Gareth Bale to return for Real Madrid against Liverpool

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Carlo Ancelotti is ready to welcome Gareth Bale straight back into the Real Madrid starting lineup for tonight's visit of Liverpool in the Champions League.

Having dispatched the Reds 3-0 at Anfield last month, Real Madrid are expected to move onto 12 points and clinch progression to the knock round of the competition.

The reigning European champions were without Bale for the trip to Merseyside in October, but goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and two from Karim Benzema before half time made it a routine encounter.

With the Welshman out following an injury picked up on international duty, Ancelotti's side have won all their games - including El Clasico at the Bernabeu and a 4-0 La Liga away win against Granada last Saturday.

Such is the strength in depth at Real Madrid, it can be argued that the Spanish giants have actually looked stronger without their €80m signing, with James Rodriguez and Isco combining beautifully behind Benzema and Ronaldo.

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The return of Bale will probably push Isco out of the team, as Ancelotti confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Bale is 'fine' to play.

"The question is whether to deploy a player who is coming back from injury from the start," Ancelotti said. "I will decide tomorrow."

Cristiano Ronaldo's goal record

The other storyline in the match as far as Real Madrid are concerned is Cristiano Ronaldo's quest to surpass club legend Raul's Champions League goalscoring record.

Raul scored 70 goals in Europe's elite club competition, and as Ronaldo is currently on 69 and scoring goals at an outrageous clip, he could very well match and beat Raul's mark this evening.

He scored his 17th goal of the La Liga season on Saturday, a total achieved in just 10 games. Real Madrid currently sit top of the table.

Gareth Bale
Real Madrid

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