Real Madrid comeback to thrash Liverpool at Anfield
Champions League holders Real Madrid showed class to come from two goals down to thrash Liverpool at Anfield in the first leg round of 16.
Darwin Nunez had given Liverpool an early lead after a cross from Mohamed Salah found in, he finished exquisitely to put the Reds in the lead.
Liverpool doubled their lead when Thibaut Courtois fumbled a back pass allowing Salah to put the ball past him. It looked like Liverpool were in cruise control until Vinicius Jr. scored for the visitors.
Alison Becker then fumbled a back pass by Joe Gomes. His poor clearance went off Vinicius Jr to draw Madrid level. From that point, it was all Real Madrid as Liverpool struggled to find their rhythm.
Militao scored from a corner kick to put the visitors into the lead before Madrid captain, Karim Benzema made sure of all three points when he scored twice.
Liverpool brutally exposed
Liverpool made the start of their dreams as they rattled Real with their high-tempo play, getting the two goals they thought would provide the platform for a night of glory.
Instead, Anfield was reduced to near silence by the end as Jurgen Klopp’s side were reduced to chasing shadows in the face of Real’s imperious style and lethal threat in front of goal.
Liverpool did not help their cause with mistakes and dreadful defending, offering up invitations to a side of vast experience and world-class quality that is dangerous enough without being delivered gifts.
Alisson was guilty of an uncharacteristic error that saw Real draw level and you could visibly see the belief draining out of the side that has struck fear into opponents so many times at Anfield.
Militao’s routine header from a free-kick was also helped by poor marking while the unhappy Gomez was unfortunate to deflect in Benzema’s first.
The danger then was that Liverpool would concede even more as they barely raised a threat after the break.
Klopp will no doubt invoke the spirit of Barcelona in the 2019 Champions League semi-final – when Liverpool overcame a 3-0 first-leg deficit to advance with a stunning 4-0 win at Anfield – but this is not the same Liverpool, Real are not as flimsy as the Catalans and this time the second leg is in Spain.
If Liverpool somehow pull this one off, it would be one of the most spectacular feats in their history.
Ruthless Real show sheer class
Real’s run to winning the Champions League last season was full of moments when they looked to be in genuine strife, first against Chelsea then especially against Manchester City in the semi-final.
And yet, under the calm guidance and wisdom the great coach Carlo Ancelotti, Real held their nerve on those occasions to win, eventually lifting the trophy against the opponents they blew away at Anfield on Tuesday.
Vinicius was the catalyst in Paris and turned the game here, firing a shot cross past Alisson before closing down the keeper for Real’s second.
After that, Real were truly outstanding as they controlled possession, kept Liverpool at arm’s length with ease and put away those three second-half goals that put them in complete command of this tie.
Inspired by the two great veterans Modric and Benzema, Real have an iron belief that they will prevail and so it proved again.
Many sides would have subsided after going two goals down so soon but Real simply kept playing, confident their chances would come, and they did.
Ancelotti is too experienced to allow any complacency but he will know this is a truly outstanding result for any side to achieve at Anfield, even the Champions League holders.