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Real Madrid 1, Liverpool 0: First Thoughts

Liverpool's players offered little in attack but tried their best in defeat against the Champions League holders.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

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Real Madrid 1 Benzema 27',
Liverpool 0

  • The big surprise before the game was the line-up. Real Madrid's strongest possible line-up with a recovering Gareth Bale on the bench started against a team without Lovren, Johnson, Gerrard, Henderson, Coutinho, Sterling, and Balotelli. Touré, Manquillo, Can, Lucas, Lallana, Marković, and Borini. Seven changes from the team that lost against Newcastle in the previous game and their roles are clear. Three are talented youngsters purchased over the summer to be part of the club's future, three are clear reserves who are unlikely to be at the club next season, and one has been largely a part of the first-team picture.

  • Fabio Borini and Joe Allen kicked off a game of intrigue where Liverpool fans were unsure of what to expect. Playing at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in the Champions League is not something to be taken lightly and the players representing Liverpool in red would be looking to show both the management and fans their respective qualities.

  • Within four minutes, James Rodríguez forced Simon Mignolet into action as the goalkeeper dived to his left to save the Colombian's curling shot. Liverpool passed the ball crisply in the opening ten minutes and looked organised in positioning and applying press in midfield. The problem was that Real Madrid nearly scored just before the ten minute mark after carelessness in possession from Martin Skrtel but Mignolet produced a good. Liverpool experienced a bit of pressure around the fifteen minute mark as Real Madrid started to take control of the game and push forward, forcing Liverpool. After 25 minutes, Liverpool hadn't registered a single shot but made a decent start to the game. The problem would be counter attacks and general brilliance from the opposition.

  • A clever pass from Isco released Marcelo down the left and the Brazilian's low centre was met by Karim Benzema. One nil to Real Madrid and Liverpool's claims for an offside call had no weight to them as Benzema was level with Touré, whose attentions the French international escaped to score the game's opening goal. The home side could have been at least two up by this point in a game where Liverpool competed in the first half hour but never threatened the Champions League holders. Just as in the match at Anfield. Real Madrid had gears to move through that Liverpool could not match and goals that Liverpool had weren't good enough to prevent.

  • Liverpool's first shot of the match came on the 57 minute mark as Adam Lallana turned and pulled his low shot wide of Real Madrid's goal. Real Madrid were in control of the second half as they were after fifteen minutes in the opening half.

  • Lucas was unlucky to be substituted for Steven Gerrard as he was an important part of the midfield organisation against players full of movement and technique. Gareth Bale hit the bar in the second half and Liverpool were stretched at times as Real Madrid enjoyed a few free-kicks in dangerous areas.

  • Kolo Touré, Simon Mignolet, Alberto Moreno, and Lucas should take a bow. They produced solid displays and the rest of the team worked hard. Liverpool lost as a team and struggling against a side of this quality merits no ill will from any Liverpool fan. The away side worked hard without threatening Carlo Ancelotti's side and need to win the final two games in the group to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League. 

  • Real Madrid picked up their 12th successive win in all competitions but failed to score 2 goals for the first time since mid-September. Cristiano Ronaldo was a threat throughout but failed to score for a side that was either playing within itself or lacking in sharpness. Even then, Real Madrid should have won by more, but Liverpool can take heart going into the crucial home clash with Premier League leaders Chelsea this weekend.

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We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.

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