Real Madrid put on a masterclass performance to crush Liverpool 5-2 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 fixture in a night of disaster for the Reds at Anfield
The defending champions looked down and out after conceding two goals in the opening 14 minutes, but they showed remarkable character and resilience to mount an incredible comeback.
Vinicius Jr. and Karim Benzema were the standout performers for the visitors, with each scoring two goals to stun the home crowd and secure a comfortable lead heading into the second leg.
But it was not all smooth sailing for Los Blancos, who found themselves on the backfoot after conceding two early goals to Liverpool. Darwin Nunez put the home side ahead just four minutes in, while Mohamed Salah doubled the lead ten minutes later.
However, the Madrid players did not let the intimidating atmosphere at Anfield get the better of them, as they regrouped and came back fighting. Vinicius Jr. was the catalyst for the comeback, as he pulled one back in the 21st minute before scoring again in the 36th to even the score.
The second half was all about Madrid, who took control of the game when Eder Militao headed them in front just two minutes after the restart. From then on, it was Benzema’s turn to take centre stage, as he scored twice in the 55th and 67th minutes to put the game to bed.
For Liverpool, it was a night to forget as they now face an uphill battle to progress to the quarterfinals. They will need a near miracle when they visit the Bernabeu for the second leg, as they look to avoid a humiliating exit from the competition.
As for Madrid, they will be brimming with confidence and belief after this dominant display. They have proven that they are a force to be reckoned with in this year’s Champions League, and it will take something special to stop them from lifting the trophy for the 14th time in their history.
All eyes will now be on the return leg in Madrid, where Liverpool will need to produce a heroic performance if they are to stand any chance of overturning the deficit. But for now, all the plaudits go to Madrid, who put on a footballing masterclass at Anfield to leave Liverpool reeling.