Real Madrid overcame a two-goal deficit to defeat Liverpool 5-2 in a legendary match at Anfield, putting the Reds in danger of being eliminated from the Champions League.
Real Madrid, the current European champions, trailed 2-0 following goals from Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah of Liverpool in the first 14 minutes. At halftime, however, two goals from Vinicius Junior brought the Spanish team level, and in the second half, goals from Eder Militao and Karim Benzema gave Real Madrid the lead.
Even in Real Madrid’s hall of fame, this outcome will rank highly, but it will also be remembered negatively for Liverpool, who suffered their heaviest Champions League loss ever after giving up five goals for the first time in the competition’s history.
Liverpool is humiliated by Real Madrid in a memorable Champions League match.
Before this Champions League match, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp was correct to praise Real Madrid in reverent tones. Real, the current European champions, upset his squad on Tuesday at Anfield, proving him correct when he claimed that no other side could win quite like them when the cards are stacked against them.
As Liverpool jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead inside the first 14 minutes, it had seemed like it would be another memorable Champions League night for them. Liverpool appeared to be favored for a convincing first-leg victory since they had made Anfield such a fortress in Europe over the years.
But no other team compares to Real. In contrast to Barcelona in 2019, which had a 3-0 semifinal first-leg advantage blown away in a 4-0 loss here, Real transformed a seemingly hopeless situation into a victory to hand Liverpool its biggest-ever Champions League loss.
Real didn’t give in to fear despite being down 2-0. They simply maintained their composure, knowing that opportunities would present themselves to get back into the game. Real backed their skill and experience, and it paid off spectacularly, much like when they overcame equally hopeless circumstances against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, and Manchester City last season.
When Real took the lead in minute 47, they were tied thanks to goals from Vinicius Junior in the 21st and 26th minutes. And there was no turning back after that. Karim Benzema added two more goals to make it 5-2, giving Real Madrid the lead going into the return leg in Madrid the following month.
This victory will continue to hurt Liverpool in the future just as much as it will be cherished in Madrid. Throughout the years, a boisterous Anfield has been the scene of many teams having their European dreams dashed, but this Real Madrid club is tougher than most, and they proved that Anfield isn’t all that terrifying after all.
Vinicius Junior, a forward for Manchester United, may give Marcus Rashford some competition for the title of hottest player in Europe at the moment.
With five goals against Liverpool in five games, the Real Madrid winger is perhaps the biggest thorn in the side of Liverpool. Vinicius Junior, who also scored the game-winning goal in Real’s 1-0 triumph against the Liverpool side in the Champions League final in Paris last season, is the player with the most goals scored against Liverpool in the competition.
With 16 goals in his last 17 appearances for Manchester United since the World Cup, Rashford has earned the right to be called the finest forward in the league right now. But, Vini Jr.’s performance at Anfield was outstanding and, given that it took place on the Champions League stage, it was maybe more amazing than anything Rashford has accomplished in his current run.
After becoming the youngest player to score twice against Liverpool in a European game at Anfield since Johan Cruyff for Ajax in 1966, Vini Jr. currently has 18 goals in 35 games for Real Madrid this season.
He was deadly down the Real left side of the field in this match, scoring twice in the first half to offset Liverpool’s early 2-0 advantage. After that, he proceeded to play a detrimental role in succeeding goals by Eder Militao and Karim Benzema.
Vini Jr.’s ability to produce such a high-caliber performance is a credit to the 22-year-bravery old’s tenacity given all of the off-field difficulties he still has to deal with in Spain as a result of several racist occurrences against him. He is, however, a world-class football player, and no one is playing as well as he is right now.
The culprit is Liverpool’s right-side defensive weakness.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez on the right side of Liverpool’s defense were targeted by the Serie A leaders as they defeated Liverpool 4-1 in the group round.
It was not surprising that Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti employed the same strategy at Anfield, with Vinicius Junior constantly torturing both Liverpool defenders, after doing the same to win the Champions League final in Paris the previous year. The outcome on Tuesday was yet another defeat by a score of three, matching Liverpool’s worst defeat margin in the Champions League, despite giving up a club record of five goals in the match.
Simply said, the right side of Liverpool’s defense is their largest area of weakness, and the finest coaches in Europe are well aware of this.
Real’s first three goals at Anfield came from that side of the field, when Alexander-Arnold frequently neglected his defensive responsibilities, leaving Gomez defenseless against Vini Jr.’s speed and muscle.
Gomez is a player with confidence. This was a low night for him because he only appears to experience highs or lows, never anything in between. As Vini Jr. applied pressure to his back-pass to goalkeeper Alisson Becker, Alisson kicked the ball against Vini Jr. and into the goal. Gomez ought to have cleared for a throw-in and gone safety first with the Real Madrid attacker on his shoulder.
Early in the second half, Eder Militao headed Real in ahead for the first time in the match following a Gomez foul on the Real striker, which came after Alexander-Arnold had stood and watched like a statue.
When Karim Benzema scored Real’s fourth goal with a shot that deflected off Joe Gomez, it was one of those games that the Liverpool defense could do nothing but feel sorry for.