Can Liverpool tap into that Anfield magic for another European comeback against a Spanish giant?
The Reds enter leg 2 of their quarterfinal match-up against Real Madrid down 1-3 on aggregate. At a minimum, Liverpool will need a 2-0 win to advance. A goal from Real Madrid would likely bury Liverpool.
Certainly an interesting line-up selection from Jurgen Klopp. His squad needs goals, but he’s left Diogo Jota and Thiago out of the starting XI.
Will the gamble pay off?
Let’s see if you’ve heard this one before: Liverpool for large stretches was the better team in the first half, but didn’t finish their chances. Shot tally at half-time is Liverpool 6 / 2 to RM 3 / 1. It’s 0-0 after the first 45.
In the end, another frustrating story for Liverpool. They were the better team tonight but couldn’t convert their chances. A 0-0 final means RM goes through 3-1 on aggregate.
Liverpool Player Ratings vs Real Madrid
Jurgen Klopp (7) –
A big “wtf” on this line-up. We need goals, so why not Jota and Thiago? Maybe they’re early second half subs. Doesn’t start Keita, so that’s a positive.
Give Klopp credit for trying. His subs where put in to score (though we kind of needed that at the beginning). Second half he shifts to a 4-2-3-1, inserting Jota and moving Salah up top. He shifts Fabinho to CB as well when bringing on Thiago.
Shifts again to a 4-4-2 but too little too late. Gets an A for effort.
Alisson (7) –
Hot take: if we don’t keep a clean sheet, we don’t advance. So Ali needs to come up HUGE today.
Like two years ago vs Barcelona, he’s getting challenged early. Steady so far.
HUGE double save in the 66th keeps Liverpool’s hopes alive. Kept a clean sheet, did all he could do.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (7.5) –
Need him to be more like the TAA against Villa, less like the TAA against RM last week.
Crosses coming in, just not hitting anyone. Really active. Pushing. Only caught out of position defensively once or twice.
Ozan Kabak (6) –
Relatively solid showing. Almost had a costly deflection but no glaring mistakes. Subbed off early second half for more offensive presence.
Nat Phillips (7.5) –
Heady defending, intercepting. Strong strong outing. Even gets two shots off.
Andy Robertson (7) –
On the effin attack early. Although a very poor pass in the 9th minute got RM pushing forward for the first time. Booked for sticking up for Milner after the Casimiro cheap shot. Tireless effort with nothing to show.
James Milner (7) –
Unless Milly is being asked to play deep to provide cover for TAA, this doesn’t make much sense. Even THEN it still doesn’t as Milner isn’t a burner with the pace to stay with Vinicius Jr.
Well struck ball challenges Courtois in 12th. Handles a cheap shot from Casimiro well. It was a typical class Milner performance, though he was subbed off early in second half.
Gini Wijnaldum (7) –
Getting more involved offensively than usual. Fires a good opportunity way high towards end of first half. Some solid dispossessing and bossing in mid. Gini worked his ass off this one.
Fabinho (6) –
Seems to struggle more against RM for some reason. Didn’t really exact his will on this match. Shifted to CB in second half.
Mo Salah (7) –
Could’ve an should’ve put Liverpool up 1-0 in the third minute. Needs to be more clinical. But definitely hungry for goals. Stays in the hunt but just can’t convert. Not capitalizing on that first attempt was more critical than expected.
Roberto Firmino (7) –
Quiet first half but challenges Courtois early in the second. Grows into the second half. Four completed dribbles. Four shots on goal. But nothing goes in. Subbed late.
Sadio Mane (5) –
Looking more like the “Mane of old” early on. But fades into a frustrating, ineffective second half performance. Subbed off for Ox.
Diogo Jota (6) –
Comes on and paired with the front 3 to create some offense. Very active. Tracking back well. But just manages one shot.
Thiago (6) –
Comes on essentially to fill in the Fabinho role as Klopp shifts Fab to CB. Composed passing but still not the difference maker we needed.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (NR) – On late for Manes.
Xherdan Shaqiri (NR) – On late for Bobby. Should’ve come on earlier.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Probably goes to Nat Phillips. Lots of “7 out of 10” performances tonight but no true standout.