There are few negatives to take away from Real Madrid’s rampant 5-2 win over Liverpool on Tuesday night. Los Blancos made Anfield their own, with several fans even applauding the likes of Karim Benzema and Luka Modric for their mesmerising football.
However, there were certain parts of the storyline that Carlo Ancelotti would have liked to do without. During the game, both David Alaba and Rodrygo Goes were taken off for injuries and are expected to miss the upcoming games.
According to reports from SPORT, both players are doubts for the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final against Barcelona early next month.
The development comes as a big blow to the manager’s plans, given that both players are regular starters on their day. While Alaba’s leadership is invaluable in Ancelotti’s setup, the same can be said about Rodrygo’s ability to come up clutch.
The Austrian defender made way for Nacho Fernandez in just the 27th minute of the game after feeling a sharp pain in his right hamstring. Meanwhile, the Brazilian star played most of the game but hobbled off in the 81st minute with an overload on his left gluteus.
An official update of the players’ layoff could be provided by the club later in the day after the tests are complete. But, as things stand, they are deemed doubts for the Barça clash, which would mean that they could miss the derby against Atletico Madrid this week as well.
Real Madrid take on Barcelona on March 2nd in the first leg of the Cup semi-final. It will be the first of three Clasicos that are scheduled to be played within a 45-day window.
Having lost to the Catalans in the final of the Spanish Super Cup, Los Blancos will be more determined than ever to make the Copa de Rey title theirs.
Ancelotti considering playing a makeshift centre-back pairing for Real Madrid against Valencia – report
Real Madrid will take on Valencia on Saturday, looking to maintain their solid lead at the top of the league table.
The Spanish giants are leading the standing with a six-point lead over Girona. A win against Valencia could help them solidify their position at the top while potentially opening up an opportunity to extend the lead to more than six points.
Heading into this game, though, Carlo Ancelotti is facing multiple setbacks, especially in the defensive unit, with Eder Militao, David Alaba and Thibaut Courtois still missing due to injuries.
This will once again put pressure on Ancelotti, as far as the team selection is concerned.
Rudiger & Tchouameni to partner at centre-back vs Valencia
Fortunately for the Real Madrid coach, much of his experimentations this season have worked, including Aurelien Tchouameni’s supreme performances at centre-back.
With that in mind, Diario AS reports Ancelotti is considering playing a makeshift central defensive pair against Valencia, comprising Antonio Rudiger and Tchouameni.
This is not the first time the young Frenchman will have to accompany Rudiger at centre-back. He did so earlier in the year when Real Madrid took on RCD Mallorca.
Interestingly, Real Madrid were able to retain a clean sheet, with Rudiger scoring the winning goal, in a narrow 1-0 victory.
What are Ancelotti’s other options?
Ancelotti will be hoping for a similar outcome this time around. However, it must be noted that the Italian will be boosted by the return of Dani Carvajal from suspension.
The veteran Spaniard can be an option at centre-back. But given the way how Tchouameni has impressed onlookers with his performances at centre-back, there is very little reason why he shouldn’t continue in the position.
Tchouameni has even been compared to Javier Mascherano by former Spanish coach Roberto Moreno.
Other than Carvajal, though, Nacho Fernandez is another option for Ancelotti. But the veteran defender is suffering with discomfort and Ancelotti has no plans to risk it.