Real Madrid guarantee no miracle rally for Liverpool and show they're Champions League faves


MADRID — Karim Benzema‘s second-half objective earned Real Madrid a 1-0 win in opposition to Liverpool, clinching a spot within the Champions League quarterfinals for the defending title holders.

The outcome on the Santiago Bernabeu accomplished a 6-2 combination victory for Carlo Ancelotti’s facet within the Spherical of 16. With Liverpool needing to win by three objectives to stage the tie and take it into further time, supervisor Jurgen Klopp entered Wednesday’s recreation saying they solely had “a 1 percent chance” of reaching the following spherical.

Though they stored it tight for over an hour, Liverpool hardly ever seemed like salvaging the tie and their elimination was confirmed when Benzema scored from shut vary after being teed up by Vinicius Junior.

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Champions League knockout spherical draw: Full particulars

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1. Real Madrid present why they continue to be the crew to beat

Though the laborious work was finished at Anfield by successful the primary leg 5-2, Real Madrid’s achievement in knocking Liverpool out of the Champions League with a 6-2 combination victory shouldn’t be understated.

Liverpool are probably the most profitable and formidable groups in Europe and solely Real can surpass their current run of three finals in 5 years, so to inflict such a crushing defeat on Jurgen Klopp’s crew exhibits that Real imply enterprise once more.

In what’s turning into an unusually open Champions League this season, nothing has modified in that Real are nonetheless the crew to beat. Whether or not they’re drawn in opposition to a fellow favorite reminiscent of Manchester Metropolis or a darkish horse facet reminiscent of AC Milan in Friday’s draw, Carlo Ancelotti’s facet will count on to progress.

This Real has by no means fairly been granted the respect that it deserves. Folks nonetheless revere Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona crew of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez which received two Champions League titles in three years in 2009 and 2011, however a number of gamers on this Real crew have received 4 or 5 through the previous 10 years. Karim Benzema, who scored the one objective of this recreation, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Dani Carvajal are a number of winners, whereas the remainder lifted it in Paris after beating Liverpool final season. Antonio Rudiger did not, however he had already received it a yr earlier with Chelsea.

So this Real facet is stacked with season Champions League winners and so they nonetheless have loads to supply. Their first-leg demolition of Liverpool was a warning to the remainder of Europe, however so was this recreation within the sense that they had been skilled sufficient to make sure that Liverpool by no means get going of their try to tug off exceptional fightback. Real have already received 14 European Cups and no one else comes shut. Do not guess in opposition to them successful one other one this time round.

2. Liverpool must massive push to qualify subsequent season

This time final yr, Liverpool had been heading in the right direction for a Quadruple and so they solely missed out on the 2 largest trophies — the Premier League and Champions League — within the last week of the season. However 12 months on, their hopes of silverware have already evaporated with Real ending their prospects within the Champions League.

Liverpool’s season continues to be alive, however solely within the sense that now have simply over two months to put it aside by securing a high 4 end and a return to the Champions League subsequent season. With 12 video games to play within the Premier League, Klopp’s facet are six factors behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, albeit with a recreation in hand. However Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion are each turning up the warmth behind them and Newcastle United are two factors forward in fifth having performed one recreation much less.

So Liverpool have a combat on their palms to get again into the Champions League and the result of that battle can be essential to the rebuilding job that’s required, no matter the place they end this season. If Liverpool find yourself within the Europa League subsequent season, will that be sufficient to persuade high goal Jude Bellingham to reject a transfer to Real in favour of a switch to Anfield from Borussia Dortmund?

And with out the extra funds that come from taking part in within the Champions League, it should deny Klopp the prospect to refresh his squad as a lot as he must, particularly in midfield. Liverpool had been at all times dealing with an almighty problem in opposition to Real having misplaced the first-leg 5-2, however exiting the Champions League on the Spherical of 16 is a failure for a membership of their stature and ambition. Ending outdoors the Premier League high 4 would make a nasty season even worse.

3. Courtois, Alisson bounce again from first-leg blunders

You could possibly simply argue that the most effective two goalkeepers on the planet proper now had been dealing with one another on this recreation. Real’s Thibaut Courtois and Liverpool’s Alisson Becker each made uncharacteristic errors which led to objectives within the first-leg at Anfield, however even their harshest critics would wrestle to counsel that these errors had been something aside from a blip.

However simply to show that these blunders actually had been out of the peculiar, Courtois and Alisson placed on top-class shows within the Bernabeu to spotlight their standing as the most effective round.

Courtois in all probability simply shades it forward of Alisson as finest on the planet judging by this recreation. He made a giant save from Cody Gakpo within the thirty sixth minute when conceding would have given Liverpool an enormous enhance of their bid to overturn a three-goal deficit. The previous Chelsea keeper is an imposing presence, he’s good along with his toes, commanding within the air and he makes each save look routine due to his excellent positioning. Alisson is not fairly as massive from a bodily sense, however he’s faster off his line and his capacity to identify hazard was additionally key to plenty of early interventions in opposition to Real.

Manchester Metropolis’s Ederson and Paris Saint-Germain‘s Gianluigi Donnarumma would possibly stake their case to be judged alongside Courtois and Alisson, however the Real and Liverpool No. 1s are the highest canines.

Finest and worst performers

BEST: Alisson Becker, GK Liverpool.
Made plenty of essential saves to maintain Liverpool in with an outdoor probability of overturning their three-goal deficit

BEST: Luka Modric, MF, Real Madrid.
Will hardly ever play in opposition to one other 37-year-old as of late, however up in opposition to Liverpool veteran James Milner, Modric was free to boss the sport and dictate the tempo for Real.

BEST: Eduardo Camavinga, MF, Real Madrid.
Exhausting to consider that Real midfielder is just 20 years previous. Could possibly be on the coronary heart of Real’s crew for a decade if he continues to play as he did on this recreation.

WORST: Darwin Nunez, FW, Liverpool.
All effort and power, however he must decelerate. Does the whole lot at 100 mph, however he can be so a lot better if he learnt that tempo does not at all times must be on the coronary heart of the whole lot he does.

WORST: Nacho, DF, Real Madrid.
The weak hyperlink of the Real back-line. Struggled to comprise Mohamed Salah and Liverpool focused the full-back.

WORST: Trent Alexander-Arnold, DF, Liverpool.
It is a recurring theme, however he simply does not defend properly sufficient in opposition to high quality opponents. Vinicius nearly had the liberty of his facet of the pitch in opposition to the Liverpool defender.

Highlights and notable moments

Rely on Karim Benzema to ship the objective that put Liverpool’s very, very slim possibilities of advancing to mattress.

After the match: What the managers and gamers mentioned

Karim Benzema, after the efficiency: “It was a difficult game after the first leg, but from the start we wanted to go forward. It was a good game for the fans, for everyone, and we’re in the quarterfinals.”

Benzema, on if he suffered an damage late: “It’s a knock, that’s all. I’ll be there [for the Clasico on Sunday].”

Key stats (offered by ESPN Stats & Data analysis)

– With 19 Champions League quarterfinals appearances, Real Madrid rank behind solely Bayern Munich (21) for many all time.

– Karim Benzema has scored 35 profession go-ahead objectives within the Champions League, tying Robert Lewandowski for third all-time. Cristiano Ronaldo (58) and Lionel Messi (50) are the one gamers with extra.

– Real Madrid: 5-0-1 (W-L-D) in final 6 video games vs. Liverpool, together with two last wins.

– All six of Liverpool’s eliminations from UEFA competitions below Jurgen Klopp have been vs Spanish golf equipment (4 vs. Real Madrid, one vs Atletico Madrid, one vs. Sevilla)

Up subsequent

Real Madrid: One other big-time conflict as they head to Barcelona on Sunday (stream on ESPN+ at 4 p.m. ET). Madrid will goal to make up floor on their LaLiga rivals within the standings, trailing them by 9 factors for the highest spot.

Liverpool: Out of all cup competitions with no matches forward of the FIFA worldwide break. As soon as they return to motion, a pivotal league match on April 1 at Manchester Metropolis the place a constructive outcome will enhance top-four hopes.

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