Vinicius Junior scored twice as Real Madrid made Liverpool pay for extra defensive errors on Tuesday, a 3-1 victory putting them in sight of the Champions League semi-finals. Vinicius and Marco Asensio each profited within the first half after darting behind Liverpool’s makeshift back-line earlier than a easy transfer from a throw-in gave Vinicius a easy end within the second. Mohamed Salah’s strike shortly after the interval briefly made it a contest at Valdebebas, with an away purpose definitely a big comfort for Liverpool to take into the second leg at Anfield subsequent week.
But with out followers and with a depressing latest report at dwelling, Jurgen Klopp will know his facet have all of it to do to keep away from his crew’s season changing into solely about scraping into the Premier League’s prime 4.
“We didn’t play well enough, that’s my first concern,” mentioned Klopp. “We didn’t deserve to win tonight, but the good news is that there is another match.
“We are going to combat, 3-1 is just not good, however we’ve an opportunity.”
Except for two spells after half-time and at the finish, when their opponents were holding on to what they had, Liverpool were overpowered by Real Madrid, whose only disappointment might be missing out on a clearer margin ahead of the return in eight days’ time.
Before then, they go up against Barcelona on Saturday and this result, their fifth consecutive victory, should be another huge boost to morale going into what will be a crucial fixture in La Liga’s title race.
“Nothing is shut, nothing is gained,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. “We are alive in two competitions and we’ll maintain preventing. We will begin the second leg prefer it’s 0-0 as a result of it is going to be one other very tough recreation.”
Madrid were without Sergio Ramos, who throughout was bellowing at his team from the stands, while Raphael Varane testing positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday morning meant both sides were fielding patched-up back fours.
The last time these two clubs met, Ramos dislocated Salah’s shoulder and Madrid went on to win their 13th European Cup but Klopp insisted there was no desire for revenge in the minds of his players.
They could have done with some extra fire because Madrid were superior in the first half, more controlled in possession and more aggressive out of it. Liverpool seemed caught between trying to match Madrid’s intensity and slowing the game down to gain a foothold.
Kroos runs the show
In the end they did neither, as the openings came early. Luka Modric wanted a penalty afer being clipped just outside the box and Trent Alexander-Arnold was beaten too easily by Ferland Mendy, whose cross was headed just wide by Vinicius.
The excellent Toni Kroos was given space at the base of midfield to dictate the tempo and it was a pair of arrowed balls forward from the German that put Madrid in charge.
The first he fired between Alexander-Arnold and Nat Phillips for the scampering Vinicius, who did brilliantly to chest the ball beyond his opponents and shoot low into the Liverpool net.
Seven minutes later, Kroos did it again, this time with the aid of a badly misguided Alexander-Arnold header, locating Asensio, who lifted over Alisson Becker to leave himself with an open net.
A full stadium would have sent a surge of momentum through Madrid but there was still a simmering buzz, as their substitutes were cheering louder and the players pressed quicker and passed harder.
Liverpool were holding on for half-time but the raging Klopp could not wait, hauling off Naby Keita with three minutes left and sending on Thiago Alcantara in his place.
The break briefly had an effect, Liverpool pulling a goal back five minutes after as Georginio Wijnaldum tore forward and Diogo Jota’s shot deflected kindly into the path of Salah, who poked in off the crossbar.
For a while, the game was in the balance. Kroos shot over and Sadio Mane almost finished off a break down the left. Asensio should have finished for Madrid but opted to pass and it was blocked.
Yet one other Madrid likelihood was not distant, as Liverpool did not react to a throw-in down the suitable and Modric was allowed to float inside, teeing up Vinicius to sidefoot in a second.
Liverpool pushed for an additional away purpose within the ultimate minutes however Madrid weren’t troubled. It was Spanish cheers that could possibly be heard when the whistle blew.
Topics talked about on this article