Pako Ayestarán, who Liverpool fans will remember as an assistant under Rafa Benitez at Anfield, has backed Real Madrid for success when they meet the Reds on Wednesday.

The Spanish giants travel to Merseyside this week for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash.

They lead the tie 3-1 from the first leg, meaning they head into the second in command and with the pressure very much on Liverpool.

The Reds, of course, have a history of turning Champions League knockout ties around at Anfield, with their famous old stadium the home of many European comebacks.

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Indeed the last of those came against Spanish opposition, with the stunning success over Barcelona in 2019 still strong in the memory.

That result came courtesy of a packed and rampant Anfield pushing their side on, as they’ve done in the past, to another famous victory.

That will be missing for this tie as fans remain out of stadiums, a fact that Ayestarán believes with play in Madrid’s favour.

“Real Madrid gain a lot when Anfield is empty,” he told MARCA.

“The atmosphere I experienced in the quarter-finals with Juve and in the semi-finals with Chelsea, wow, that’s heavy. It pushes your team a lot.

“That game at Anfield is not easy. But Madrid have got a lot of nerve from living in that kind of atmosphere with top players. But now they win.

“Now they have positive momentum. They have players in midfield like Casemiro, Kroos and Modric who are at the level expected of them. And that inertia means that any element that comes into the team can do well.”

“They (Liverpool) are at the opposite point, with a lot of doubts throughout the year. The absentees make them a sea of doubts.”