Karim Benzema scored a goal in the 79th minute to add the final nail of certainty to Liverpool's fate as the Reds fell to Real Madrid 1-0 Wednesday evening in the Spanish capital and were knocked out of the Champions League 6-2 on aggregate.
Real Madrid earned a corner in the 5th minute, but the chance was cleared. Moments later Darwin Núñez had an excellent chance to put Liverpool on the board, but Thibaut Courtois made a nice save. From that point, the home team kept Alisson and the defence under constant pressure. Toni Kroos and Vinícius Jr. forced saves from the Reds keeper in the 11th and 14th minutes.
Eduardo Camavinga forced a fingertip save from Alisson in the 20th minute as his shot was headed toward the top corner. Cody Gakpo had a strong chance for the Reds but his header was just wide.
Núñez also got his head to the ball for a shot just past the half-hour mark and forced a save in the 33rd minute. Gakpo kept the pressure on with another attempt later in the half, but it was pushed out for a corner. Neither side could find the back of the net for the rest of the half, leaving the match scoreless.
Liverpool wasted an opportunity in the box in the early seconds of the second half. A series of crisp passing in tight areas had the ball at the feet of Fabinho, but his shot was high. Alisson came away with another big save 53rd minute as the score stayed 0-0.
A corner came the Reds' way in the 58th minute, but it was cleared. Real Madrid sent a header over the bar in the 63rd. Karim Benzema missed a good opportunity for Real Madrid in the 69th when he put a shot wide from the centre of the box. Jürgen Klopp picked up a yellow card later in the half, arguing a call or lack thereof.
After a strong buildup, Liverpool earned a corner, but Real Madrid struck moments later in the 78th minute. Benzema scored as Vinícius Jr. slid him the ball after he had fallen to the ground to put the home side up 1-0. Real Madrid made an appeal for a handball in the box deep in stoppage time, but VAR ruled that none occurred, as Real Madrid settled for the 1-0 win.
Alisson's Big Day
After Alisson surrendered 5 goals to Real Madrid in the first leg, the Brazilian was solid between the pipes in this match. He was credited with 7 saves with two of them one-on-one chances where he was able to cut down on the shooting angle.
Better, But Not Good Enough
While Liverpool were excellent for the first 20 minutes of their first match with Real Madrid, their performance fell off the rest of the way. Had Darwin Núñez been able to put his early chance in the back of the net, who knows what would have happened? Liverpool were much more consistent in this match and played well enough to get a result. That bodes well for the rest of the season.
Time For A Break
Due to the postponement of the Fulham match, Liverpool will not see the pitch again until April 1st away at Manchester City. The break comes at a perfect time for the Reds as Stefan Bajčetić is recovering from an injury and it will give the club time to regroup for the home stretch of the season.
LFC Globe Verdict
Liverpool played well vs. Real Madrid and that's all any of us could have really asked for out of this match. Expecting them to erase a 3-goal deficit against one of the best clubs in the world was honestly a bit unrealistic. Is anyone happy with the loss? No, but supporters can be pleased with the better effort.
Man Of The Match & What's Next
There is no question in my mind that Alisson deserves the Man of the Match. Going up against a team like Real Madrid, you know they are going to put shots on frame, so he had to be strong in goal and with 7 saves, he certainly was.
Liverpool will enjoy a break before returning to Premier League action on April 1st at Etihad Stadium vs Manchester City. Kickoff is set for 12:30 BST. A list of Liverpool FC streams is available so fans around the world can follow the action.
- Karim Benzema 79'
- Roberto Firmino for Darwin Núñez 57'
- Harvey Elliott for Diogo Jota 57'
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for James Milner 73''
- Fabio Carvalho for Cody Gakpo 90'
- Kostas Tsimikas for Andy Robertson 90'
- Rodrygo for Karim Benzema 82'
- Dani Ceballos for Luka Modric 82'
- Aurelien Tchouameni for Toni Kroos 84'
- Marco Asensio for Vinicius Jr. 84'
- Lucas Vazquez for Dani Carvajal 86'