“We want this Champions League again,” Karim Benzema said after European hosts Real Madrid produced another magical night to become “favourites” for a 15th crown.
2-0 to Liverpool in 14 minutes at a jubilant Anfield would have seen many teams crumble, but Vinicius Jr scored twice, Eder Militao headed in and Benzema then scored twice as Real Madrid ran out 5-0 winners: 2 .
No away team has ever scored more than three goals at Anfield in a European match. No one has ever won a Champions League game with a three-goal lead by scoring two goals.
“Real” is a Spanish word meaning “royal” and “Madrid” is true European royalty. They have won 14 European Cups, including five in the last nine seasons. Two of those final successes came against Jurgen Klopp’s Reds.
“We played individually, we scored goals – we want to be in this Champions League again,” Benzema said. “And it led to a match in which it was a pleasure to play and for those watching.
“After the first 15 minutes, we saw the real Real Madrid. Football at this level is difficult. They started better than us, but it was a big game and we were ready.”
Newcastle and England legend Alan Shearer, watching the game for BBC Radio 5 Live, was extremely impressed.
“Real Madrid don’t panic,” he said. “They’ve been in similar situations before, and they believe their pedigree will help them. It was incredible, incredible – thanks to their experience and know-how, Real got back into the game.
“Real Madrid just destroyed Liverpool. You have seen a master class on how not to panic. A brave man would need a bet against Real Madrid. Absolutely they can win – yes.
“They are a club with a lot of experience. They have seen it all and done it all. They know what they have to do.”
Adam Lallana, who currently plays for Brighton, played for Liverpool in the 2018 final in Kyiv, which Real Madrid won 3-1.
“I was delighted watching Real Madrid. This team is growing. I had the feeling that I was watching the favorites of the competition,” he said.
In La Liga, Real are eight points behind Barcelona, who have not even made it out of their Champions League group. But Carlo Ancelotti’s side are always a different beast in Europe.
Dramatic comebacks were a theme of their success last season. They trailed 2-0 to Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16, trailed Chelsea with 10 minutes to go in the quarter-finals and needed two last-minute goals from Rodrigo to overtake Manchester City in the semi-finals ” before winning the overtime match. time.
In the first leg of that game, City were 2-0 down in Manchester after 11 minutes to go down 4-3.
“Obviously we didn’t expect to start like that, but when we were 2-0 down I thought about the away game against City last year, hoping we can do the same,” Ancelotti said. “But it turned out even better.
“Liverpool are a great team and they made us suffer in the first half, so I’d say unfortunately this tie isn’t over yet.”
Vinicius, Benzema and Modric take over
The Real Madrid team is a mixture of youth and experience.
Five of them who played at Anfield won five European Cups – Benzema, Dani Carvajal, Nacho, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos (who won one of his five cups with Bayern Munich).
Only one player in history – Real Madrid legend Paco Gento – won more, six between 1956 and 1966.
Benzema (six) and Vinicius (five) have scored more goals in the Champions League or the Champions Cup against Liverpool than any other player. Benzema scored in the 2018 final and Vinicius scored the only goal at the Stade de France in May.
Vinitius is only 22 years old.
“I think Vinicius Junior is the most decisive player in the world right now – the one who decides the most matches on a regular basis,” Ancelotti said after the latest victory.
Klopp agreed. Vinicius is one of the best players in the world, he said.
The Brazilian is Real Madrid’s top scorer in all competitions with 16 goals this season. Current Ballon d’Or winner Benzema is next in 14th place. At the age of 35, he became the oldest guest player to score at Anfield in Europe.
Former Reds midfielder Steven Gerrard told BT Sport: “Benzema is one of the best players I’ve ever seen at pulling players off. He’s one of the best players in the world by a mile.”
Former England defender Rio Ferdinand called the Frenchman “the most complete number nine I’ve ever seen”.
Real Madrid midfielder Modric also attracted attention at Anfield. “To play like that at 37 is unbelievable,” said the 34-year-old Lallana.
“We are talking about real greatness,” Gerrard said. “Modric and Benzema are at a completely different level than most players.”