Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane feels that his team have been underestimated ahead of their Champions League showdown with Liverpool.
Los Blancos come into the game off the back of a 2-0 win over Eibar that put them second in La Liga. But unlike with the Premier League, the race for the title in Spain is now wide open. Indeed, top side Atletico Madrid failed’s lead remained at three points after Sunday’s loss to Sevilla.
But despite their title chances remaining alive, the consensus among some pundits is that Liverpool have a strong chance of getting through to the Champions League semi-finals.
Pundit Graeme Souness said that he has seen “a lot of tired legs” in Madrid’s ranks. He added that he feels “suspicious” of the quality of La Liga this season.
However, Zidane does not agree. Asked in his pre-match conference whether he thinks his team have been underestimated, the Frenchman said (via the Marca): “Well, I think so.
“In the end, we deserve trust. What we can focus on is the day to day job.
“This team never gives up on anything.”
As for Zidane’s record against his fellow manager Jurgen Klopp, the former began his coaching career after Klopp.
However, a hat-trick of Champions League triumphs – including one against Liverpool – have put him in the upper echelons across Europe.
Asked about his respect for Klopp, Zidane added: “He’s a great coach and an experienced coach. The work he has done in all his career has been good and now with Liverpool.
“I don’t need to copy him and he doesn’t need to copy me, but I do look at all coaches to see what they do.
“In particular, I saw a lot things from other coaches when I was doing my coaching course.”
Zidane names best Liverpool strength
Liverpool have suffered a drop-off in form this season, especially from the consistency which led them to European glory in 2019 and Premier League triumph in 2020.
However, Zidane is wary of Liverpool’s strength as a team.
What’s more, he picked out their front three – which now includes Diogo Jota again – as a big worry.
“It’s a complete team,” he said. “It is a very strong and very solid set and when it comes to playing as a team it is very good, there is not a single point in particular, although yes, the three strikers are very good.”
Asked about the psychology of the match given Liverpool lost to Madrid in the 2018 final, Zidane added: “We are not thinking about Liverpool’s revenge situation in 2018.
“The past is the past. These matches will be a different scenario for both teams.”