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April 12, 2021

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Liverpool left with mountain to climb after error-ridden defeat to Real Madrid

3 min read


Real Madrid have one foot in the semi-finals (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

Liverpool’s Champions League hopes were left hanging by a thread after a crushing 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were well below-par in the first half and deservedly fell behind when Vinícius Júnior chested Toni Kroos’ exqusite long-range pass and struck past the onrushing Alisson.

Naby Keita was a shock starter in the Spanish capital, with Klopp surprisingly choosing to bench Thiago Alcantara.

It looked a clear tactic for the Reds to press the La Liga giants with a dynamic midfield three but the visitors couldn’t get close to the likes of Kroos and Luka Modric in the first half.

Madrid have rediscovered their best form in recent weeks and Zinedine Zidane’s side but they barely had to work to double their lead, as Trent Alexander-Arnold cushioned a header right into the path of Marco Asensio to make it 2-0.

Klopp’s side were overrun . (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)

Keita was subbed shortly before half-time and the midfielder didn’t look best pleased as he strolled past Klopp on the touchline. It was unclear whether the former RB Leipzig ace was carrying an injury but his performance was well below-par.

Liverpool improved markedly after the break, pressing Real further up the field and with greater zest than in the first 45 minutes.

Salah gave Liverpool hope (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

The Reds’ greater intensity bore fruit when Diogo Jota’s shot found its way to Mohamed Salah to slot home after a jinxing run from Wijnaldum.

It was the Egyptian’s 27th goal of the season and it gave Liverpool an all-important away goal at a time when Real threatened to take the tie away from the visitors.

But just as Liverpool were building up a head of steam, more individual errors undermined their night.

Vinicius was given too much time to turn on the edge of Liverpool’s box and the Brazlian found the back of the net with a tame effort that should have been stopped by Alisson.

Madrid had further chances to add to their lead on the counter-attack but they couldn’t find a fourth goal that would have put the tie beyond doubt.

It means Liverpool need to win by at least two clear goals in the second leg at Anfield next week and they’ll be desperate to prevent Madrid from scoring an away goal, which would mean scoring at least three to progress.


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