Liverpool 2-5 Real Madrid: Player Rating as Ruthless holders roar back to take command in Anfield thriller


Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema heaped more UEFA Champions League pain on Liverpool as Real Madrid produced a storming fightback to secure a stunning 5-2 victory at Anfield.

Darwin Nunez’s superb flick and Mohamed Salah’s strike after Thibaut Courtois’ wail gave the Reds a two-goal lead just 14 minutes into Tuesday’s dramatic Round of 16 first leg.

That proved a false dawn as the holders stormed back in a rematch of last year’s final, Vinicius pulling one back with a neat finish before a poor mistake from Alisson gave him the second goal in a thrilling first half.

Eder Militao put Madrid in front early in the second half before Benzema’s brace gave Carlo Ancelotti’s ruthless side a commanding advantage to return to the Spanish capital for the second leg on March 15.

Nunez produced a moment of magic in the fourth minute to put the visitors in front when he met Salah’s flicked ball with an audacious right-footed flick that flew past Courtois.

Courtois had a nightmare 10 minutes later, controlling the back onto his chest before the ball bounced off his knee to offer Salah a simple chance to double Liverpool’s lead.

Madrid looked like they didn’t know what had hit them, but Vinicius halved the deficit in the 21st minute by producing a superb close-range control in the box before bending a sumptuous right-footed finish into the bottom corner.

The winger celebrated again in front of The Kop nine minutes before the break after Alisson’s awful attempted pass took his Brazilian team-mate and looped into the net.

Madrid lost David Alaba to injury during a pulsating first half that would have ended with the lead had Andy Robertson not shown the awareness to deny Rodrygo a tap-in.

However, Los Blancos were in front two minutes into the second half when the unmarked Militao capitalized on some terrible defending to head home the influential Luka Modric’s free-kick.

A night that had started well then turned sour for Liverpool, Benzema’s shot hitting Joe Gomez and giving Alisson no chance.

Liverpool were opened up again after 67 minutes, Modric and Vinicius combining in front of Benzema to set up Alisson and showing great composure to finish with his left foot.

Real Madrid Player Rating

Thibaut Courtois—3: A night to forget for Thibaut Courtois. A nervy play with the ball at his feet led to a massive mistake and a 2nd goal conceded within the opening 15 minutes.

Dani Carvajal—8: Something about the big European nights re-ignites Carvajal’s best form. One blemish will be lack of communication on passing Darwin Nuñez on to Militao in the opening goal conceded.

Eder Militao—9: One of the best center backs in the world and his performance confirmed it. Scored a sneaky set-piece header right at the start of the second half and won the anticipated duel vs Darwin.

Toni Rudiger—8: The German’s best performance in a Real Madrid shirt. Defended admirably, putting his body on the line to block shots and head out clearances. His passing, in particular long driven passes, were near perfect.

David Alaba—5: Struggled with Salah’s pace and technical ability. Did not look 100% fit and came off early Ont he first half with an injury.

Eduardo Camavinga—8.5: What a performance from a 20-year-old as the lone pivot in a cathedral like Anfield. Struggled in the first 10 minutes with nerves, but gradually grew into the game. Got the better of Jordan Henderson physically and consistently broke through pressure with his comfort dribbling in the middle of the pitch.

Fede Valverde—8.5: Incredible performance, the Uruguayan never stopped running. Even when the team was struggling in the opening 15 minutes, Valverde was one of the few who played well and managed the pressure.

Luka Modric—8: His class was on show for all to see — at the end of the day, the Real Madrid midfield was far superior to the Liverpool midfield.

Rodrygo—8: Put in a massive shift defensively. Tracked back to mitigate Andy Robertson’s attacking runs and worked just as hard to get back up the pitch. Was smooth and comfortable on the ball. Managed an assist to Benzema on the fourth goal of the game.

Vinicius Junior—10: Real Madrid’s franchise player. One of the most decisive players in the world. Terrorized Trent Alexander Arnold and Joe Gomez. Finished the game with two vital goals and an assist. It was a historic performance from the Brazilian, one that only enhances his ongoing legacy.

Karim Benzema—8.5: King Karim brought back his best for a big European night. Scored two goals and managed an assist to help Madrid overturn a two-goal deficit.


Nacho—9: Klopp and Ancelotti were both full of praise for Nacho after the match ended. The utility man slotted in at left back and immediately improved the Real Madrid side. Shut down any attack down Madrid’s left and nullified Salah’s threat. Got forward with good effect and looked extremely confident and composed on the ball.

Dani Ceballos—N/A: Late change in the middle of midfield with the game already won.

Toni Kroos—N/A: Played the final three minutes of the match having recovered from the flu.

Marco Asensio—N/A: Late change to see out the game.

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