The Reds limp at the Bernabéu

Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool (6-2 global): The Reds limp at the Bernabéu

Karim Benzema assured the departure of Madrid

Real Madrid advanced to the Champions League quarter-finals when Liverpool never threatened the three-goal comeback they required in a 1-0 defeat at the Santiago Bernabéu.

European champions Madrid had claimed a brilliant 5-2 victory in England in the first leg of their round of 16, leaving Liverpool in an uphill battle in Wednesday’s second leg.

The Reds’ defence, and Alisson in particular, at least gave his teammates a platform to build on from this point on, but the goal threat that had briefly troubled Madrid on Merseyside was less apparent.

Eventually, Karim Benzema, that familiar enemy, put Jurgen Klopp’s team out of their misery as Madrid continued their bid for another crown in their favorite competition of all.

The goalkeepers were the undisputed protagonists of a goalless first half, with Alisson brilliantly blocking Vinicius Junior in the melee and soon hitting the crossbar with a deflected shot from Eduardo Camavinga. A VAR review could have annulled the offside awarded to Vinicius when Alisson denied it again.

Those saves almost kept Liverpool in the draw, but Thibaut Courtois, the hero of last season’s final between the two teams, was not far behind. Darwin Nunez’s fingertip save was as impressive as any of Alisson’s saves, and then he overcame a thunderous punch from Cody Gakpo.

Federico Valverde ran early in the second half but brushed directly against Alisson, who the same man finished off with a header after excellent work from the left by Luka Modric. Benzema also missed the goal when he was well positioned on his right foot.

However, chances continued to fall Madrid’s way, and Benzema made no mistake when Vinicius missed his shot and pushed his teammate into an open goal in the 78th minute.

Benzema took a kick in the process, but that was the limit of Madrid’s concern in a dominant 6-2 aggregate win.

What does it mean? Madrid never under threat

Klopp had recognized that Liverpool would have to be “extremely good” to have any chance and they were not offensively so, especially in the second half.

Still three goals behind in the equalizer with 45 minutes to go, the visitors needed to release the handbrake, but instead they struggled to pose some sort of threat.

After a James Milner shot in the 37th minute, his eighth of the game, Liverpool went as far as Harvey Elliott’s tame try in the 83rd minute before making another try.

Courtois king again

This was more like Courtois, who made nine winning saves in the Paris final, than the man whose opening mishap saw Liverpool control this tie for a while at Anfield.

He may have felt comfortable at the end, but Courtois made four crucial saves in the first half when a goal could have caused tension.

salah so disappointing

Mohamed Salah’s regrettable penalty at Bournemouth on Saturday sent Liverpool to a Premier League defeat, but at least that went down as a trial. He didn’t get a single shot here.

Although Salah created a couple of chances for his teammates, he too squandered them painfully in the final third, where he missed just four passes but seemed to kill momentum each time.

Opta Key Stats:

Liverpool’s 6-2 aggregate loss to Real Madrid is their biggest margin of defeat in two games in a Champions League tie.

Madrid have now knocked Liverpool out of the Champions League in each of the last three seasons, only the second time that has happened (Atletico Madrid, also by Real Madrid, were knocked out four years in a row).

Under Klopp, all six of Liverpool’s eliminations in major European competitions have come against Spanish clubs (Sevilla x1, Atlético Madrid x1, Real Madrid x4).

Madrid have qualified for their 19th Champions League quarter-final, with only Bayern Munich (21, including 2022-23) reaching more. Madrid is one ahead of its rival Barcelona (18).

Benzema has scored seven Champions League goals against Liverpool, the most by any player. Only Lionel Messi (27) has more goals against English clubs in the competition total than Benzema (19).

Whats Next?

It will be Madrid’s turn to chase a result on Sunday when they head to Barcelona for the Clasico. Liverpool will not play again before the international break, which is followed by a daunting trip to Manchester City.

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