Coming into the game with a 3-1 lead, Real Madrid got the job done in the Champions League quarter-finals second leg with a positive result against Liverpool. They did so by playing out a frustrating 0-0 draw, which despite not being the most exciting clash, was enough to help them book a tie against Chelsea into the semi-finals.
Los Blancos saw through a blistering start from Liverpool, keeping 49% of the possession in the first half and defending strongly to keep things goalless heading into half-time.
Madrid frustrated the hosts even more by parking the bus tightly in the second half and profiting from Liverpool’s numerous missed chance sto ensure that the game ended as a relatively boring, 0-0 draw. It’s not like Zinedine Zidane will mind that one bit, as that draw is enough to help Madrid move into the semi-finals & take a step closer to winning another UCL trophy.
Real Madrid player ratings vs Liverpool
Zinedine Zidane (7.5) –
It was clear from minute one that Zidane had set his side up just not to lose – something they did so rather convincingly. His decision to start Valverde in the makeshift right-back role was bold but paid off really well – with the Uruguayan excelling in that position. Once again ensured his side maintained a tight, strong defensive set-up which Liverpool just couldn’t seem to unlock.
Zidane was a bit lucky that Liverpool missed all the chances that they did but his tactics worked out again, not allowing Liverpool to get total control during the game & countering their style perfectly.
Thibaut Courtois (7.5) –
Brilliant start to the game for Courtois, pulling off a clutch reflex save with his legs to deny Salah’s chance in the 2nd. Makes another fine save to deny Milner with his big reach in the 11th. Comes up big again in the 46th minute saving Firmino’s venomous shot from close. Makes a late save by closing down Salah swiftly to gain a well-earned clean sheet!
Fede Valverde (8.0) –
The Uruguayan midfielder slots in as a right-back today. Did surprisingly well in that role, keeping Mane very quiet and also making some adventurous forward runs to trouble Liverpool. Valverde was moved to a central role after Kroos’ substituted and looked better suited there. Irrespective of wherever he played, Valverde was like a hound for Madrid – sniffing out danger and clearing it – making 8 (!) interceptions in a ridiculous effort. A real engine for Madrid in midfield & defence today!
Nacho Fernandez (7.5) –
Nacho looks fully focused on keeping Liverpool quiet today and makes a terrific interception in the 38th to deny Salah a potential goal-scoring chance. Played with his heart on his sleeve for his boyhood club and came up big whenever needed in the penalty area, making 9 clearances, 3 aerials won and 3 interceptions in a brilliant defensive display.
Eder Militao (8.0) –
The Brazilian defender is being less aggressive than usual knowing Liverpool’s threat in tight spaces & made some impressive clearances in the first half. Makes a great block to deny Salah a goal in the 68th. Then a similar one to block Firmino’s shot minutes later. Shows his attacking credentials with a brilliant cross to create Benzema’s chance in the 81st.
Militao was a rock at the back and came up clutch when his side needed him, making 7 clearances 2 tackles and 4 duels won. Didn’t allow Ramos presence to be missed across both legs.
Ferland Mendy (7.5) –
Mendy does look too keen defending against Salah’s menacing pace but has dealt with him reasonably well so far in the first half. Strode forward impressively in an adventurous run in the 54th but his pass into the middle was cut out.
The Frenchman was in the right place at the right time on many occasions, cutting out LFC’s chances and keeping Salah as ineffective as possible. A real mature performance to neutralize a lot of Liverpool’s threat.
Casemiro (8.5) –
The sturdy Brazilian midfielder is trying to aid his side by sitting quite deep today. Booked for a silly reckless challenge on Milner in the 24th to flame up the LFC bench. Apart from that early error, Casemiro was near flawless in his defensive role again. Sat back to help maintain a strong defensive line, himself making clutch challenges to frustrate Liverpool.
Casemiro made 6 clearances, 3 tackles and 13 ball recoveries in another immaculate effort in which he proves why he’s recognized as the world’s best defensive midfielder.
Toni Kroos (6.5) –
The stylish German is attempting to keep things ticking in midfield with his swift passes. Moving the ball around really sweetly with his brilliant passes and maintaining calm in midfield. Worked hard to help his side move forward in transitions and sustain pressure at the back before being subbed late on.
Luke Modric (6.5) –
Modric has quite a history of playing at Anfield at the past and got a half-chance in the 9th with his volley-attempted being deflected over. Sent in a brilliant cross a minute later only to see it wasted. The Croatian put in another tenacious effort, covering a lot of ground through the 90 mins and leading his side with his vibrant attitude to help get the job done.
Marco Asensio (7.0) –
Asensio looks sharp with his distribution and movement early on. Looking really dangerous whenever moving the ball forward but lacking that final touch. His close control, forward movement & passes oozed off swagger on the day and caused a lot of problems. Bit unlucky not to get a goal or assist but helped to his team’s caused with valuable defensive work too.
Vinicius Jr (4.5) –
Vinicius has to be as clinical in counter-attacks today as he was in the first leg. Attempts a curler that is saved well in the 20th. After causing a nightmare in the first game, it’s safe to say Alexander-Arnold got the better off him in the first half. Got through on goal by beating Philips in the 66th but couldn’t score past the rushing Alisson! Lacked the swagger or ruthlessness from the other day.
Karim Benzema (5.0) –
Benzema cleverly wiggled his way into the box in the 19th before his shot deflected off a defender onto the bar, denying him a goal by inches! After being starved off chances all game long, he got a big one late in the 81st but his header was poorly struck – going over the bar. Despite his impressive link-up play, Benzema wasn’t as ruthless as usual today and will be disappointed not to have scored.
Alvaro Odriozola (6.0) –
The right-back came on for Kroos and added more energy down the right for Madrid – helping neutralize their threat through that wing and getting Madrid over the line.
Rodrygo (5.5) –
The young Brazilian got into some promising situations in counter-attacks but wasn’t able to help his side get a goal.
Isco (N/R) –
Did well to help his side enjoy some of the late possession in the game.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Madrid’s entire backline deserves a round of applause for their superb defensive showing today. But Casemiro played like a real leader, maintaining a sturdy defensive shape for his side & making all the key challenges to not let Liverpool take a proper grip on the game. He’s the MOTM for this one.