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HomeSportRival watch: Liverpool could be without key attacker vs Real Madrid in...

Rival watch: Liverpool could be without key attacker vs Real Madrid in UCL clash – Madrid Universal

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Liverpool forward Luis Diaz is expected to miss as many as three months of action, meaning that the Colombian could miss his side’s UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first-leg tie against Real Madrid in February.
The 25-year-old suffered a fresh knee injury during a recent training session in Dubai and reporter Pipe Sierra has confirmed that the attacker is now heading for surgery to recover from the lateral collateral ligament injury in the knee.
As confirmed by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, the former Porto attacker complained of knee pain once again after initially hurting his knee in early October. Once he undergoes surgery, Liverpool expect him to return in March.
Back in October, the initial issue was reported to be around his medial collateral ligament but fresh reports now reveal that he is suffering from a lateral collateral ligament instead. 
Meanwhile, Diaz is not the only attacker who is expected to miss the Real Madrid tie, with Liverpool also sweating over the fitness of Diogo Jota. The Portuguese travelled to Dubai with the rest of the squad but is not expected to return to action until February.
The news comes as a boost for Real Madrid as the absence of both Jota and Diaz could leave Liverpool with only Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Darwin Nunez in the attack.
If the issue actually persists till February – when Liverpool take on Real Madrid at Anfield – Klopp might as well keep Nunez on the left. Salah will continue at his usual position on the right while Firmino will lead from the centre.
And this gives Real Madrid an outright edge as Ancelotti would know exactly how Liverpool will take the field in the first leg without Jota and Diaz. Unless there is no contingency/short-term singing in January, Ancelotti will know how to deal with the Reds at least in February.
Diaz had been one of the few positives for Liverpool in what has been a mixed season so far. The 25-year-old Colombian forward had scored four goals and set up three more in 12 games in all competitions before succumbing to injury.
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Diario ABC (h/t Madrid Xtra) has reported that Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe wanted Aurelien Tchouameni to join him at the club, but the latter only wanted to move to Real Madrid.
Tchouameni, 22, moved to Real Madrid in June 2022 from Ligue 1 side Monaco for a fee reported to be around €80 million. Signing a six-year contract with the capital club, the price tag could rise to €100 million if certain criteria are met. 
Ahead of his move to Madrid, the 22-year-old midfielder was arguably the most in-demand player across Europe, with Cesc Fabregas claiming that he recommended the Frenchman to Barcelona, while Liverpool were also interested.
The story, however, could have been very different if Tchouameni had listened to his national teammate Kylian Mbappe. As quoted by the aforementioned outlet, the PSG star admires Tchouameni a lot.
In fact, the two are actually very good friends and share a great relationship within the national team camp and Mbappe wanted the midfielder to move to PSG before joining Real Madrid.
However, as it turned out, the 22-year-old was only focused on Real Madrid and ended up securing a move to the Santiago Bernabeu
A few months into his Real Madrid tenure and Tchouameni has turned out to be a fantastic signing, to say the least. Taking over as the club’s primary holding midfielder following Casemiro’s exit, the Frenchman has done a sterling job in the centre of the park.
He is also putting in solid shifts one after the other for the French national team, helping them reach the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup.
It must be remembered that Mbappe himself was linked heavily with a move to Real Madrid in the summer before he made a dramatic U-turn and renewed his contract with PSG. If not, he and Tchouameni could have shared the dressing room at the Bernabeu.

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