Real Madrid and Liverpool will get the chance to continue their rivalry in the Champions League with a knockout tie, which comes less than 12 months after their final showdown in Paris.
Real Madrid star David Alaba accepts they have a “brutally difficult” clash with Liverpool to come but has underlined his sky-high ambitions.
The Austrian started at the heart of defence as Los Blancos overcame the Reds in the final in Paris back in May. The two European heavyweights have been drawn together once again in this season’s competitions and will square off in the last 16.
Madrid have continued to go from strength to strength as they look to retain their Champions League crown. Liverpool meanwhile, who had their sights on the quadruple last term, have experienced a notable decline with their top four status very much under threat.
Alaba, who swapped Bayern Munich for Madrid, has set out his aspirations for the campaign, which will involve negotiating a Liverpool side whom he expects much from. He told Bild : “I want to celebrate successes: personal, with Real Madrid and with the national team. We want to win the league, be at the top.
“That is my ambition, I do not understand things in any other way. We also want to compete well in the other competitions, although we know that the game against Liverpool in the Champions League will be brutally difficult. It’s going to be a fantastic round of 16. The games against Liverpool are always real fights, they are one of the best teams in the world. It will be a difficult task, but we want to go to the next round.”
Madrid have twice thwarted Klopp’s Liverpool in a European Cup final. This competition represents one of the few chances that the Reds have of obtaining any silverware, such has been their inconsistent form domestically.
The two sides met in the last eight two seasons ago, with the Spanish side running out 3-1 winners on aggregate. That what a rare knockout stage meeting and Klopp, when the draw was made, was upbeat about the tie. Liverpool will host Los Blancos in late February before they travelling to the Spanish capital several weeks later.
He said: “I know we have played Real Madrid in a couple of recent finals but it is not so often that our two clubs have met in a two-legged tie so now we can look forward to this happening. Real’s European record is the best around. We know this. But we also know that ours is not too bad.
On top of this, we know that we have Anfield and everyone knows what this means. It is a really good draw. A really exciting draw. The games themselves are still a few months away but it does not take a great deal of imagination to think what the atmosphere will be like at both games.”