Can the ghost of Suarez save Liverpool from Ronaldo?
Ronaldo has scored more goals than Liverpool this season, and could finally net at Anfield tonight
Chelsea's 6-0 destruction of Maripor on Tuesday night proved that there are still mismatches in the Champions League, while Bayern Munich's 7-1 annihilation of Roma in Italy proved that even teams from established footballing nations are not immune.
Liverpool will be hoping that they do not find themselves on the wrong end of a similar scoreline when Real Madrid arrive at Anfield tonight. However, it appears that few observers would be surprised if the Spanish side do administer a thumping.
Gareth Bale will be missing from the Real Madrid side tonight, but Cristiano Ronaldo will not. The Portuguese phenomenon is in the "form of his life this season" notes the Daily Telegraph, which points out that he alone has scored more goals than Liverpool this term.
Ronaldo has 19 in 12 games. Liverpool have managed 17 goals in 11 matches in all competitions.
The paper's statisticians dolefully point out that even if Liverpool keep him quiet for 76 minutes they are still not safe as 21 per cent of his goals have come in the last 15 minutes of a match.
"If you could script a Liverpool fan's worst modern nightmare – on the pitch at least – it would be an ex-Old Trafford icon with 19 goals in his last 13 Champions League fixtures gunning for Brendan Rodgers's side in the immediate post-Luis Suarez era," muses Paul Hayward in the Telegraph.
"Ronaldo represents everything Liverpool wish to be again – masters of Europe – and all the dark forces working to create a super-elite of which they are currently not part."
The Portuguese has never scored at Anfield, despite playing there for Man United, but he could break his duck tonight. The atmosphere will "crackle" says Alyson Rudd of The Times, adding: "I suspect Ronaldo wants that elusive Anfield goal and he tends to get what he wants."
However, Liverpool could end up thanking former player Luis Suarez, now with Barcelona. He is set to make his debut for the club this weekend against Real Madrid, and the looming Clasico match is dominating the build-up to this game.
Liverpool might not appreciate the idea of being the support act, but it could play into their hands.
"Madrid, frankly, could afford to lose this evening, while Liverpool, after a fortunate win against Ludogorets Razgrad and a defeat to Basel, have to get something, either on Merseyside or in the Bernabeu," writes Tim Rich in The Independent. "And if the questions aimed at Carlo Ancelotti are any guide, Madrid might not be entirely focused."