Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool: Player ratings as Los Blancos punish sloppy Reds

Real Madrid eased to a 3-1 victory against Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-final first leg in the Spanish capital on Tuesday night, heading to Anfield with a significant two-goal lead.

The game started in cagey fashion, but Real always looked comfortable and found an opening after 27 minutes when Vinicius Junior fired home from a Toni Kroos long ball. A calamitous mistake from Trent Alexander-Arnold doubled Liverpool’s problems as Marco Asensio made it 2-0, as the Reds stumbled into half-time completely shellshocked.

Marco AsensioMarco Asensio
Asensio doubled Liverpool’s problems before half time | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

As expected, Liverpool were instantly much improved after the break and clawed one back through Mohamed Salah after 51 minutes, blowing the game wide open. For all of Liverpool‘s advances, however, Zinedine Zidane’s side were supremely well drilled and picked their visitors apart on the counter, adding a third against the run of play after 65 minutes.

Los Blancos managed the game well all night and their third goal killed all of Liverpool’s momentum, as they sat back in shape and soaked up the away side’s attacks, before cutting their way through the field with a passing clinic as the game dwindled out. Liverpool were largely outclassed and must use their away goal as inspiration for a second-leg comeback.

Right then, here’s how both sides’ players fared.

Ferland Mendy, FabinhoFerland Mendy, Fabinho
Mendy was excellent for Madrid | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Thibaut Courtois (GK) – 5/10 – Was never stopping Salah’s close-range effort, and was otherwise untroubled.

ALSO READ THIS:  England's World Cup qualifier with Albania in doubt over policing dispute

Lucas Vasquez (RB) – 5/10 – Mixed performance from the makeshift right back who played some nice passes out from the back, but was also lacking defensive discipline and played Salah onside for his goal.

Eder Militao (CB) – 7/10 – Made a good account for himself when called into action in the absence of both Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos.

Nacho Fernandez (CB) – 6/10 – Vintage, no-nonsense performance from Nacho who wasn’t always first to the ball, but cleared his lines well enough.

Ferland Mendy (LB) – 8/10 –
Had the beating of Alexander-Arnold with most attempts to get beyond him. Sharp defensively, too, and put in a well-timed block to stop a certain equaliser after an hour.

Vinicius Junior, Toni KroosVinicius Junior, Toni Kroos
Kroos pulled the strings all evening | Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Casemiro (DM) – 8/10 – Barely had to break stride to stop any Liverpool moves in the first half. Beat their press well in the second half and kept the tempo alongside Kroos, while making eight tackles and winning two aerial duels.

Toni Kroos (CM) – 8/10 – Provided a sublime assist to find Vinicius in the first half with a launched ball right across the field, and forced the second in similar fashion. A textbook passing performance from Kroos throughout.

Luka Modric (CM) – 6/10 – Uncharacteristically wasteful in possession throughout the first half, and wasn’t all that in the game for the most part. Still managed to bag an assist, though, in true Luka Modric fashion.

Marco Asensio (RW) – 7/10 – On his toes and reacted well to a mistake, before applying a smart finish to double his side’s lead. Worked hard and continually caused problems.

ALSO READ THIS:  Twitter Reacts as FA Cup Produces the Blandest Fourth Round Draw of All Time

Karim Benzema (ST) – 6/10 – Excellent hold-up play as ever from Benzema, but it often left him a little too far away to find a goal for himself.

Vinicius Junior (LW) – 9/10 – Showed his intent in the first half and proved his finishing touch with a clinical strike to give Real the lead. Ran Liverpool’s defence ragged all night with fine footwork, and bagged a vital brace with a snapshot from nothing.

Federico Valverde – 6/10

Rodrygo – N/A

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ferland MendyTrent Alexander-Arnold, Ferland Mendy
Alexander-Arnold struggled defensively | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Alisson (GK) – 5/10 – Was let down every time by his outfield colleagues; very little he could do with any of Los Blancos’ three goals.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (RB) – 4/10 – Struggled to deal with Ferland Mendy’s overlapping runs too often and had a shocker in trying to head a long ball back to goal, which gifted Marco Asensio. Some nice passing later on, but the damage was done.

Nathaniel Phillips (CB) – 5/10 – Caught underneath the ball in the buildup to Real’s opener. Phillips did improve in the second half, but was again caught on his heels as Vinicius bagged Real’s third goal.

Ozan Kabak (CB) – 5/10 – Started well but seemed to lose confidence as the mistakes mounted, and was fortunate not to allow Asensio in for Real’s third before the end of the first half.

ALSO READ THIS:  The big name players who could move in the 2021 summer transfer window

Andy Robertson (LB) – 5/10 – Struggled to contain Asensio and was ill-positioned, while not adding anything in attack. A poor night for the Scot.

Eder Militao, Georginio WijnaldumEder Militao, Georginio Wijnaldum
Wijnaldum went missing | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Fabinho (DM) – 5/10 – Broke up play at times, but was let down by his colleagues moving forward.

Georginio Wijnaldum (CM) – 4/10 – Far too pedestrian in the first half and a summary of Liverpool’s problems; slow, uninterested and always second best.

Naby Keita (CM) – 3/10 – Too slow in possession and surrendered possession cheaply. Hooked after 42 minutes to add insult to injury. Nightmare evening for Naby Keita.

Mohamed Salah (RW) – 6/10 – Barely asserted himself in the first half, but much sharper after the break with his pressing and bagged a vital deflected goal.

Diogo Jota (ST) – 5/10 –
Caused Real’s centre-backs problems whenever he held possession in the box, but it just wasn’t often enough.

Sadio Mane (LW) – 4/10 –
Dropped deep to at least try and influence play, although to no avail. Far too quiet

Thiago Alcantara – 5/10 – Improved Liverpool’s quality in possession in midfield, but overcomplicated proceedings too often.

Xherdan Shaqiri – N/A

Roberto Firmino – N/A

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.