Steven Gerrard relishing the chance to play Real Madrid

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Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has expressed his excitement to play against Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday night, and warned the Spanish side that they will not have things their own way at Anfield.

The 34-year-old is set to make his 70th appearance in Europe's elite competition, facing a side that he is fairly familiar with, having opposed them in the first round of the knock-out stages in 2009.

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The Madrid team is somewhat different to almost six years ago with big money buys Cristano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez just a few who have since arrived at the Santiago Bernabeau.

However, the Reds skipper has no fears of the current Champions League holders and their strong attacking arsenal coming to Merseyside, and thinks his side have a real chance.

"The whole stadium is going to be rocking. We're going to give them one hell of a 90 minutes." - Steven Gerrard

"It's going to be a special night," Gerrard told Adidas football.

"The whole stadium is going to be rocking. We're going to give them one hell of a 90 minutes. I've watched them a lot myself so I'm quite aware of all their strengths - but they have some weaknesses as well."

"Liverpool has got a fantastic history in Europe, especially in the Champions League.

"From a personal point of view some of the best nights of my career have been in the Champions League and every player dreams about playing in the Champions League - it's the ultimate competition.

"It's unbelievable, fantastic (to be back)."

Tough night ahead

The two side's could not be entering the game in different fashion.

Real Madrid have been unstoppable over the last few fixtures, scoring five goals in three of their last four La Liga games, as well as firing the same amount past FC Basel in Europe.

That's partly down to the master-class of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has netted an unbelievable 15 goals in seven Spanish domestic ties. He is, at the minute, the world's greatest player, scoring freely whenever he wants, as well as assisting his team-mates.

Summer signings Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez have settled extremely well into the Madrid side and Karim Benzema has also very much had his shooting boots on. 

In contrast, Liverpool have had a very poor start to their campaign. Brendan Rodgers' men may lie fifth in the Premier League table, however, that position very much flatters their performances.

They have been below-par, to say the least, throughout this term, not playing their free-flowing football that they did so often last campaign. New signing Mario Balotelli has put in several dismal performances, netting just once in nine appearances and not looking like he wants to adopt the Liverpool method of fast, attacking football.

Defensive problems

On Sunday, Liverpool put in an under-fire effort against QPR at Loftus Road, needing the help of two own goals to secure all three points.

It was the defending part that the Reds really struggled with. QPR strikers Bobby Zamora and Charlie Austin were constantly on the move, causing problems for centre-backs Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel. 

The two defenders failed to track the forwards' runs on multiple occasions, leaving them unmarked and missing several chances that could have wrapped the three points up in the second half. Seemingly, Lovren and Skrtel still have not adjusted to playing alongside each other, despite them partnering each other for two months 

If Austin and Zamora are causing them problems, it is worrying to think about how easily the likes of Ronaldo and co. will brush aside them.

Luck on Liverpool's side

One thing the Reds do have on their side, is history. 

The two teams have met three times in the past, with Liverpool taking all three victories. 

In 2009, under Rafa Benitez, Liverpool travelled to the Spanish capital in the first knock-out stage of the Champions League and won 1-0, thanks to a Yossi Benayoun header late in the game. Then, in the return leg, the Reds put on a master-class in what is one of Liverpool's greatest nights in Europe, seeing on Real 4-0. 

That night, they were inspired by the captain, and Gerrard will have to put a similar performance in as to when he was in his prime.

UEFA Champions League
Real Madrid
Steven Gerrard

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