Real Madrid is already in the quarterfinals of the Champions League after a game played with great skill against a Liverpool that could never get into the tie, weighed down by the 2-5 first leg at Anfield. The reds needed little less than a sporting miracle, a feat never seen before, but Madrid was not there tonight for too many concessions. He brought out the strongest version of him, the one from the Champions League. He was solid on defense and defended most of the time with the ball. In fact, it was almost always Madrid that was closest to the goal. They won with a goal from Benzema in the final minutes, a more than deserved victory.
Jürgen Klopp played it as expected by putting four forwards in the eleven: Salah, Darwin Núñez, Jota and Gakpo. With a midfield supported by Milner and Fabinho, they wanted a break-and-tear game, with hardly any transitions, looking to break Madrid with balls behind the backs of the wings, supposedly the weakest part of the defense. But the goal is not always a matter of forwards, and less if there is no game that supplies them.
Ancelotti did not introduce any surprises either. The eleven was as expected, with Camavinga as fourth midfielder to the detriment of Tchouaméni, who did not quite come together. Camavinga's dynamism now makes him always play; this time accompanying the veterans Kroos and Modric. The German's game, the one in charge of keeping the tempo of the game, was of great merit.
Liverpool went on the attack from the initial whistle, but Madrid contained them without breaking down. He advanced the line to midfield and thanks to his superiority in that field he played very comfortably for the first half hour, in which he found space to attack.
Those of Ancelotti were close to the goal. Benzema missed it on a couple of occasions by very little. Camavinga from afar sent the ball to the crossbar when a goal was already being called,
Liverpool reacted above all after the first half hour. Before he had only had a shot from Jota taken by Courtois after a backward pass from Carvajal and a slip from Rüdiger. But the desperation of seeing the minutes go by and he did not score led him to the Madrid area by assault. He had several shots to get ahead: a couple from Gakpo and especially one from Darwin Núñez to which Courtois responded with one of those trademark saves that have given Madrid so many victories.
The whites arrived at half-time with zero-nil and the feeling of having already done the most important part of the job. The second half began with no change of players and with a similar trend, a very warlike Liverpool and a Madrid that was looking for long possessions to cool the game.
Madrid was able to score at minute 53 in a one-on-one between Valverde and Alisson in which the Brazilian goalkeeper prevailed. Klopp then changed two of his forwards. He removed Darwin and Jota and put Firmino, who plays much less this year, and the young Elliott into action.
It didn't work for him either. Benzema missed the goal due to a very high shot after a great play by Vinícius, focused on playing and not on poisoning himself with fights with the referee or his markers.
The game entered the last quarter of an hour with Liverpool totally evicted, unable to create a goal chance, without faith or resources. And Madrid, when it sees blood in its favorite competition, is not one of those who misses the opportunity. In the 78th minute he finally found his goal with an assist from Vinícius from the ground and a shot from Benzema. The match ended with shouts of "Barcelona, corruption".
After the game, the Bernabéu said goodbye to Liverpool with the anthem You will never walk alone (You will never walk alone), in return for the reds' tribute to Amancio in the first leg.
1 - Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal (Lucas Vazquez, m.86), Militao, Rüdiger, Nacho; Camavinga, Kroos (Tchouameni, 84), Modric (Ceballos, 82); Fede Valverde, Vinicius (Marco Asensio, m.84) and Benzema (Rodrygo, m.82).
0 - Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Conate, Van Dijk, Robertson (Tsimakas, m.91); Fabinho, Milner (Oxlade-Chamberlain, m.73); Diogo Jota (Elliott, 57), Gakpo (Carvalho, 91), Darwin Nunez (Firmino, 57) and Salah.
Goals: 1-0, m.79: Benzema.
Referee: Felix Zwayer (Germany). He admonished the Liverpool coach, Jürgen Klopp (72).
Incidents: second leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League, played at the Santiago Bernabéu stadium before 63,127 spectators.