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Real Madrid show levels in a seven-goal thriller against Liverpool

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Vinicius Junior
  • Real Madrid came back to defeat Liverpool 5-2 at the Anfield
  • The visitors went down by two goals from Nunez and Salah
  • The win sees Madrid take a three-goal lead before the second leg at Bernabeu

A Champions League match for the ages was on display as Real Madrid faced Liverpool. The holders overcame a 2-0 deficit to thrash Jurgen Klopp’s team 5-2 in the first leg of their round of 16 match at Anfield.

Nine months have passed since the previous season’s final, and the two teams are again at odds.

In the first half, there were numerous goalkeeping errors as Vinicius Junior’s brace offset quick goals from Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah, turning Liverpool’s dream start into a nightmare from which they would never recover.

Eder Militao and Karim Benzema’s two goals gave Carlo Ancelotti’s champions a seemingly insurmountable lead in the second half. The final whistle could not come soon enough for Liverpool, who must score four goals at the Bernabeu and keep a cleansheet on March 8 to eliminate the 14-time champions.

How the game unfolded

Vinny Junior CBS

Vinicius Junior’s brace saw Madrid make a comeback.|PHOTO: CBS|

Following the scandalous events outside the Stade de France at last year’s final, Liverpool supporters let UEFA know how they felt before the game when the Champions League anthem was greeted with a chorus of boos.

At Anfield, however, anger quickly turned to joy after Salah was given the opportunity to find Nunez with a perfect through pass to beat Thibaut Courtois with an ambitious backheel flick.

Cody Gakpo easily outmuscled Eduardo Camavinga inside his own half before feeding Salah, who dribbled into the box while dodging a sea of white shirts but sadly misfired with a weak shot.

Two minutes later, however, Salah would be given a wonderful gift as Courtois horribly mishandled a backpass, causing the ball to bob off his knee. Salah was then able to score from close range to set a new record for Liverpool’s highest goalscorer in European football.

In the 21st minute, Vinicius  launched  a powerful shot into the far corner, causing the Belgian to sigh slightly in relief.

The opening exchanges would be typified by a chaotic goalmouth scramble in the 25th minute, in which Militao narrowly managed to hook the ball away, but David Alaba was hurt in the process and had to be substituted by Nacho Fernandez.

After 36 minutes, Joe Gomez intercepted Federico Valverde’s long pass to Vinicius and redirected it to Alisson. The Brazilian attempted to play through the middle, but his terrible pass hit Vinicius’s boot and bounced into the goal.

Madrid second half dominance

Benzema CBS

Benzema scored a brace as Real Madrid shocked Liverpool.|PHOTO: CBS|

The second half began in the same manner as the first and Real completed the comeback when Militao headed in a free kick from Luka Modric in the 47th minute.

If Militao’s header hadn’t already neutralized Anfield, Benzema’s unthreatening shot took a huge deflection off Gomez in the 55th minute to fool Alisson and bring Real’s lead to four.

Real Madrid were in no position to show mercy to Liverpool because they had acquired a taste for blood. In the 67th minute, Benzema added a fifth goal for the champions by latching onto Vinicius’ pass after a quick break and leaving Alisson flat on his back.

Further Liverpool attempts to close the gap were met with a resolute rearguard action, as Real Madrid returned home with a three-goal lead.

 

I am an ardent sports enthusiast interested in writing about football, motorsport and athletics.

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