Liverpool 2-5 Real Madrid (Vinícius Júnior x2, Militão & Benzema x2). Five goals away from home. Here is my reaction to the great win. Coming up: Player ratings, post game quotes and an unmissable podcast.
Real Madrid’s form had picked up slightly, and just in time as it was time for the Champions League to return for the knock-out stages. Liverpool were Madrid’s opponents for the last 16, and would always pose a sizable challenge for the reigning champions. David Alaba continued to start at left-back as Ferland Mendy was still out with injury. Eduardo Camavinga started in the midfield alongside Fede Valverde and the experienced Luka Modrić. The bench consisted of a mix of youth and big names, with Toni Kroos amongst the substitutes as well as Eden Hazard. Karim Benzema captained the side for this big game.
✅ Our starting XI @LFC!#UCL pic.twitter.com/MhzLE0v6II— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) February 21, 2023
The first half was exhilarating, but did not start in the way that Madrid would have wanted after a moment of class from Darwin Núñez put his side ahead after just a few minutes played. The hosts looked sharper than Los Blancos, and were putting together some nice passes. This could have seen them go two ahead, but Mohamed Salah could not shoot on target after a decent run into the box. It was two not long after anyway, due to a massive Thibaut Courtois error. The keeper glitched with the ball at his feet, and Mo Salah happily pinched the ball away and rolled it into the goal. Disaster for Madrid - but they were only down, not out. Vinícius Júnior responded quickly for Real Madrid with a display of top quality himself. He combined well with Karim Benzema before curling a shot into the bottom corner. He tried to notch again but was then stopped by Alisson Becker. That battle would turn sour for the goalkeeper before half time, as he made a Courtois style blunder - kicking the ball straight into Vinícius Júnior which rebounded straight into the goal. 2-2 at half time and fans couldn't wait for this game to restart.
Real Madrid are throwing a party at Anfield pic.twitter.com/diVXfyiGME— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 21, 2023
The second half began just as vibrantly as the first. However, it was Madrid who scored early - as Luka Modrić delivered a fierce ball in, but it was met equally by Éder Militão who smashed his header home for three. This now spelt disaster for Liverpool, and within ten minutes of the second half, the visitors extended their lead. Benzema combined really well with Rodrygo Goes, but the actual finish was harsh as his shot was deflected past Alisson. Madrid did not mind either way though, and used this goal to pish forward and try and kill the tie. The tables had turned, and before you knew it the score became five. Karim Benzema picked the ball up before rounding the keeper and finishing past the bodies on the line. 5-2, and the score-line was becoming ever impressive. Liverpool came close with a header, but Courtois made up for his earlier mistake with a great save. Despite controlling possession for the rest of the game, Madrid could not extend the score further. 5-2 at full time. Is that the best performance of the season?