Real Madrid welcomed Liverpool to the Spanish capital in the Champions League this evening in the kind of game the club’s image is built by. This isn’t a vintage Madrid, but one thing they know how to do is win. They’ve been putting together a strong run of form in La Liga, and managed to navigate a strong Atalanta in the last 16 clash with ease.
Zinedine Zidane opted for a 4-4-3 shape, missing both his first-choice centre-backs. Thibaut Courtois started in goal, behind a back four of Lucas Vazquez, Nacho, Eder Militao and Ferland Mendy. The ever-present midfield trident of Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric persisted, with the line led by Vinicius Junior, Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio.
Both of these sides know each other well having met in the 2018 Champions League Final in Kyiv. Madrid won that game 3-1, thanks to a goal from Karim Benzema and a brace from Gareth Bale. Sergio Ramos, involved in controversy in that game, missed out on this one after picking up an injury on duty with La Roja.
Madrid started well, playing with control and confidence, and got their reward in the 27th minute when they took the lead. Kroos was instrumental in the build-up play but this goal belonged to Vinicius, who finished off the move with style. Things went from bad to worse for Liverpool less than ten minutes later, when Asensio got in on the act and doubled Madrid’s lead to really give the men from Anfield an uphill task.
The game was far from done and dusted, however, and Liverpool pulled a goal back shortly after the second half got underway. It was the usual suspect in Mo Salah who delivered the killer blow, finishing from close range after excellent work by Gini Wijnaldum.
Great play from Gini here. Salah makes it 2-1. Real Madrid 2-1 Liverpool.
— Alcânsauce (@PassLikeThiago) April 6, 2021