Rafael Benitez’s former Liverpool assistant Pako Ayestaran has cast doubt over the Reds’ ability to mount another stunning Champions League comeback when they take on Real Madrid on Wednesday.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have it all to do after losing the first leg of their last-eight tie 3-1 in Spain, and Los Blancos will be the strong favourites to progress to the semi-finals.
But Ayestaran, who was working for Liverpool when they won the Champions League in 2005, thinks the absence of supporters at Anfield will give Madrid a massive boost.
“Real Madrid gain a lot when Anfield is empty,” he told MARCA.
“The atmosphere I experienced in the quarter-finals with Juve and in the semi-finals with Chelsea, wow, that’s heavy. It pushes your team a lot.
“That game at Anfield is not easy. But Madrid have got a lot of courage from experiencing that kind of atmosphere with top players. But now they win.
“Now they have positive momentum. They have players in midfield like Casemiro, Kroos and Modric who are at the level expected of them. And that means that any element that comes into the team can do well.
“They (Liverpool) are at the opposite point, with a lot of doubts throughout the year. The absentees give them a sea of doubts.”
Liverpool’s patchy form this season has improved recently, and they have now won their last three Premier League games in a row.
But their makeshift defence was unable to cope with the pace of the likes of Vinicius Jr. and Marco Asensio, and given the circumstances progression to the semis would surely be one of Liverpool’s greatest achievements in recent years.