Real Madrid defeat Liverpool in a rematch to remember

Liverpool vs Real Madrid – a replay of the UEFA Champions League final last season. The two teams met again on the 21st of February at Anfield for the first leg of a Round of 16 tie. The hosts came into the tie following back to back victories over Everton and Newcastle, while los Blancos were on a 4 game winning streak as they travelled to Merseyside and hoped to continue a run of triumphs in Europe over Jurgen Klopp’s men.

LIV: Alisson (GK); Robertson, Gomez, Van Dijk, Alexander-Arnold; Fabinho, Henderson (C), Bajcetic; Gakpo, Nunez, Salah

RMA: Courtois (GK); Alaba, Militao, Rudiger, Carvajal; Camavinga, Valverde, Modric, Rodrygo, Benzema (C), Vinicius Jr

Liverpool remained unchanged from the side that won 2-0 on Tyneside last Saturday, while Real Madrid’s starting lineup featured two changes from their 2-0 win away at Osasuna on the weekend – as Nacho Fernandez and Dani Ceballos make way for Daniel Carvajal and Karim Benzema.

Salah found Nunez with just four minutes on the clock, and the Uruguayan fired home with a lovely flicked finish to send the Reds ahead early on. Their lead would soon double after Salah – who had got the assist for the opener – took advantage of Courtois’ poor clearance.

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Liverpool’s two-goal advantage wouldn’t last long though, as Vinicius Jr halved their lead on the 21 minute mark – cutting inside from the left flank before firing past Alisson and nestling the ball into the bottom-right corner to get the visitors back in the game.

Real Madrid broke through on the counter once again, as Camavinga threaded a lovely ball through to Vinicius Jr, but Joe Gomez was there to clear the danger for Jurgen Klopp’s men.

The visitors were forced into an early substitution with just 27 minutes played, as David Alaba was replaced by Nacho Fernandez after suffering a right hamstring injury. The defensive change didn’t impact their attacking output though, as Madrid floated a ball towards the back post, finding Vinicius Jr, but the Brazilian’s shot through the crowd was saved by Alisson.

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Courtois’ early blunder was levelled out by a disastrous clearance from Alisson – rather than making a simple pass, the ‘keeper played the ball directly into the path of Vinicius Jr, and the winger’s contact with the ball sent it looping into the net. Two goals apiece.

The first half ended completely even after an exhilarating 45 minutes at Anfield. The home side started on top with multiple waves of pressure which resulted in a 2-0 lead through Núñez and Salah, but the UCL holders clawed back to equalise through star-man Vinicius Jr.

Real Madrid took the lead almost before fans had had chance to return to their seats, beginning the second half on the front foot. Luka Modric whipped a free-kick across goal, finding Eder Militao who sent an uncontested header rifling into the back of the net.

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The goals kept flowing for the visitors, who put themselves two goals clear of the Reds when Karim Benzema finished off a counterattack with a rather audacious punt at goal that took a deflection off Joe Gomez before leaving Alisson hopeless between the sticks.

You guessed it. Another Real Madrid goal – through Benzema again this time, who humiliated Alisson before slotting the ball past three defenders to give Carlo Ancelotti’s side a three-goal advantage for the return leg.

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After a bright start, the hosts galloped to a 2-0 lead within fifteen minutes. However, Los Blancos responded strongly and proceeded to put five past Alisson, meaning they’ll head back to the Spanish capital with a very comfortable aggregate lead. Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp will look to right a few wrongs and continue their league form in the time between the legs, as they have a mountain to climb in Madrid. Despite their lead, we don’t expect Carlo Ancelotti to take his foot off the gas at all – the fixture at the Bernabeu could lead to humiliation for the Reds.

The second leg will be played on 15th March, with kickoff at 8pm UK.