Billed as the standout fixture in the third round of Champions League group matches of 2014 but only one winner in my eyes and I am firmly with the defending champions.
It was a long time coming but Real Madrid finally got their hands on a tenth European Cup in May when beating city rivals Aletico in the showpiece and the odds compilers think they’ll follow up.
While Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale go from strength to strength, the summer additions of James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos add further quality to an already bulging squad and Real have found their stride.
Ronaldo was at it again in the 5-0 romp at Levante on the weekend, bagging a brace to take his season’s tally to an eye-watering 15 goals in 7 domestic outings, and the Spaniards are rarely fazed on their travels.
Wins over Basel and Ludogorets see Carlo Ancelotti’s men sit top of Group B and victory on Merseyside would all but guarantee Wednesday’s away team a place in the last 16.
Real travel to face a Liverpool that have been miles off the pace in the English top flight this term and creating chances has been a problem.
Luis Suarez’s departure in the summer to Barcelona was clearly a body blow but the Reds just are not firing throughout and Brendan Rodgers’ players were extremely fortunate to shade a five-goal thriller at Loftus Road on Sunday.
The win at QPR took Liverpool up to fifth place but it is already three defeats domestically and they have struggled on their return to the Champions League too.
With doubts still lingering about the form and fitness of star men Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling, Liverpool will do well to add to the three points gained in the narrow, late win over the Bulgarians.
The subsequent 1-0 loss to Basel already leaves Rodgers and his players facing a tough task to reach the knockout stage and now they host a team that has won each of its last seven matches in all competitions.
Real have plundered an astonishing 32 goals in that period, averaging over 4.5 a game, and, even in Gareth Bale’s anticipated absence, Ronaldo can lead the Reds a merry dance.
3pts Back Real Madrid (vs. Liverpool) @ 17/20 (various)