A brilliant defensive performance by Madrid saw them walk away with a 0 – 0 draw at Anfield and advance to the semi-final stage to face Chelsea FC.
Madrid went to Anfield with a two-goal advantage and did well enough to not concede and knock Liverpool out of the competition. Madrid were coming off a six-game win streak and made just one change to their squad which faced Barcelona in the Classico, in Federico Valverde who replaced the injured Vazquez. Jurgen Klopp also made only one change with the return of Sadio Mane at the left wing to replace Diogo Jota. The surprise for Liverpool fans was that their summer signing Thiago started on the bench yet again.
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Klopp was really hoping for yet another Anfield miracle but things just didn’t go their way vs Zidane’s men. In football, you need the ball in the back of the net to win and that’s the lesson that the current Liverpool players would’ve learned after losing the draw. The Reds had fifty-six percent of the ball and bagged a total of fifteen shots compared to Madrid’s six shots but they just couldn’t drive the ball past the keeper. Mo Salah had plenty of chances to turn the game around right from the start but it looked like the Egyptian King didn’t quite have his accurate shooting boots on. The same was the case for the other two players of the famous Liverpool front three, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. Gini Wijanldum did well to keep Kroos at bay and yet again Liverpool defender, Nathaniel Phillips did an exceptional job to stop Madrid from scoring. Trent Alexander Arnold created some mojo for the Reds, sending in plenty of crosses but Liverpool just couldn’t capitalize and score on the night.
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Real Madrid’s defense was exceptional and it seemed like the team didn’t miss their usual center backs, Ramos or Varane. Nacho Fernandez and Eder Militao stepped up and proved how good they are in a big game where one slip up could have changed the momentum and dynamic of the fixture. The key player behind Madrid stopping Liverpool was Casemiro who was all over the pitch making tackles, interceptions, and playing long balls. His amazing performance earned him the Player of the match award while Thibaut Courtois displayed one of his best performances as a Real Madrid goalkeeper after denying Salah, Firmino, and Milner on multiple occasions.
The Tie was pretty much settled over in Madrid and the Spanish giants were solid defensively to see out the tie. Los Blancos will now face Chelsea in the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League which is set to take place at the end of this month. But for now, their focus shifts to La Liga where they face Getafe. As for Liverpool, that’s the end to their Champions League run and their main focus shifts on finishing in the top four and sealing a spot for next season.
[Image Credit: Real Madrid C.F]