Liverpool exited the Champions League with a 6-2 aggregate loss to Real Madrid, as a late goal from Karim Benzema doomed the Reds to a 1-0 defeat in the second leg.
Liverpool’s capitulation at Anfield had left them in need of another miraculous European comeback to reach the quarter-finals, but it failed to materialize at the Bernabéu, where the reigning champions increased their lead with a shot from point-blank range by Benzema (78).
Darwin Núñez was closest to Jurgen Klopp’s side in an entertaining first half when he was twice denied by Thibaut Courtois, but Liverpool were indebted to their own goalkeeper, Alisson, for holding off Madrid with a series of saves before his goal.
Madrid, victorious over Liverpool by the same scoreline in last year’s final, will now try to go on and lift the trophy for the fifteenth time, leaving Klopp’s men with a top four finish in the Premier League as their only goal. remaining in a bitterly disappointing season.
Real Madrid: Courtois (8), Carvajal (7), Militao (7), Rudiger (7), Nacho (7), Kroos (8), Modric (8), Valverde (6), Camavinga (7), Vinicius (8), Benzema (8).
Substitutes: Ceballos (6), Rodrygo (6), Asensio (6), Tchouameni (6), Lucas (6).
Liverpool: Alisson (8), Alexander-Arnold (6), Van Dijk (7), Konate (7), Robertson (6), Milner (7), Fabinho (6), Gakpo (6), Salah (6), Jota ( 5), Nunez (7).
Substitutes: Firmino (6), Elliot (6), Oxlade-Chamberlain (6), Tsimikas (n/a), Carvalho (n/a).
Man of the match: Karim Benzema
How Liverpool’s defeat played out
Klopp cast caution aside with his starting line-up, including an extra striker in Diogo Jota, so it was no surprise that, at the other end, Real Madrid found space to attack early on.
- Diogo Jota started in place of Harvey Elliot as Jurgen Klopp opted for an attack-minded XI, while James Milner replaced Stefan Bajcetic in midfield.
- Karim Benzema returned to Real Madrid after missing the weekend’s game, while Antonio Rudiger also started.
The first chance fell to Liverpool, with Courtois denying Núñez after Mohamed Salah got the better of Antonio Rudiger, but a succession of chances from Madrid followed.
Benzema and Vinicius Junior, the pairing that so terrified Liverpool in the first leg, threatened to open the scoring when the latter’s cut slipped past his teammate, and the visitors needed their goalkeeper to save them soon after.
Alisson’s point-blank stop of Vinicius stands out, who again rescued Liverpool when he acrobatically finished off a long shot from Eduardo Camavinga to the crossbar.
Luka Modric sent in another powerful shot from distance just narrowly, but Liverpool soon began to grow into the game, with Núñez and Cody Gakpo denying headed chances before the former earned a fine save with a handball from Courtois with an effort from curling.
Vinicius remained a threat against Trent Alexander-Arnold, but Liverpool came close again when Gakpo’s stinging shot from the right corner of the box had to be pushed by Courtois.
However, Madrid’s experience was told in the second half, when the cunning hosts denied Liverpool’s attacking threat and controlled the game, with the evergreen Luka Modric at the center of things.
Federico Valverde was denied by Alisson in a one-on-one shortly after half-time and more Madrid chances followed, with Valverde close again when he headed in a Modric cross, and Benzema firing a shot into the stands from a Vinicius cross.
It looked like Liverpool could at least claim an equalizer after that uncharacteristic foul by Benzema, but the Frenchman was right when Vinicius failed to connect his shot after an overhead ball, instead sticking out a leg to help his teammate. of team.
There was a lengthy VAR check for a Madrid penalty in stoppage time, prolonging a disappointing night for the visitors, but the referee decided not to handball substitute Kostas Tsimikas after consulting the pitch monitor.
After full time, there was a sympathy for those who had traveled from Merseyside, with You’ll Never Walk Alone played over the stadium speakers at the Bernabéu. It was a moving end to Liverpool’s European campaign.
Klopp: “We couldn’t make a special performance”
Liverpool boss jurgen klopp to Sport: “Being 5-2 down is obviously not a great result and if you want to go through, you need to put in a really special performance, and we couldn’t put in a special performance on the pitch tonight.
“It was an open game but Madrid had better chances. Alli (Alisson) had to make two sensational saves. In the end, the goal is rudimentary but that is obviously no longer decisive.”
“The right team went through, that’s what we have to admit. Madrid controlled the game, we gave them a chance to control it. Playoffs are like that, there are probably 500,000 different ways out, this was ours tonight. It’s not. what we wanted, but it’s what we have now we have to continue.
“You need moments. If we scored in the first half it could give the extra spark, but that’s hypothetical, we won’t know. Madrid were the best team and they won the game. In three halves of the games they were the best team, that’s how it goes to the next round.
“If you draw at home and play the game we played tonight, then we’ll probably go out there too. We can’t come here and expect you to get something. We prepared for a special performance, but we couldn’t put it on the pitch.” tonight. It was obvious that the best team came through.”
Madrid chases the Reds again – Opta stats
- Real Madrid have already eliminated Liverpool from the Champions League in each of the last three seasons (2020-21 quarter-finals, 2021-22 final, 2022-23 round of 16). It is the second time that a team has been eliminated in three consecutive seasons, all by the same rival, after Atlético de Madrid, also by Real Madrid (a streak of four from 2013-14 to 2016-17).
- Real Madrid have qualified for their 19th Champions League quarter-final, with only Bayern Munich (21, including 2022-23) reaching more. Real Madrid have now moved one ahead of Spanish rivals Barcelona (18).
- Liverpool’s 6-2 aggregate loss to Real Madrid is their biggest margin of defeat in two games in a Champions League tie.
- Under Jürgen Klopp, all six of Liverpool’s eliminations in major European competitions have come against Spanish clubs (Sevilla x1, Atlético Madrid x1, Real Madrid x4).
- Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema has scored seven Champions League goals against Liverpool, the most by any player. In fact, only Lionel Messi (27) has more goals against English clubs overall in the competition than the Frenchman (19).
What next for Liverpool?
Liverpool next game is not until after the international break, on Saturday April 1, when they meet manchester city in the Premier League, starting at 12:30 p.m.
Your scheduled meeting with fulham this weekend was postponed due to the Cottagers’ involvement in the FA Cup.
When is the draw?
The draws for the Champions League quarter-finals and semi-finals will take place on Friday 17 March at 11am UK time in Nyon, Switzerland at UEFA headquarters.
The eight round of 16 winners participate in an open draw for the quarterfinals and semifinals.
- Bayern Munich
- AC Milan
- Inter de Milan
- manchester city
- real Madrid
There is no seeding or country protection, so clubs can face opposition from the same country. They can also draw teams they previously played with in the group stage.
A final draw to determine the ‘home’ team will also take place for administrative reasons for the main event in Istanbul, Turkey on June 10.
You can follow the draw with sky sports live blog, so you can stay on top of everything here.