Coming off a dominant win in the Premier League, Liverpool aims to take one step into the Champions League semi-finals with a win over Real Madrid at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in the quarter-finals first leg. Their semi-finals dreams ended up taking a hit as they succumbed to a 1-3 loss which means now they have everything to do to win this quarter-final.
The Reds started the game in sloppy fashion and were made to pay for it when Vinicius Jr beat the high line to score from close range in the 27th-minute. Things went bad to worse when they gifted the hosts a second goal, with Trent Alexander-Arnold’s poor backpass allowing Marco Asensio to easily finish from close range & make it 2-0 in the 36th.
Liverpool were extremely lethargic in the first half and made to pay for it. The Reds came out a changed team in the second half, playing with more intensity and effort – which helped them get a goal back and make it 1-2 in the 51st-minute thanks to Mo Salah cleverly beat the offside trap and scoring from close.
Just as it seemed like a comeback was on, Liverpool conceded again as Vinicius Jr put a shot through Nathaniel Philips’ legs to make it 3-1! Liverpool huffed & puffed trying to get another one, but were left frustrated in the end. While the away goal is a positive, but Jurgen Klopp’s side has A LOT to do to turn around his deficit and need another special performance at Anfield to now qualify for the semis.
Liverpool Player Ratings vs Real Madrid
Jurgen Klopp (4.0) –
A VERY interesting decision from Klopp to start Keita in this kind of a big game. It ended up being a horrible one as Keita did nothing and was taken off before half-time. Klopp’s tendency to stick with the high defensive line cost his side and he just couldn’t motivate the boys to manage a turn-around in the second half. Some of the tactical changes like Mane to a central role and Thiago higher up didn’t work either.
Alisson (4.0) –
Couldn’t really do anything to stop Vinicius’ shot from open range for his goal. Tried his best but Alisson couldn’t react sharp enough to stop Asensio from scoring past him. Should definitely have done better for Vinicius’ second which nearly went through him way too easily. A day to forget for the Brazilian.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (3.0) –
After a terrific showing vs Arsenal, Trent is not having an easy day here and looks very nervous against Madrid’s duo down his side. Completely lost track of Vinicius, allowing him to go through for his goal.
If that was disappointing, what he did later was embarrassing as his unnecessary back-pass fell straight in Asensio’s path to let him score an easy goal. While some of his crosses were impressive and he did make some good defensive challenges, Alexander-Arnold’s vulnerabilities were horribly exposed today and he was run ragged by Vinicius. An absolute nightmare for the right-back.
Ozan Kabak (4.5) –
Let’s just say if Kabak wants his loan deal made permanent, he needs to come up with a big performance in this one. Started the game strongly and made a great block to deny Benzema in the 24th. Then a bit lucky not to concede a penalty after seemingly clobbering the Madrid striker down minutes later.
Even luckier not to make a fatal error in the 42nd after his own botched backpass was pounced on by Asensio but his shot went wide. Being too rash with his decision-making got him in a few tough spots today. Subbed late on for an attacking change.
Nat Phillips (4.5) –
Liverpool’s new Mr Dependable in defence is keeping a close eye on the menacing Benzema today. But he couldn’t stop Vinicius for his goal after not being able to match his pace. Made a clutch block to stop Benzema’s goal-bound shot in the 57th. Bit unlucky to see Vinicius shot go through his legs for his second but maybe should’ve closed him down sooner. Not as reliable at the back today as he’s been in recent games.
Andy Robertson (5.0) –
Robertson was probably the only LFC defender not to make a calamitous error in the first half but even he’s struggling to keep up with Asensio. Madrid couldn’t create the majority of his chances down his side but he could’ve perhaps reacted better to stop the third goal from happening. Worked hard with his persistent forward runs but couldn’t create anything special.
Naby Keita (3.5) –
Mr. Impressive-in-training gets a surprise start ahead of Thiago today. Still not sure why that happened. Added no energy, creativity or anything positive whatsoever. Subbed off before half-time.
Gini Wijnaldum (5.0) –
Captain Gini looks a bit rusty early on, giving away possession & being sloppy with his pressing. Just not able to be a dynamic leader like Henderson. But he finally acted like a captain by making a driving run to play on Jota before Salah’s goal. That seemed to be the only positive thing he did, as his link-up play with Salah didn’t work and Gini couldn’t do anything to create more goals.
Fabinho (4.5) –
Fabinho is not helping his defenders by playing much higher-up than usual, encouraging the high defensive line. Lost track of Modric and allowed him to make that pass too easily to Vinicius for his second. His passing was really promising, but Fabinho just couldn’t outwit Madrid’s midfielders on the day and didn’t protect his backline as well as Casemiro did for his.
Mo Salah (7.0) –
Salah is hungry for revenge for the 2018 CL final and is moving with real vigour. After being frustrated in the first half, he woke up after the break and showed real predatorial instinct by popping up in space inside the area and scoring past Courtois.
He tried his hardest to get more goals for his side, creating a few with some glorious passes and moving into promising areas – only for his teammates being unable to play him in. Definitely LFC’s most dangerous attacker but let down by some of his teammates.
Diogo Jota (5.5) –
With 6 goals in his last 4 competitive games, there’s no surprise Jota starts ahead of Firmino. Almost invisible in the first half but played a big role in setting up Salah’s strike, going past a few defenders before his deflected shot rebounded for Mo to finish. Nearly scored minutes later but his header hit the side-netting.
Played a sweet one-two with Mane in the 63rd but his final pass was intercepted by a brilliant challenge. Improved after a slight positional change but would’ve wanted to get more involved & see more of the ball.
Sadio Mane (4.0) –
Mane’s only prominent moment from the first-half was when he got booked for a reckless challenge. Trying his best to create stuff but his final product is still lacking that special something. Shifted to a central role in the second half but that didn’t work either. Mane ended up going down easily on too many occasions and despite getting into promising areas, his final product was extremely poor.
Thiago Alcantara (6.0) –
Thiago was brought on earlier than expected to help calm things down with LFC getting dominated. Tries an ambitious shot from outside the box with his left-foot in the 77th only to see it soar above. Helped his side see more of the ball after coming on but unable to help them get more goals.
Roberto Firmino (N/R) –
Firmino came on too late into the game and couldn’t really create anything in the last few minutes.
Xherdan Shaqiri (N/R) –
Like Firmino, Shaqiri was also unable to create anything for his side.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Salah looked the only LFC player determined to make a difference today. He scored the goal, looked menacing every time he got a hold of possession but was let down by his teammates.