The starting XI of the last time Real hosted Liverpool

Real Madrid vs Liverpool will always be a clash that immediately jumps off the fixture list.

With a combined total of 19 European crowns between them, the duo are two of the most decorated teams in the history of the competition and you can guarantee you’ll be in a blockbuster every time they play.

good, that’s if Brendan Rodgers isn’t responsible anyway …

The last time these two goliaths met in Madrid was in 2014, and then Liverpool boss Rodgers actually threw in the towel. After being hammered 3-0 by Los Blancos at Anfield two weeks earlier, he chose to leave Steven Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho, Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and Mario Balotelli out of his starting XI.

The Liverpool bench had a number of key players for their clash with Real
Liverpool bench had a number of key players for their clash with Real | Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno / Getty Images

With such a starry bench, the team sheet of the night was definitely, uh, interesting. Obviously, Los Blancos lacked comfortable winners, with the 1-0 scoreline doing little to give a true reflection of a game in which they had 27 shots against all four of the Reds.

Anyway, enough of Rodgers bashing, let’s take a look at said night’s starting XIs and find out where they are now …

Alvaro Arbeloa played against his former club | PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / Getty Images

Iker Casillas (GK) – It’s fair to say that Iker Casillas had one of his calmest nights against one of Europe’s so-called heavy hitters, with Liverpool only testing him once in the full 90 minutes. After moving to Porto in 2015, the Spaniard retired in 2020 and is now Deputy CEO of the Real Madrid Foundation.

Alvaro Arbeloa (RB) – Having been developed in the academy of Real Madrid, Alvaro Arbeloa returned to the Spanish capital in 2009 after a two-year stint in Liverpool. In 2020 it was revealed that the Spaniard will join the academy staff at Real while working for his Spanish FA PRO license.

Raphaël Varane (CB) – Despite that clash almost seven years ago, you’ll notice a recurring theme throughout much of the Real Madrid squad from 2014; most of them are still at the club. Varane was presented as a future star when these two teams last met in Madrid and it is fair to say that he didn’t go too badly; the Frenchman is a key part of Zinedine Zidane’s squad to date and has won three La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns at the club.

Sergio Ramos (CB) – Ramos is arguably more important than ever for Real at the moment, although his future at the club remains uncertain. The Madrid captain is reportedly keen to extend his stay at the Santiago Bernabeu, but contract negotiations are apparently underway.

Marcelo (LB) – Another player still at the club. Marcelo has been an excellent servant for Real since joining in 2006, racking up more than 350 league appearances for the club and being integral to their success.

Lucas Leiva, Luka Modric
Modric was among the best midfielders in the world | Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno / Getty Images

James Rodriguez (RM) – Few would have predicted that James would play his football against rivals Liverpool City in 2021. No disrespect for Everton, but they are not among the behemoths of European football. Their acquisition from the Colombian last summer was a superb coup for the club.

Luka Modric (CM) – Modric’s career has gotten better and better at Real. The midfielder maestro has been at the center of their accomplishments since moving to Spain in 2012 and he was rightly awarded the 2018 Ballon d’Or. At 35, his career is undoubtedly in its twilight, but its importance alongside Zidane cannot be underestimated.

Toni Kroos (CM) – Alongside Modric, most of his Real Madrid career has been Kroos. Much like the former Tottenham man, Kroos has been the cornerstone of Real success in recent seasons.

Isco (LM) – While Isco may be in the same boat as Modric and Kroos in terms of still being at Real, his career with the Spanish giants has not been on the same level. The 28-year-old is essentially a somewhat partial player under Zidane these days, with substitute appearances about as close as it gets to regular first-team action.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo was at the height of his powers | Shaun Botterill / Getty Images

Karim Benzema (CF) – The scorer of the game’s only goal in the 2014 clash at the Santiago Bernabeu. To be honest, not much has changed in nearly seven years. The French always scores goals for fun, the only difference is that he is now the main man following the departure of a certain someone …

Cristiano Ronaldo (CF) – Of course, we are talking about this man. Ronaldo is the main man wherever he goes, although his spell with Juventus doesn’t go exactly as planned. As the Portuguese talisman continues to score ridiculous goals at 36, the old lady still can’t get her hands on the Champions League crown and is now resigning herself to losing her Italian title.

At this point, let’s look at this mess of a Liverpool team …

Kolo, Kolo, Kolo, Kolo, Kolo, Kolo, Kolo TOURE! | JAVIER SORIANO / Getty Images

Simon Mignolet (GK) – First of all, it’s the head of the circus himself, Mignolet. The Belgium international has gone through a turbulent time at Anfield where he has had roughly the brunt of the wrath of Liverpool fans every two weeks. He did well to keep the score 1-0 when the two sides met in 2014 and he is now making his trade to Belgium with Club Brugge.

Javier Manquillo (RB) – Manquillo spent a year on loan at Liverpool from Atletico Madrid before being shipped to Sunderland and Marseille. In 2017 he moved to Newcastle where he is struggling to hold onto a place in the starting XI after a few seasons disrupted by injury.

Martin Skrtel (CB) – Skrtel was definitely not what you would call a reliable center-back during his time with Liverpool, but his straightforward approach to defense has won him a lot of club fans. The former Slovakia international moved to Istanbul’s Turkish side Basaksehir in 2019, although he terminated his contract in January 2021 after suffering an ACL injury.

Kolo Touré (CB) – The legend of Touré will live on forever in the form of excited dart fans continually chanting his name after six pints. As for the man himself, he still works with Rodgers and is on the coaching staff of Leicester City’s first team.

Alberto Moreno (LB) – Looking back, how the hell did this Liverpool defense concede just one goal against Real Madrid? Alberto Moreno’s time at Liverpool was certainly entertaining, it’s just a shame he couldn’t defend. The Spaniard is now back in his home country to play for La Liga side Villarreal.

Joe Allen doesn’t quite play on the same stage anymore | PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / Getty Images

Emre Can (CM) – While many of this Liverpool side have seen their careers deteriorate since 2014, Can’s CV is impressive to say the least. The German joined Juventus in 2018 and – after a successful loan spell – secured a move to Bundesliga giant Borussia Dortmund in 2021.

Lucas Leiva (DM) – Lucas Leiva is another who was probably limited in terms of ability but has become something of a hero at Anfield. The Brazilian moved to Lazio in 2017 after a decade in Merseyside and he is still part of the Serie A squad.

Joe Allen (CM) – The beautiful human being himself. It truly is one of life’s tragedies that Joe Allen no longer falls into Brendan Rodgers arms every morning in training. Instead, he’s pulling the strings of the Championship with Stoke City – and by ‘pulling the strings’ we intend to produce 6/10 performances at a moderate pace.

Fabio Borini, Sergio Ramos
Fabio Borini vs Sergio Ramos * seems * like a shift | Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno / Getty Images

Lazar Markovic (RW) – Surely one of the strangest Liverpool transfers of the Premier League era. Lazar Markovic arrived at Anfield in 2014 after the Reds agreed to a £ 20million fee with Benfica. Markovic was effectively invisible throughout the loss to Real in 2014, and after numerous loans he finally secured a permanent transfer to Serbian side at Partizan, where he has become a key part of their squad.

Fabio Borini (CF) – Take a second to contemplate the fact that Fabio Borini’s CV includes clubs such as Milan, Chelsea, Roma and Liverpool, but his 12-year senior career has only netted 47 goals in all competitions. The man’s agent deserves a medal. After three huge goals for Liverpool, he secured a permanent move to Sunderland in 2015, and he currently plays in Turkey with Fatih Karagumruk.

Adam Lallana (LW) – Adam Lallana’s career hasn’t been that bad, but to be honest it could have been so much better. One of the most technically gifted players England have produced in a long time, his career has been marred by injuries and he is now trying to keep Brighton in the Premier League.

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Nancy Owens

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