MADRID — Karim BenzemaThe second-half goal gave Real Madrid a 1-0 win against Liverpool, securing a place in the Champions League quarter-finals for the defending champions.
The result at the Santiago Bernabéu completed a 6-2 aggregate victory for Carlo Ancelotti’s side in the round of 16. With Liverpool needing to win by three goals to level the tie and take it to extra time, manager Jurgen Klopp entered Wednesday’s game saying he only had a “1 per cent chance” of progressing to the next round.
Although they kept the tension going for over an hour, Liverpool rarely seemed to save the tie and their elimination was confirmed when Benzema scored from close range after being pestered by junior vinicius.
– The classic! Real Madrid-Barcelona on ESPN+ (Sunday, 4:00 p.m. ET)
– Champions League knockout round draw: full details
1. Real Madrid shows why they are still the team to beat
Although the hard work was done at Anfield by winning the first leg 5-2, Real Madrid’s achievement in knocking Liverpool out of the Champions League with a 6-2 aggregate win should not be underestimated.
Liverpool are one of the most successful and formidable teams in Europe and only Real can top their recent run of three finals in five years, so inflicting such a crushing defeat on Jurgen Klopp’s side proves that Real Madrid are once again Serious.
In what is turning out to be an unusually open Champions League this season, nothing has changed that Real Madrid remains the team to beat. Whether they face fellow favorites like Manchester City or an obscure side like AC Milan in Friday’s draw, Carlo Ancelotti’s side will be hoping to progress.
This Royal has never been given all the respect it deserves. People still revere Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona team from Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta and Xavi Hernández, who won two Champions League titles in three years in 2009 and 2011, but several players in this Real team have won four or five in the last 10 years. Karim Benzema, scorer of the only goal of this match, Luka modric, Toni Kroos and Daniel Carvajal they are multiple winners, while the rest lifted it in Paris after beating Liverpool last season. anthony rudiger he did not, but he had already won it a year earlier with Chelsea.
They are packed with experienced Champions League winners and still have a lot to offer. Their demolition of Liverpool in the first leg was a warning to the rest of Europe, but so was this game in the sense that they had enough experience to ensure that Liverpool never got off the ground in their bid for a remarkable comeback. La Real has already won 14 European Cups and no one else comes close. Don’t bet against them winning another one this time.
2. Liverpool need a big boost to qualify next season
At this time last year, Liverpool were on their way to a quadruple, only missing out on the two biggest trophies, the Premier League and the Champions League, in the final week of the season. But 12 months later, their trophy hopes have already evaporated with Real Madrid ending their Champions League prospects.
Liverpool’s season is still alive, but only in the sense that they now have just over two months to salvage it by securing a top-four finish and a return to the Champions League next season. With 12 games to play in the Premier League, Klopp’s side are six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, albeit with one game remaining. But Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion are turning up the heat behind them and Newcastle United are two points ahead in fifth place having played one game less.
Therefore, Liverpool have a fight on their hands to return to the Champions League and the outcome of that battle will be crucial to the rebuilding work that is required, regardless of where they end up this season. If Liverpool finish in the Europa League next season, will it be enough to convince the main target? Jude Bellingham to reject a move to Real in favor of a transfer to Anfield from Borussia Dortmund?
And without the added finances that come from playing in the Champions League, it will deny Klopp the chance to update his team as much as he needs to, especially in midfield. Liverpool have always faced an almighty challenge against Real having lost the first leg 5-2, but exiting the Champions League in the round of 16 is a failure for a club of their stature and ambition. Finishing outside the top four in the Premier League would make a poor season even worse.
3. Courtois and Alisson recover from the mistakes of the first leg
It could easily be argued that the two best goalkeepers in the world right now squared off in this game. real Thibaut Courtois and the Liverpool allison becker both made unusual mistakes that led to goals in the first leg at Anfield, but even their harshest critics would have a hard time suggesting those mistakes were anything more than a problem.
But just to show that such mistakes were truly out of the ordinary, Courtois and Alisson put on first-class displays at the Bernabéu to highlight their status as the very best.
Courtois will probably shadow him ahead of Alisson as the best in the world judging by this game. He made a great save Cody Gakpo in the 36th minute, when a goal on goal would have given Liverpool a huge boost in their bid to overturn a three-goal deficit. The former Chelsea goalkeeper is a commanding presence; he is good on his feet, dominant in the air and makes every save seem routine due to his excellent positioning. Alisson isn’t as big physically, but he is faster on the line than him and his ability to spot danger was also key to a series of early interventions against Real Madrid.
the one from manchester city Ederson and Paris Saint-Germain Gianluigi Donnarumma He could bet his case to stand trial alongside Courtois and Alisson, but the numbers 1 Real Madrid and Liverpool are at the top of the list.
Best and worst performers
BEST: Alisson Becker, GK Liverpool.
He made a series of crucial saves to keep Liverpool with an outside chance to turn around their three-goal deficit.
BEST: Luka Modric, MF, Real Madrid.
He will rarely play another 37-year-old these days, but he will play the Liverpool veteran. james milnerModric was free to direct the game and dictate the rhythm of Real Madrid.
BETTER: eduardo camavingaMF, Real Madrid.
It is hard to believe that the Real midfielder is only 20 years old. He could be at the heart of the Real team for a decade if he keeps playing like he did in this game.
WORST: Darwin NunezFW, Liverpool.
All effort and energy, but you need to slow down. He does everything at 100 mph, but it would be so much better if he learned that pace doesn’t always have to be at the heart of everything he does.
WORST: NachoDF, Real Madrid.
The weak link behind the Real. He struggled to contain Mohamed Salah and Liverpool pointed to the side.
WORST: Trent Alexander-ArnoldDF, Liverpool.
It’s a recurring theme, but it just doesn’t hold up well enough against quality opponents. Vinicius Junior almost had the freedom of his side of the field against the Liverpool defender.
Highlights and Highlights
Count on Karim Benzema to deliver the goal that put Liverpool’s chances of advancing to bed very, very slim.
KARIM BENZEMA PUT THE TIE OUT OF REACH! 🎯 pic.twitter.com/BQOY2skeF4
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) March 15, 2023
After the game: What the coaches and players had to say
Karim Benzema, after the performance: “It was a difficult game after the first leg, but from the beginning we wanted to go forward. It was a good match for the fans, for everyone, and we’re in the quarterfinals”.
Benzema, on whether he was injured late: “It’s a hit, that’s all. I’ll be there (for the classic on Sunday).”
Key statistics (provided by ESPN Stats & Information research)
– With 19 Champions League quarter-final appearances, Real Madrid trails only Bayern Munich (21) for the most all-time.
– Karim Benzema has scored 35 goals in his Champions League career, tying Robert Lewandowski for the third of all time. Cristiano Ronaldo (58) and Lionel Messi (50) are the only players with more.
– Real Madrid: 5-0-1 (WLD) in the last six games against Liverpool, including two final wins.
– All six of Liverpool’s eliminations in UEFA competitions under Jurgen Klopp have come against Spanish clubs (four against Real Madrid, one against Atlético Madrid, one against Sevilla)
Until next time
Real Madrid: Another big crash as they head to Barcelona on Sunday (broadcast on ESPN+ at 4 pm ET). Madrid will try to make up ground in the standings of their LaLiga rivals, nine points behind them for top spot.
Liverpool: Out of all cup competitions without matches before the FIFA international break. Once they return to action, a pivotal league game on April 1 at Manchester City, where a positive result will boost the hopes of the top four.