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Real Madrid defeated Liverpool 1-0 at the Bernabeu to advance 6-2 overall and reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
Not a miracle. No response. In the end, there was not even a goal to delight the traveling Liverpool fans.
The Reds traveled to Spain’s capital city in search of the most implausible of escape strategies, but all they received was yet another harsh lesson from Real Madrid, their archrival in the Champions League.
Karim Benzema’s late goal gave the competition’s reigning champions a 6-2 aggregate victory, shattering Liverpool’s hopes of reaching the European Cup for the fourth time in six seasons. Carlo Ancelotti’s team (Real Madrid) now advances to the quarterfinals.
A depressing reality check for Reds supporters, many of whom left the stadium before the game, and indeed the tie, reached its conclusion.
Although they had a few chances, particularly in the first half, their team never seemed like it would be able to close the gap on the 5-2 deficit from the first leg.
The damage was undoubtedly done at Anfield when a two-goal advantage turned into a three-goal issue in less than 45 minutes, but for Jurgen Klopp and his team, this served as a painful reminder of how far they had fallen since losing to Real in the season’s final by a razor-thin margin.
Real Madrid WINNER: Vinicius Junior
What is it that he dislikes about Liverpool? At this point, is it personal? Vinicius Junior enjoys competing against Trent Alexander-Arnold, without a doubt.
From the start, the winger was unstoppable, running circuits around Liverpool’s right-back. After turning Ibrahima Konate inside out in the first half, he could have been able to score, but his shot was unimpressive.
Yet he unavoidably had an impact, assisting Benzema in Madrid’s lone goal that evening. That was a straightforward stab to a player who was open rather than the finest assist.
Yet, it was another goal-related contribution against his preferred European foe.
What an impressive performance the Brazilian gave. His spectacular first-half stop from Vinicius involved an instinctive forearm block at close range.
Better still, Eduardo Camavinga’s subsequent touch onto the crossbar while fully extended.
A second one-on-one opportunity against Fede Valverde came just after the break, and only some clumsy defense and a fortunate ricochet prevented him from keeping a well-earned clean sheet.
LOSER: Trent Alexander-Arnold
If ever a night could be summed up by a corner. An even tie.
Less than ten minutes remained in the game, and Liverpool’s center-backs and attackers got ready to receive a delivery from the right side coming from Alexander-Arnold.
Madrid was able to break because it didn’t come; the ball was pushed long beyond the far post. Alexander-Arnold began yet another recovery sprint back toward his own goal with his shoulders hunched.
During the course of this tie, he has made a few of those. He won’t be eager to see Vinicius Junior again, that much is certain.
The Englishman, who made one good challenge to prevent Benzema from scoring, but otherwise appeared to be a broken man, was unable to match the Brazilian’s slickness and skill.
Real Madrid WINNER: Luka Modric (Real Madrid)
Modric is one of the greatest midfielders in history, and that much is obvious. And Wednesday night’s performance was yet another noteworthy addition to his lengthy highlight reel.
Although the Croatian didn’t score or provide an assist, he softened Liverpool’s game early.
Early on, the visitors were predictably intrepid, but Madrid had time to catch its breath thanks to Modric’s calm passing and skill playing between the lines.
Additionally, he made a contribution offensively, putting a shot barely over the crossbar in the first half and setting up Valverde for a close call in the second.
Naturally, Santiago Bernabeu gave Modric a standing ovation as he exited the field. This man is a living Legend
WINNER: Carlo Ancelotti(Real Madrid)
Madrid is accustomed to competing across all fronts. They should be aiming for league, cup, and continental success with this team, this manager, and, let’s face it, their heritage.
Ancelotti’s season hasn’t been the simplest, though. Madrid is trailing Barcelona in the Cup del Rey and needs to defeat them on Sunday if they are to have any hope of remaining in the Liga title fight.
Then, Ancelotti required this one. And fortunately for the Blancos manager, his side gave a strong performance.
This was classic Real Madrid, with every year of their time in Europe shining through in their performance. Los Blancos’ management can be somewhat blamed for the fact that they never really appeared worried.
It did on Wednesday. Again.
Liverpool Fans (LOSER)
Even before the referee’s last whistle, Felix Zwayer, there was only half a crowd in the away section. Could you blame them?
1800 people who were fortunate enough to obtain tickets in a scandalously small allotment had come with high hopes, but after a passable first 45 minutes, the optimism on the field and in the stands gradually diminished.
With a 2-0 lead and an early lead in the second leg, Liverpool had a chance to win this match. However, what transpired afterward highlighted Klopp’s team’s decline this year.
Real scored five goals in quick succession at Anfield, and even if they weren’t completely destroyed here, it generally felt like a good club was keeping an average one at arm’s length.