Real Madrid left Liverpool in need of another special European night at Anfield after Vinicius Junior’s brace helped them beat the Premier League champions 3-1 in the first leg of their League quarter-final champions.
After a slow start for Jurgen Klopp’s side, Vinicius Junior capitalized on converting Toni Kroos’ exquisite long pass to give Real Madrid a deserved lead in the 27th minute.
Liverpool’s night got even worse when Trent Alexander-Arnold’s bad header gave Real Madrid a second, Marcos Asensio lifting the ball over Alisson Becker and in the net 11 minutes before the break.
Klopp reacted just before half-time, shooting Naby Keita and bringing in Thiago Alcantara, and they started the second half much better.
They were rewarded with a valuable away goal by Mohamed Salah in the 51st minute, but Real had their own response when Vinicius (65) hit his second goal of the night to restore the two-goal advantage Real and leave Liverpool with a lot of work to do ahead of next week’s return leg.
How Real dismissed Liverpool …
Real Madrid quickly came out of the blocks and dominated the opening stages as the visitors struggled to find the pace that secured them a 3-0 victory at Arsenal this weekend.
They were caught napping at the back in the 27th minute as Zidane’s side took a deserved lead.
- Real’s problems in defense, something Liverpool are more than familiar with, meant that Eder Militao and Nacho teamed up in the center of the four-backs.
- Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita has only made his second Champions League start to the season, one of three changes to the quarter-final first leg at Real Madrid. Manager Jurgen Klopp opted for more legs in midfield, with Keita replacing Thiago Alcantara and Georginio Wijnaldum for James Milner, and extra pace up front as fit Diogo Jota came in to replace shy Roberto Firmino.
Kroos, with no pressure on the ball, made a perfect 50-yard forward pass that Vinicius Junior controlled on his chest before calmly beating Alisson with his second.
Los Blancos strengthened their dominance nine minutes later when an Alexander-Arnold mistake gave them a second.
The right-back directed another long pass from Kroos straight into Asensio’s path, who lobbed the ball over Alisson before tapping into an empty net.
Home team: Courtois (7), Vazquez (6), Eder Militao (7), Nacho (7), Mendy (8), Kroos (8), Casemiro (7), Modric (8), Asensio (8), Benzema (7) , Vinicius Junior (8 years old).
Submarines: Valverde (6), Rodrygo (n / a).
Outdoor team: Alisson (5), Alexander-Arnold (5), Kabak (5), Phillips (6), Robertson (6), Keita (4), Fabinho (6), Wijnaldum (6), Salah (6), Jota (7 )), Mane (5).
Submarines: Thiago (6), Firmino (n / a), Shaqiri (n / a).
Man of the match: Vinicius Junior.
Liverpool were stunned and Klopp reacted just before the break by bringing Thiago in for Keita, but the German needed more work at half-time to bring his side back into this game.
But they got the start – and away goal – they needed at the start of the second half with Salah sending the ball home via the arm of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and under the crossbar after Diogo Jota has entered the penalty area.
Liverpool picked up the pace and looked most likely to score the next goal, and without a rescue challenge from Ferland Mendy with Sadio Mane ready to pounce, they would have had their second goal.
However, it was Vinicius who flipped the tie in favor of Real with a punch in the 65th minute.
Luka Modric played the ball on the way to the Brazilian, who took a shot in the legs of Nat Phillips, with Alisson unable to help the ball into the corner of the net, leaving Liverpool with plenty to do if they are to reach the goal. semi-finals.
“ Real had too much for Liverpool ”
Sky Sports’ Adam Bate review:
“It was an exciting game but Liverpool came out on the wrong side.
“The makeshift defense had been a bit more confident in the past few weeks, but this exam was a bit more difficult and Real Madrid had too many in the evening.
“Vinicius Junior was superb, but the frustration is that individual mistakes also played their part – notably Trent Alexander-Arnold’s misguided header for the second goal.
“Mohamed Salah’s away goal means the draw is far from over and the opportunity is still there for Liverpool to progress at Anfield, but they are against it now.”
Opta Statistics – Real Madrid Advantage …
- Real Madrid have progressed 15 of their last 16 UEFA Champions League knockout appearances after winning the opener, failing only against Ajax in the last 16 games 2018-19.
- Only Spanish sides (14) have progressed by more UEFA Champions League knockout appearances after losing the first leg than England sides (12), with Liverpool being the most recent English club to do so, against Barcelona in the 2018-19 semi-finals.
- In all European competitions, no team has beaten Liverpool more often than Real Madrid (4, tied with Benfica), with the Reds having suffered loss in each of the last four meetings with Los Blancos.
- Mohamed Salah has now scored 27 goals this season, four more than he managed last season, while also equaling his 2018-19 tally – it wasn’t until 2017-18 (44) that he scored more for Liverpool in a single campaign.
Klopp’s side are back in action on Saturday when they host Aston Villa at Anfield, live on Sky Sports Premier League (kick off 3pm) ahead of next Wednesday’s second leg against Real Madrid. The Spaniards face a big La Liga clash ahead of the second leg when they host Barcelona at El Clasico on Saturday; kick off 8 p.m.