Brendan Rodgers: Real Madrid are 'probably the best in the world'
Brendan Rodgers believes Real Madrid may be the best team in the world, but says his own side's defensive frailties have been exaggerated.
Liverpool, third in their group, visit Real in the Champions League on Tuesday and have conceded 21 goals in 15 games in all competitions this season.
Speaking about his side's defence, the Reds' boss said: "It is nowhere near as bad as people make out.
"What has been the frustration has been the mistakes and sloppy goals."
|Last 10 games|
|* - Results after normal time, Liverpool went on to beat Middlesbrough on penalties in League Cup|
After finishing second in the Premier League last season, Liverpool have struggled to find the same form this term and find themselves seventh in the top-flight after 10 matches and third in the Champions League group after two losses out of three.
They head into their return clash with Real having lost the previous meeting between the two sides 3-0 at Anfield.
"I think we showed in the previous game, although the score was 3-0, we can still have moments when we can hurt Real Madrid and that will be the idea," said Rodgers.
"We are certainly not coming here as a team expected to lose and then look at the other games as games to qualify.
"For us, we see it as an opportunity. We still very much have qualification in our hands."
Group B is finely poised at the halfway mark, with Liverpool, Ludogorets and Basel all on three points each. Real Madrid, who could welcome back £85m world record-signing Gareth Bale against Liverpool, appear to be closing in on qualification with nine points out of nine.
Real, the defending champions, top La Liga and beat Barcelona 3-1 last month.
"They are probably the best team in the world at the moment and we really look forward to big games," added Rodgers, who included striker Daniel Sturridge in his squad which travelled to the Spanish capital.
"When you come up against the best opponents, that is the challenge and what makes you perform to your best."