• April 14, 2024

Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool: Reds outclassed in quarter-final first leg

Vinicius Junior (20y 268d) is after Raul (18y 253d) in March 1996 against Juventus the second youngest scorer for Real Madrid in a knockout game of the Champions League

Liverpool will have another major European performance at Anfield if they are to reach the last four Champions League games after a badass defeat in the first leg to Real Madrid in the quarter-finals.

The Reds were mostly second best but full of impressive attacking skills during an entertaining game in Spain against a real team that lacked their first choice in center-back.

Much of the damage was done in the first half when Vinicius Junior shot a brilliant long distance pass from Toni Kroos to his chest before shooting the opener past Alisson.

Marco Asensio doubled the lead, using a lost Trent Alexander-Arnold header to throw the ball over Alisson and then tap into an empty net.

Liverpool struggled after the break, pulling a goal off the crossbar with Mohamed Salah’s hand-to-hand combat to trigger the competition’s best 20-minute break.

But they were stung when Vinicius found the net with a first shot after a nice attacking move 25 minutes before the end.

They have a mountain to climb on April 14th in an empty Anfield on their way back.

Two steps back to Liverpool

Over the weekend, Liverpool tore Arsenal apart and won 3-0, which some believe marked the turnaround for a side far below the standards they set in last season’s stellar title campaign.

If that was a step forward, it was two steps back, with the Reds largely outdone by a remarkably superior opponent. They repeatedly released the ball under pressure and, apart from a brief rally early in the second half, were unusually pedestrian and toothless.

Manager Jürgen Klopp decided to change shortly before the break and corrected his decision to start Naby Keita before Thiago.

It could easily have been that one of the Red 10’s outfields was withdrawn, although with the three front passengers the center-back pairing of Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak looked exactly like the second string, and Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson often found out from position and exposed.

They were saddened that a foul wasn’t awarded for a challenge against Sadio Mane in front of Asensio’s goal, but 2-0 was the least deserved real at the break.

It is thanks to Klopp and his players that they have been able to fix some of their issues and get them back to a tie with Salah’s neat finish.

They couldn’t build on that, however, as Salah and Diogo Jota missed the chance to restore parity.

Real’s third goal stalled their momentum and turned the match into a game Real could create.

During the run to win the Champions League in 2019, Liverpool returned after a 3-0 away defeat and beat Barcelona overall with an impressive semi-final second leg full of ferocity and offensive brilliance.

You will have to produce similar products to defeat Barca’s fierce rivals in eight days.

The only true

Real didn’t have a consistently standout campaign of their own, but they are now threatening to produce something special if it comes down to it again.

They made it a habit to come to life at the end of a campaign during Zidane’s first tenure as manager, particularly in the Champions League, which they won three times in a row between 2016 and 2018.

In a seven-day stretch that could rule the season, with a La Liga home game against other title chasers in Barcelona between the legs of that tie, Real turned the style up for the first part, with Vinicius being the headline of a star card.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise. This is a team that hasn’t lost since January and has a smart boss in Zidane who is able to spot Liverpool’s weaknesses and steer their players to ruthlessly exploit them.

Much of the pre-game noise was due to the lack of a top-notch center-back pairing – the talisman Sergio Ramos (who has a calf injury) and Rafael Varane (who recently tested positive for Covid).

In contrast to their opponents with high-profile absentees from Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, Real were able to cope with their defensive problems without any problems. Substitutes Nacho Fernandez and Eder Militao were outstanding especially during the heavy pressure in Liverpool.

Salah’s goal is to keep the tie alive, but there is very much real to lose.


real Madrid

formation 4-3-3




11Asensio9Benzema20thVinícius Júnior

  • 1Polite
  • 17thVazquezBooked at 49 minutes
  • 3rdMilitant
  • 6thNacho
  • 23Mendy
  • 10Modric
  • 14thCasemiro
  • 8thKroos
  • 11AsensioReplaced byValverdeat the 70 ‘protocol
  • 9Benzema
  • 20thVinícius JúniorReplaced byRodrygoat the 85 ‘protocol


  • 12thMarcelo
  • 13thLunin
  • 15thValverde
  • 19thOdriozola
  • 22ndIsco
  • 24Mariano
  • 25thRodrygo
  • 26thAltube
  • 30thArribas
  • 32Scarves


formation 4-3-3




11Not correct20thWhom10mane

  • 1Alisson
  • 66Alexander-ArnoldBooked at 83 minutes
  • 47Phillips
  • 19thpumpkinReplaced byFirminoat the 81 ‘protocol
  • 26thRobertson
  • 8thKeitaReplaced byThiago Alcantaraat the 42 ‘protocolBooked at 56 minutes
  • 3rdFabinho
  • 5Wijnaldum
  • 11Not correct
  • 20thWhomReplaced byShaqiriat the 81 ‘protocol
  • 10maneBooked at 39 minutes


  • 6thThiago Alcantara
  • 7thMilner
  • 9Firmino
  • 13thAdrian
  • 15thOxlade-Chamberlain
  • 17thJones
  • 21Tsimikas
  • 23Shaqiri
  • 28Davies
  • 46R Williams
  • 53Davies
  • 64Cain

Live text

  1. End of game, Real Madrid 3, Liverpool 1.

  2. The second half ends, Real Madrid 3, Liverpool 1.

  3. Attempt blocked. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Prepared by Thiago.

  4. Foul by Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool).

  5. Lucas Vázquez (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Corner of Liverpool. The corner was caused by Federico Valverde.

  7. Attempt blocked. Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Prepared by Roberto Firmino.

  8. Foul by Sadio Mané (Liverpool).

  9. Lucas Vázquez (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Substitution, Real Madrid. Rodrygo replaces Vinícius Júnior.

  11. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card.

  12. Foul by Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool).

  13. Vinícius Júnior (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Substitution, Liverpool. Xherdan Shaqiri replaces Diogo Jota.

  15. Substitution, Liverpool. Roberto Firmino replaces Ozan Kabak.

  16. Missed attempt. Thiago (Liverpool) left-footed shot from outside the box is too high. Prepared by Mohamed Salah.

  17. Offside Real Madrid. Casemiro attempts a pass, but Karim Benzema is caught offside.

  18. Foul by Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool).

  19. Vinícius Júnior (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Foul by Thiago (Liverpool).

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