This evening, Real Madrid welcomed Liverpool to the Spanish capital in the Champions League, a game that defines the club’s image. Although this isn’t a vintage Madrid, they do know how to win. They’ve been on a roll in La Liga, and they breezed past Atalanta in the last 16 with relative ease.
In the absence of both of his first-choice centre-backs, Zinedine Zidane went with a 4-4-3 formation. Thibaut Courtois started in goal, with Lucas Vazquez, Nacho, Eder Militao, and Ferland Mendy forming the back four. The midfield trident of Casemiro, Toni Kroos, and Luka Modric remained, with Vinicius Junior, Karim Benzema, and Marco Asensio leading the line.
Both teams are familiar with one another, having met in the 2018 Champions League Final in Kyiv. With a goal from Karim Benzema and a brace from Gareth Bale, Madrid won the game 3-1. Sergio Ramos, who was embroiled in controversy in that game, was unable to play in this one after suffering an injury while on duty with La Roja.
Madrid got off to a good start, playing with control and confidence, and were rewarded when they took the lead in the 27th minute. Kroos played a key role in the build-up, but it was Vinicius who put the finishing touches on the move. Things got even worse for Liverpool less than ten minutes later, when Asensio got in on the act and doubled Madrid’s lead, effectively putting the Reds on the back foot.
Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool’s manager, would not have been pleased with his team’s first-half performance. To be honest, he wasn’t overly impressed with the venue, with the German coach describing Valdebebas, Madrid’s home while the Santiago Bernabeu is being renovated, as barely a stadium before the game. According to Marca, Klopp stated, “This is a training camp.”
Source: Football Espana