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Rival watch: Liverpool could be without key attacker vs Real Madrid in UCL clash



Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Liverpool forward Luis Diaz is expected to miss as many as three months of action, meaning that the Colombian could miss his side’s UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first-leg tie against Real Madrid in February.

The 25-year-old suffered a fresh knee injury during a recent training session in Dubai and reporter Pipe Sierra has confirmed that the attacker is now heading for surgery to recover from the lateral collateral ligament injury in the knee.

As confirmed by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, the former Porto attacker complained of knee pain once again after initially hurting his knee in early October. Once he undergoes surgery, Liverpool expect him to return in March.

Back in October, the initial issue was reported to be around his medial collateral ligament but fresh reports now reveal that he is suffering from a lateral collateral ligament instead. 

Meanwhile, Diaz is not the only attacker who is expected to miss the Real Madrid tie, with Liverpool also sweating over the fitness of Diogo Jota. The Portuguese travelled to Dubai with the rest of the squad but is not expected to return to action until February.

The news comes as a boost for Real Madrid as the absence of both Jota and Diaz could leave Liverpool with only Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Darwin Nunez in the attack.

If the issue actually persists till February – when Liverpool take on Real Madrid at Anfield – Klopp might as well keep Nunez on the left. Salah will continue at his usual position on the right while Firmino will lead from the centre.

And this gives Real Madrid an outright edge as Ancelotti would know exactly how Liverpool will take the field in the first leg without Jota and Diaz. Unless there is no contingency/short-term singing in January, Ancelotti will know how to deal with the Reds at least in February.

Diaz had been one of the few positives for Liverpool in what has been a mixed season so far. The 25-year-old Colombian forward had scored four goals and set up three more in 12 games in all competitions before succumbing to injury.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid held talks with Thomas Tuchel before he signed for Bayern Munich



Photo by MICHAELA REHLE/AFP via Getty Images

Before he was hired by Bayern Munich as the direct replacement for Julian Nagelsmann, Thomas Tuchel was closely linked with a move to Real Madrid at the end of the season.

The German tactician had kept a close eye on the development at Santiago Bernabeu, especially with coach Carlo Ancelotti facing immense pressure following the club’s poor performances in domestic competitions.

A recent report from Jorge Picon has offered more details on the Tuchel saga, suggesting that the coach was even learning Spanish during his time at Ibiza, anticipating a potential move to Real Madrid at the end of the season.

There were even contacts made between Tuchel’s entourage and Real Madrid. Although the talks were positive, the two sides were not able to reach an agreement.

Real Madrid did not guarantee him the job. They had informed Tuchel that Ancelotti may continue at the Bernabeu in the event the club win the UEFA Champions League this season.

This bit of uncertainty played a critical role in convincing Tuchel to join Bayern Munich instead. The former Chelsea boss was hired as a direct replacement for Nagelsmann, who was sacked after a poor season in the Bundesliga by the club’s high standards.

However, Tuchel’s move to Bayern appears to be a missed opportunity on the German’s part, as Real Madrid have recently intensified their search for a new manager.

It is clear that the club’s hierarchy is yet to reach a consensus over the future of Ancelotti, with some believing that a change is necessary come the end of the season. In fact, the club’s president Florentino Perez has been an admirer of Tuchel’s compatriot Nagelsmann.

The coaching prodigy is one of the candidates to replace Ancelotti in the summer, though it is Mauricio Pochettion who is reportedly leading the race so far.

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