Liverpool's recent return to form makes their Champions League clash against Real Madrid on Tuesday night a much more exciting prospect.
The two sides have a huge amount of recent history in this competition, most recently facing off in last season's final in Paris. The Spanish club came out on top occasion, and considering Liverpool's struggles in recent months, many will view them as favourites for this last-16 tie.
Carlo Ancelotti has done a brilliant job at the Bernabeu. While he was viewed as a short-term appointment, he has also set the club up for long-term success with the way he has utilised his squad.
It is perhaps something that their upcoming opponents could learn from.
Rafael Benitez feels Liverpool could learn from Real Madrid
Liverpool are likely to undergo a major rebuild this summer. The squad has grown stale, especially in midfield. While Stefan Bajcetic's rise in recent times has been encouraging, it has not changed the fact that new recruits will be needed in that position.
Real Madrid have been slowly evolving their midfield in recent times, steadily moving away from the longstanding trio of Casemiro, Luka Modric, and Toni Kroos. Casemiro was sold in the summer, while the other pair have had their playing time carefully managed after the growth of other members of the squad.
Speaking to The Guardian, Rafael Benitez hinted that Liverpool could learn from Madrid's approach in this regard in recent. times.
This is a Liverpool team with injuries, not getting the results expected. Players like [Roberto] Firmino or [Diogo] Jota, who connected with [Mohamed] Salah, have been missing. The departures, especially [Sadio] Mané, change the structure.
Signings should compensate for that but Darwin Núñez or [Cody] Gakpo are different – especially Núñez, who moves into space more. No one expected Firmino and Jota to get injured at once and maybe that obliges you to accelerate a process.
Sometimes that’s good: I had Raúl at 17 and he went straight into the first team at Real Madrid. But there are other players who need time to mature. The demands are there though. They have to perform now and sometimes that pressure is too great, which can affect everything.
Jürgen is still a great coach, but if you take away a series of important elements like [Virgil] van Dijk who gives you defensive solidity or Mané then add the absence of Firmino and Jota, that’s going to be felt. The midfield has had to take on greater responsibility, a more central role.
[Stefan] Bajcetic is playing very well and there are players who bring a freshness but you want veterans for them to develop alongside – like the transition with [Toni] Kroos and [Luka] Modric at Madrid. [Dani] Ceballos and [Federico] Valverde are fundamental too and maybe Liverpool lack those players having the time to develop.
There is no doubt that Liverpool's midfield is past its sell by date, with the likes of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, and James Milner no longer performing to the level we have seen from them in seasons gone by.
Unfortunately for Jurgen Klopp, he does not have many options to blood new players in this area due to a lack of investment over the last couple of years.
Jude Bellingham is their primary target at the end of the season, so it will be interesting to see how they approach the rebuilding of the midfield. They could do worse than following the example that Real Madrid have set.