Brendan Rodgers want Liverpool to make history against Real Madrid

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has urged his players to become part of Anfield folklore with a victory over Real Madrid in the Champions League.

The Reds face a stiff task of hosting the current holders tonight, who line up with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema.

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However, the Northern Irishman is confident his side can get a result against the Spanish giants, and those involved can become legends on Merseyside.

“These are the types of games that are talked about for years and years,” Rodgers said in his pre-match press conference.

“Steven Gerrard’s two goals he scored in that last game against Real are still talked about.

“The performances in the big games, if you make a big contribution that is what the supporters remember.

“We are going into the game on the back of some up and down performances but underpinning all the great football last season was a spirit and character in the group and that is serving us well at the moment.

“The players will go into the game to get a result for the team and what can come from that is legendary status.”

European history

Liverpool have an immense past in Europe, with many European nights at Anfield being the favoured memories of fans.

The earliest of them all came in 1977 in the quater final of the European cup against St. Ettiene. The French side were arguably the greatest in the world at the time, with talent flooded throughout the team.

The Reds trailed 1-0 going into the second leg and with the score at 1-1 with just 45 minutes remaining on Merseyside with, Liverpool needed two goals to go through.

With an estimated 50,000 standing on the Kop that March night, belting out songs to inspire the Reds, goals from John Toshack and then super-sub David Fairclough with six minutes left on the clock saw Liverpool into the semi-final. The Merseyside club then went onto capture the cup in Rome later that season, seeing off Borrusia Monchengladbach 3-1 in the final.

In the 21st century, the 3-1 victory against Olympiakos when 1-0 down at half-time is the favourite of many. The Reds had to score three in the second half to qualify from Group A after a Rivaldo free-kick put the Greek side 1-0 up late in the first period. Goals from Neil Mellor and Florent Sinama Pongolle gave Liverpool hope and then a Steven Gerrard screamer with minutes left saw the Reds scrape out of their group.

Later that season, Liverpool hosted Chelsea in the second leg of the semi-final, after drawing 0-0 in the first game at Stamford Bridge.With Anfield bouncing, Luis Garcia's controversial goal early in the first half was enough to send the Reds into the final in Istanbul, which they won in penalties after an epic 3-3 draw against AC Milan.

2009 was the last time Liverpool and Real Madrid met, and it is the Merseyside club who currently hold the bragging rights.

The Reds washed away Madrid over two legs, beating them 1-0 at the Santiago Bernabeau and then demolishing the Spanish giants 4-0 at Anfield.

Youngsters must shine

In such a big game, often players can hide away and leave responsibility to the more experienced veterans.

However, Brendan Rodgers is expecting big performances from his youthful Liverpool side and wants them to come of age against Madrid.

“Games like this in this year’s competitions will serve as great experience for the young players,” Rodgers said.

“We are are a very young side. There were only two teams in the Premier League that were younger than us last season - one was Aston Villa, who almost got relegated, and Cardiff, who did. That tells me how well the young players did.

“This season they have got some big games and experiences ahead so there is no doubt this will help them. It will be a special night for them and no matter the result it will make them better players.

“Since the weekend there’s been real excitement at playing in this incredible match. I don’t need to get them going.

“It’s going to be great for everyone. I’m really looking forward to the ambience and atmosphere in the stadium. I’m sure it will draw a great performance from the players.”

Talented youth

Despite being young in age, Liverpool have some of the best youthful players in Europe.

Raheem Sterling has been the Reds' best player by a long way this term, creating headlines in most of their games. He has progressed leaps and bounds, improving in every area and became a world class talent. The former QPR man will be against world class defenders in Pepe and Sergio Ramos, however the teenager has more than the capabilities to cause them problems.

Alberto Moreno is familiar with Real Madrid, and was part of the Sevilla team who defeated them 2-1 last season. The 22-year-old only signed for the Reds this summer, however he has made the left-back position his own, putting in some fantasic performances and his experience against Madrid will be very useful for his side to get a result.

Toughest task yet

Nonetheless, the young Liverpool side face their stiffest task yet.

They meet a Real Madrid side who have scored five goals in three of their past four La Liga games. 

What's more daunting is the form of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portugese forward has netted an incredible 15 goals in seven games, more than the whole of the Liverpool team put together. 

Brendan Rodgers' men have been leaking goals at the back this season, and were menaced by the striker partnership of Charlie Austin and Bobby Zamora against QPR on Sunday. No disrespect to the pair, but their talents are nowhere near on the same level as Ronaldo and co.

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Raheem Sterling
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