Liverpool 0 - 0 Real Madrid
There’s lots of pre-match grumblings online about James Milner and Nathaniel Phillips starting, but the haters can get to fuck. The best way to go through is with a 2-0, and the “nil” is the more important part of the equation. I’m sure Klopp would snap your hand off for 1-0 on 75 minutes, but the only way to ensure that is to keep it solid until then.
Liverpool very nearly get off to a flier, catching Real Madrid out in the opening two minutes and leading to a phenomenal chance from Mohamed Salah. The striker comes onto the ball on his favored left-foot, striking it hard and low, but unfortunately right at the keeper. Still, very promising start!
Liverpool are all over the visitors in the opening 15 minutes. They haven’t created another big chance since the first, but Madrid have been stretched repeatedly. Real are already playing for time. Just wait until we go up 1-0.
With twenty minutes gone, Real Madrid create their first real chance, which comes from nothing. Benzema sends both of our central defenders out for the Echo, and the ensuing shot hits the outside of the post. It’s just a reminder about how dangerous this side is, and how important the “nil” part of the equation is.
As we near the half, both Mo Salah and Gini Wijnaldum blaze similar chances over the bar in quick succession. The Reds are on top, but they need to make a couple of these moments count.
Liverpool end the half in a flurry, and Madrid look shattered. It’s still nil-nil, but there’s a game here to be won. Another half like that, and the Reds will be trotting out winners on the night, if not over the whole tie.
Liverpool start the second half exactly as they ended the first: camped out in Real Madrid’s penalty area. Trent Alexander-Arnold picks out Bobby Firmino for two shots in quick succession, but neither can beat the keeper.
Klopp makes his first changes just before the hour mark, brining on Thiago and Jota for James Milner and Ozan Kabak. It’s a gamble, but with thirty minutes left, it’s one worth taking.
Alisson comes up huge smothering up a 1-v-1 effort from Vinicius, and then preventing Benzema’s follow-up.
As could be expected, the game has opened up since the subs, and Liverpool look like they’re in real danger for the first time tonight. Worse, Liverpool’s attack has faltered. There’s still about 15 minutes left to play, but if Liverpool want to make a game of this, they’ll need to score that first soon.
With ten minutes of regular time to go, Klopp has seen enough from his last round of subs, so he’s bringing on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Xherdan Shaqiri on to...I don’t know, do something, we hope? They replace Firmino and Mané.
It’s disappointing going out of the Champions League quarterfinals. Of course it is. But the Reds acquitted themselves well tonight. If they hadn’t put in such a terrible 90 minutes in Madrid, they very well could’ve gone through. But it’s the Champions League. You usually don’t get to be dreadful for 90 minutes over a 2-legged tie and get away with it.
They gave Real Madrid hell for 90 minutes tonight, but failed to score. The performance was good enough to deserve a win of some description, and should give them confidence for the run in.
Hats off to Madrid. They were class in the first leg and dogged it out in the second.