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Real Madrid vs Liverpool as it happened – Champions League quarter-final, first leg

Real Madrid vs Liverpool liveblog, Champions League
(Image credit: Future)

MAN OF THE MATCH: VINICIUS JR

Much of the talk was about Karim Benzema before the game: instead, it was Marco Asensio and two strikes from 20-year-old Vinicius Jr. You voted him your man of the match over on Twitter - and it was a landslide. 

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FULL-TIME: Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool

It's half-time on the tie but Liverpool have it all to do back at Anfield - without the Kop behind them. That away goal is vital for Jurgen Klopp's side, who didn't play with quite the swagger that they showed at the weekend against Arsenal. Real Madrid were very professional, though: they turned it on when they needed to but most importantly, they managed the game well.

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90 min + 3: It looks like that'll be it for Liverpool attacks. Modric tackles Mane and with so little left to play, that looks like that. 

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90 min + 1: Nacho and Militao throwing themselves in front of everything now. You'd never guess they've never played together in this backline. 

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GOAL IN MANCHESTER

Phil Foden saves the day! 2-1 Manchester City, as the 20-year-old slides the ball home. De Bruyne it long to Ilkay Gundogan, who laid it off for Foden. Gundogan, hilariously, celebrated the goal against his former club more than Foden. 

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89 min: Jurgen Klopp looks on pensively. Perhaps mulling over the two-goal deficit to turn around for Liverpool next week. They've done it before... but it'll maybe be harder than ever this season.

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88 min: Liverpool corner. The Reds are still plugging away for that consolation goal, despite the obvious disappointment of the performance so far.

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GOAL IN MANCHESTER 

Manchester City 1-1 Borussia Dortmund. It's almost as if Man City have been complacent in the Champions League... Marco Reus with the equaliser for BVB.

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84 min: SUBSTITUTION 

Vinicius Jr heads off, Rodrygo comes on just to see this game out. He's more than earned his five minutes' rest, has young Vini.

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82 min: YELLOW CARD

Trent Alexander-Arnold gets himself into the book. He holds Vinicius off and then screams in anger at the assistant referee. A frustrating night, all in all, for the young right-back.

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81 min: SUBSTITUTION

Diogo Jota and Ozan Kabak head off, as Xherdan Shaqiri and Roberto Firmino come onto the field for the Reds. Klopp going for that precious away goal.

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77 min: Real Madrid enjoying possession now. They're defending in a back six and playing as if they're on the training ground when they get the ball. Well, they are. But you know what we mean. 

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76 min: Liverpool now enjoying some possession in Real's half. It's patient and steady. They know the importance of another away goal though - it would seem like a great result at this stage. 

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74 min: Toni Kroos is dictating play like an orchestra conductor. Valverde has added some composure to Real and Liverpool have lost a touch of intensity. Great game management from Zidane.

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70 min: Vinicius has been absolutely fantastic tonight. We spoke to him last year about why he chose Real Madrid

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69 min: SUBSTITUTION

The first change for Real Madrid is a defensive one. Fede Valverde comes on for goalscorer Marco Asensio. That looks like some form of 4-4-2 from Zizou to try and see this one out. 

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66 min: Real Madrid have another gilt-edged chance. Marco Asensio tries spinning rather than shooting, as Alisson bears down on him. Don't be shocked if there are more goals in this one. 

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64 min: GOAL! Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool

Vinicius Jr has the third, his second of the game. Luka Modric with the assist. Just as Liverpool were getting into this, too. Well, that's what happens when both teams have four centre-backs out between them. 

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63 min: On the counter, Trent Alexander-Arnold has stopped another great chance. Real Madrid were away, 2v1. Vital block.

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62 min: Ferland Mendy has almost certainly prevented a goal. Diogo Jota ghosted into the middle, flicked it onto Sadio Mane, only for the left-back to get in there first. 

MEANWHILE IN MANCHESTER

Dortmund's Jude Bellingham was seemingly robbed of an open goal in the first half. Have a look at this... 

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56 min: The complexion of this one has flipped on its head. Salah is pressing more intently, it seems, as play flits end to end. That's how Liverpool like it, after all.

If Liverpool lose tonight, it will be four consecutive losses against Real Madrid in the Champions League. Only once have Liverpool suffered four consecutive defeats against an opponent across all European competitions before - they lost four times in a row against Benfica, between 1984 and 2010.

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55 min: YELLOW CARD

Thiago Alcantara is booked for a fairly innocuous challenge.

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53 min: That goal has put a rocket up Liverpool. After a weirdly slow VAR call, Liverpool are surging forward more now. Trent Alexander-Arnold has just swung a beautiful ball from the right-flank and looks more like the Trent of this weekend. 

ThisIsAnfield are obviously very happy about that goal. 

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51 min: GOAL! Real Madrid 2-1 Liverpool

Mohamed Salah, the Egyptian king, gets that all-important goal. Whatever Jurgen said to them, it must have worked.

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48 min: Lucas Vazquez is booked for a silly tackle on Diogo Jota. Silly challenge out by the touchline - no need to go in for that. 

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47 min: We asked you on Twitter how you think that first half went - it's safe to say that Mark is not best impressed with the Reds...

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46 min: And we're off! The second half has begun, with Liverpool now playing left to right.

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HT 8.52pm: Can Liverpool win the Champions League? It’s their final shot at silverware this season, and possibly the best prospect of qualifying for next season’s competition, too.

They may not be looking too good right now, but the thing with Liverpool in Europe is that, as Clive Tyldesley once remarked, “you never know”.

On that idea, This Is Anfield editor Matt Ladson has written for us today on whether the Reds can produce another unlikely night in Istanbul this May.

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HALF-TIME FILLER: 2009 line-ups quiz

This fixture has produced two finals in this competition (1981 and 2018, since you asked), but we’re looking back to the 2009 quarter final for our quiz today: can you name every player in the line-up and on the bench that night?

Not only was it Liverpool’s best result against Madrid, it was also the last time they beat them...

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HT 8.52pm: Liverpool didn't have a single shot in first half. Real Madrid had eight. Oo-er.

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HALF-TIME: Real Madrid 2-0 Liverpool

A dominant display from Zidane's side, even if they don't appear to have got much out of first gear – familiar to anyone who watched them against Atalanta.

Liverpool look poor. Madrid's sojourns down the left have shown up Trent Alexander-Arnold, even before his mistake for the second goal, and centre-backs Phillips and Kabak look to have lost confidence after the opener. But it's not just defence: the midfield can't hold possession, let alone feed the attack, who have suffered from anonymity as a result.

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44 min: Here's what FourFourTwo writer Mark White reckons about the first-half. Liverpool, once again, look a shadow of themselves.

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43 min: Kabak spoons a ball in the left-back position, gifting Asensio a good chance one-on-one – but he sends it wide.

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42 min: SUBSTITUTION

Thiago Alcantara comes on for Naby Keita. Didn't look like an injury for Keita, who was a surprise inclusion and has been poor so far – surely Klopp wouldn't embarass him by hauling him off so soon before half-time though?

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40 min: HALF-TIME READING Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson moved to Anfield following mistakes from Loris Karius in the 2018 Champions League Final against Real Madrid, but was on the sidelines when Klopp’s side were knocked out by Atletico last season. 

We chatted to him recently about what it was like to watch that defeat – you can read our full feature interview with him here.

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37 min: Looked like a possible shove on Sadio Mane in the build-up, which Jurgen Klopp is not happy about. Might have been a bit of soft one though. Mane is booked for his own protestations.

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36 min: Toni Kroos again with a ball over the top.

Trent Alexander-Arnold heads it from wide into the box, and straight into the path of Asensio, who would otherwise be offside. He knocks the bouncing ball past Alisson, and then taps it into the open goal.

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36 min: GOAL! Real Madrid 2-0 Liverpool

MEANWHILE IN MANCHESTER... VAR has just denied Manchester City a penalty. Liverpool old boy Emre Can is currently breathing the biggest sigh of relief in the Etihad. If City went two goals up, even Erling Haaland would struggle to get Dortmund back into the game.

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32 min: A penalty shout for Real Madrid! Or, at least, from Real Madrid.

Benzema goes down in the box, but Kabak got a touch on the ball. Benzema was going for the ol' dangled leg trick. You'd think he'd have that perfected by now.

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27 min: Wonderful, wonderful goal. Toni Kroos receives a simple pass from Militao in his own half and pings a perfect 30 – no, 40 – no, 100-yard* pass over the top to Vinicius Jr.

After some lovely chest control, he rifles it past Alisson from between two Liverpool defenders.

It came from nothing!

*May be exaggerated out of excitement. It was a long pass.

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27 min: GOAL! Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool

25 min: Liverpool give the ball away cheaply around the halfway line, allowing Karim Benzema to run on goal – but Kabak, who has been sturdy so far, is able to block for a corner, which comes to nothing.

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GOAL IN MANCHESTER: Man City 1-0 Borussia Dortmund

Kevin De Bruyne scores after a cut back from Riyad Mahrez, from about eight yards out. Classic Guardiola goal.

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18 min: Liverpool prepared for tonight’s game with a 3-0 hammering of Arsenal on Saturday, with a star performance from Trent Alexander-Arnold. There’s a lot of talk about whether he’ll be making the England Euro 2020 squad, after Gareth Southgate dropped him for the March internationals.

Our own writers are pretty unanimous that he should be on the plane, but for some reason the FA rarely consults us over squad selection.

So we turned to some wise heads – Twitter – to solve this once and for all, and the answer still came back a pretty emphatic “yes”.

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Your move, Gareth.

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MEANWHILE, IN MANCHESTER... FFT man Ed McCambridge is keeping an eye on Man City vs Borussia Dortmund for us.

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13 min: Finally, a chance! Mendy comes down the left (already some action down that flank) and crosses it in, but Vinicius' header goes just wide.

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11 min: Is that a clip on Luka Modric? Vinicius Jr breaks down the left and cuts its back to Modric in the D. Naby Keita appears to clip him from behind, but after a VAR check, nothing is given.

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10 min: Mohamed Salah looks for a moment like he might break through on goal after a Madrid slip on the halfway line, but Fernand Mendy's speed and reading of the situation clears things up quickly.

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7 min: Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema has scored in all three of his Champions League appearances against Liverpool. He’s currently level with Didier Drogba for the most number of goals against the Reds in the history of this competition (four goals). 

He's already looking lively tonight.

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5 min: Corner for Real. A fluffed clearance from Salah luckily leads to an offside call after a touch from Asensio.

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3 min: This is Zinedine Zidane's 50th game as a manager in the Champions League. A win tonight will give him his 31st win as manager.

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2 min: Karim Benzema has the first shot of the night, from around 20 yards out. It's low, and straight at Alisson.

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1 min: And we're off! Liverpool get an early throw in Real Madrid's half.

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Pre-match

7.58pm: Real Madrid come into this game on an 11-game unbeaten run, which includes two comfortable wins over Atalanta in the last round of the Champions League.

They’ve had a mixed season so far – humbled by the likes of Levante in La Liga, Shakhtar Donetsk (twice) in Europe, and Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey – but all of that could be forgotten over the next week. Now just three points off top spot in the league, they face second-place Barcelona in this Sunday’s Clasico, sandwiched between these two Liverpool games. 

By the middle of next week they could be in pole position for the title and Champions League semi-finalists – and likely favourites against either Chelsea or Porto.

7.53pm: How about some betting odds for tonight’s game? Betfred has a Real Madrid win at 7/5, a draw at 5/2 and a Liverpool win at 9/5. 18+ only, and gamble responsibly.

7.47pm: Here's how local media in Madrid and Liverpool are looking at the game.

Alberto Rubio in Marca says that "a fearsome Liverpool side await Real Madrid”:

“Liverpool's decline this season has been notable, especially compared to the team that conquered the Premier League and went all the way to the trophy in 2019/20.

“However, the Reds have managed to bounce back recently and significantly improve on the pitch, registering three straight wins and the same number of clean sheets in their last three games in all competitions.”

Jorge C Picon from another Spanish sports daily, AS, writes: “Varane's loss is a serious setback since he is the centre-back who best organises the squad, being able to stop attacks. Zidane should sacrifice one of the midfielders or forwards. The balance is very positive: they all ended in victories with nine goals in favour and two against. In fact, in the last match against Eibar he placed the same players who could be from the game against Liverpool: Nacho, Militao and Mendy.”

In Merseyside, This Is Anfield asks: “How do the Reds win?”

“Firstly, pressure on the ball is important, but perhaps more so high upfield than in midfield – again, they remain capable of bypassing that press with some of the finest on-the-ball central players around.

“The defence is rather more shaky and certainly isn’t accustomed to playing together, in this shape. They leave themselves exposed centrally, the wingers don’t track back all the way unless it’s Lucas Vazquez and from set plays the marking can be abysmal.”

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7.42pm: If you're just joining us, you can find the line-ups at the bottom of the page, but here's the lowdown...

It’s a 4-3-3 for both sides, as Zinedine Zidane resists the urge to go for a back three in the wake of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane both missing out from this one. Real Madrid go with the classic midfield that won them their last Champions League final - against Liverpool - with Fede Valverde starting on the bench. Benzema captains Los Blancos.

Liverpool start with Guinean midfield Naby Keita in the centre - that’s the biggest news for them. This is the back five that beat Arsenal 3-0 on Saturday night; the front three sees a slight tweak as Jota - who got two goals at the weekend off the bench - is in from the start tonight. It’s a strong bench from the Reds, who have Roberto Firmino, Thiago, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Curtis Jones to call upon, should Jurgen Klopp wish. 

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7.36pm: While we’re waiting for kick-off, it would be remiss not to inform you that changes to the Champions League format are expected to be ratified later this month. Want to know what it’s all about? Mark White explains...

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7.29pm: Both managers have been doing their customary media rounds ahead of the game.

Jurgen Klopp used his to deny that "revenge" would play a part in motivating Liverpool tonight: “Revenge for 2018? In general, no. Not a revenge tour. Life is like this. I don't believe in it but it would be nice to get through. They are outstanding and know exactly how it goes.”

While Zinedine Zidane, in between dodging questions about Real Madrid's apparent interest in Mohamed Salah, has been praising the Reds' strength – going so far as to even downplay their obvious injury crisis (see the 7.15pm update if this is news to you).

“They are a very strong, very solid team…the three at the top are obvious, and they have a very important effectiveness. But we are attentive to everything," Zizou said.

“Their injuries? I do not know if it is a weakness, because they have other players. We also have casualties, but the strength is in the team. There are always players missing, but the strength is the team. In our case it is like that."

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7.15pm: Let's explain those line-ups a bit, then, as neither team goes into the game exactly how they'd like to.

Nothing new to add to Liverpool’s injury list: defenders Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip are all out for the season, while captain Jordan Henderson will miss both tonight’s game and the second leg at Anfield.

Real Madrid are also suffering from an injury crisis in their backline, however. Skipper Sergio Ramos picked up a knock while on international duty with Spain last week, and today it was revealed that centre-back Raphael Varane has tested positive for coronavirus.

Varane was rested for Madrid at the weekend, with boss Zinedine Zidane opting for a 3-4-3 formation, using Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy and Nacho as the back three.

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Watch live

7.11pm: We’ll be covering the whole match, including build-up, right here – but if you’re looking to watch the 8pm kick-off with a live stream or on TV, then we’ve got your covered too: here’s how to watch Real Madrid vs Liverpool tonight.

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Line-ups

7.02pm BST: It's Champions League quarter-final time! Tonight, we'll be covering all the action of from Real Madrid vs Liverpool, right here.

Team news is just in, so that seems like the best place to start.

Here's how Liverpool's starting XI looks:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Keita; Mane, Jota, Salah

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And here's how Real Madrid shape up:

Courtois; Lucas Vazquez, Militão, Nacho, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius Jr

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