Liverpool 2-5 Real Madrid: Player ratings as Los Blancos run riot at Anfield

Liverpool fell to their heaviest European home defeat on Tuesday as they were mauled 5-2 by Real Madrid at Anfield in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah both scored early on to put Liverpool 2-0 up in a first half which was defined by goalkeeper’s error but Real fired back and doubles from Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema, with an Eder Militao header sandwiched in between, sealed a famous comeback for Los Blancos.

A high-intensity press from Liverpool forced a handful of errors from Real in the opening seconds and Cody Gakpo could have easily done better with a half-chance that came from one of those mistakes.

It didn’t matter, however, as Nunez flicked Liverpool ahead after just three minutes, running onto Salah’s cross and flexing his confidence with an audacious touch to convert past Thibaut Courtois.

Salah then struck wide ten minutes later, before Courtois handed him an absolute gift. The Belgian got his feet all wrong in possession and kneed the ball right to Salah, who could not miss.

There was nothing fortunate about Vinicius’ strike soon after. The Brazilian cut inside and curled a glorious strike into the bottom corner of Alisson’s net, giving Real a much-needed boost after a chaotic start to the game.

Vinicius equalised just after the half-hour mark, and this time, it was a howler from Alisson, who passed the ball right at his international teammate and could only watch on as the ricochet bounced into the back of his net.

Two minutes into the second half, Real’s comeback was complete as Militao powered home a header from a Luka Modric free-kick. About as simple as they come.

Benzema was wheeling away in celebration soon after as his strike took a cruel deflection off Joe Gomez and left Alisson on his backside as it trickled into the net.

Real Madrid began to take control of proceedings and dominated possession, and they grabbed a fifth goal as Benzema sat Alisson down and picked his spot beyond three defenders into an unguarded net.

That fifth strike appeared to knock the stuffing out of proceedings, and while neither side slowed down, you could feel a sense of acceptance from both teams as Liverpool’s focus switched to preserving their already-hurt reputation.

Indeed, there were just the seven goals for fans to enjoy on one of the most famous nights in the Champions League’s recent history.

Liverpool player ratings (4-3-3)

GK: Alisson – 2/10 – An inexcusable error for Vinicius’ second goal and continued to take an absolute beating all game long.

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold – 5/10 – Some sensational passing but predictably struggled up against Vinicius. A typical performance from him.

CB: Joe Gomez – 3/10 – Attracted some unfair criticism for his pass back to Alisson but also got plenty of deserved flack for a tough performance. Very unfortunate for the deflected goal.

CB: Virgil van Dijk – 3/10 – Swept aside by Vinicius and Benzema for the fifth goal.

LB: Andy Robertson – 4/10 – Pulled off a huge block to deny what looked like a certain goal late in the first half but that was as good as it got.

DM: Fabinho – 5/10 – Had a solid first half but appeared to check out after the break. Lost all composure.

CM: Stefan Bajcetic – 4/10 – Couldn’t keep his feet at all. Slipped over a lot and ended up giving away possession far too often. Some really costly errors.

CM: Jordan Henderson – 4/10 – Didn’t cover himself in glory for the first goal and started to look a bit out of control as the game progressed.

RW: Mohamed Salah – 7/10 – Undoubtedly deserved the good fortune for his goal. A massive threat whenever he got on the ball, but couldn’t get involved in the second half.

ST: Cody Gakpo – 6/10 – Another whose movement was problematic for the away side. Perhaps a little indecisive in front of goal.

LW: Darwin Nunez – 7/10 – A sensational goal to kick things off after a few minutes.


Diogo Jota (64′ for Nunez) – 3/10 – Did very little.

Roberto Firmino (64′ for Gakpo) – 4/10 – Tried to get involved but found it very tough.

James Milner (73′ for Henderson) – 5/10 – Offered nothing different.

Joel Matip (73′ for Gomez) – 5/10 – Will be relieved to have avoided most of the humiliation.

Harvey Elliott (85′ for Bajcetic) – N/A


Jurgen Klopp – 3/10 – Got his early tactics right as Liverpool left Real terrified, but couldn’t maintain that at all. Had no answers as the visitors started running away with it.

Real Madrid player ratings (4-3-3)

GK: Thibaut Courtois – 3/10 – Looked shaky right from the start. Scuffed a lot of passes and giving up the ball to Salah was inexcusable.

RB: Dani Carvajal – 6/10 – Panicked when Liverpool were running at him but he did pull out an excellent block to keep Nunez out.

CB: Eder Militao – 7/10 – A bit too aggressive with his challenges at times but did manage a handful of massive challenges and scored the go-ahead goal.

CB: Antonio Rudiger – 5/10 – Didn’t want any part of Liverpool’s high pace. Could see he was terrified throughout.

LB: David Alaba – 3/10 – Absolutely cooked by Salah and Alexander-Arnold before being forced off with an injury midway through the first half.

DM: Eduardo Camavinga – 7/10 – After a nervy first few minutes, Camavinga calmed himself down and started to have a real impact on the game.

CM: Luka Modric – 8/10 – A typically impactful performance from Modric, whose smart free-kick created Real’s third.

CM: Federico Valverde – 7/10 – Put himself about at both ends of the pitch. Nothing special but industrious and effective.

RW: Rodrygo – 8/10 – A little quiet early on but sparked into life in the second half with some dangerous dribbling.

ST: Karim Benzema – 9/10 – Two goals in ruthless fashion from Benzema. Genuinely wasn’t even at his best either.

LW: Vinicius Junior – 10/10 – Goodness me. Absolutely torched Liverpool’s entire defence from the first minute to the last.


Nacho Fernandez (27′ for Alaba) – 8/10 – Changed the game with his impactful work on Salah. Calmed things down and helped turn the tide.

Dani Ceballos (80′ for Rodrygo) – 6/10 – Didn’t get much time to strut his stuff.

Marco Asensio (87′ for Benzema) – N/A

Toni Kroos (87′ for Modric) – N/A


Carlo Ancelotti – 8/10 – Stumbled into the stroke of genius that was swapping Alaba for Nacho but never looked back. Whatever he said at half-time needs immortalising in stone.

Player of the match – Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)

Source: 90mins

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