The reigning European Champions travel to Merseyside on Wednesday evening, looking to defeat their strongest rivals in Group B - Liverpool.
The fixture would be an incredible challenge if the Reds were at full-strenght, but, with Daniel Sturridge out through injury, Brendan Rodgers enters the game with no recognisable goalscorer on the field of play.
Rodgers will also be fearing the Madrid forward line, which, even with Gareth Bale out of action, will likely contain Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and James Rodriguez. Liverpool have struggled defensively under Rodgers against even the weakest teams, let alone a side which holds millions of pounds worth of attacking talent, and they look prepared for a tough test.
However, former England and Tottenham manager Terry Venables, who is well respected in Spain due to a successful three year spell he spent as Barcelona manager, believes that Liverpool will be able to achieve victory if they play in a very specific manner.
Speaking to the Standard, Venables said: “I would play a very tight, defence-based game and counter attack at speed. It’s critical Liverpool stay tight, especially the three midfielders and four defenders. They must become a solid seven-man wall that is unbreachable.
“And they must not be frightened to defend at home. Madrid will come at Liverpool during the first 20 minutes and it’s critical the Reds do not concede a goal during this period. Defend, defend, defend — then counter attack at speed when the opportunity comes and start to rattle the visitors on the break.
“But they must all be patient and not be afraid to defend. When they get possession, move the ball swiftly and keep the play up-tempo.
“If Liverpool do not start well, they will be overwhelmed and morale will collapse — the priority then is to see out the first 20 minutes. Get your players moving the ball, defending as a tight unit and breaking at pace.”
The advice given by Venables is what most managers would attempt to do when faced with strong attacking opposition - and it is something that Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is amazingly adept at - although Brendan Rodgers desire to play fluid football may cost his side. It is honourable to see a coach place entertainment ahead of winning, but, if he intends to become a truly fantastic manager, he needs to accept that there is a time and a place when defending at all costs is the wisest decision to make.