves for the big games"
Liverpool manager expecting "difficult game against top-class players"
Carlo Ancelotti predicting match will be "everything that's good about football"
Cristiano Ronaldo has 15 goals in seven Liga games this season

Possible lineups
Liverpool: Mignolet; Johnson, Lovren, Škrtel, Moreno; Allen, Gerrard; Henderson, Sterling, Coutinho; Balotelli.
Out: Sturridge (calf), Sakho (knee), Flanagan (knee)
Doubtful: none

Real Madrid: Casillas; Carvajal, Pepe, Varane, Marcelo; Kroos, Modrić, Isco; James, Ronaldo, Benzema.
Out: Bale (gluteus), Jesé (knee), Ramos (calf), Coentrão (knee)
Doubtful: none

Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool coach
It's a very important game for us. It's a great challenge and the good thing about this group is that we really lift ourselves for what we consider the big games. We haven't got to the levels of last season for many reasons, but this is a special game and a special competition for us and I'm very confident that the great competitors our team has will rise to the standards of what is an outstanding Real Madrid team.

It's still going to be a very difficult game for us. They are a squad full of top-class players. Of course, Ronaldo is a special talent. He's arguably the best player in the world at the moment and his evolution from being a soloist who scores goals to being a goalscorer is there to see. His record is incredible. We have to make a plan for our team first to ensure that we cause Real Madrid problems, and then of course you have to prepare yourself for the quality of players they have.

Your home games you really look at as opportunities to pick up points. We aren't playing as well as we have done. At the moment it's been that character and spirit that has been allowing us to win games. Tomorrow we are going to need that, plus the quality of our football, and if we can do that at home then it is another step towards qualifying.

Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid coach
Given the size of the two clubs it's a bit strange they've not played many official games, but you're going to see everything that is good about football. I think you are going to see a spectacular encounter, a really good game full of excellent football between two great sides. It's going to be very high tempo and dynamic and we'll be doing our best to try to get three points.

I'd like to think that our tactics and our system, our philosophy of football, are pretty much the same whether we're home or away. We try to play with the same competitive spirit, try to control the ball and use our quality.

Our idea is to put out as competitive a side as possible, and that's how we try to set up in every game. It's very important that we have some key players that can play in different positions. For example at the weekend, in the absence of Bale, we had James in that position; similarly Isco managed to show his quality when playing on the left. We have the quality to interchange players in key positions.

All I can tell you is that we are working hard to get [Bale] fit. We know he won't be available for tomorrow night or for Saturday's game [against FC Barcelona], but we are trying to get him recuperated as soon as possible. The reason he travelled to Valencia [Levante] was we didn't think it was anything too much to worry about, maybe just a slight strain due to overuse of a particular muscle. It was only when he had a scan that we realised the situation.

Weekend results
Queens Park Rangers FC 2-3 Liverpool (Vargas 87 90+2; Dunne og 67, Coutinho 90, Caulker og 90+5)
Levante UD 0-5 Madrid (Ronaldo 13pen 61, Hernández 38, James 66, Isco 82)

Form guide (all competitions)
Liverpool: WWLDDL
Real Madrid: WWWWWW

Match facts
• Who was in charge when Liverpool beat Real Madrid 4-0 at Anfield? Find out in our extensive match background.