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Home » Real Madrid Show Champions League Favouritism in Defeating Liverpool

Real Madrid Show Champions League Favouritism in Defeating Liverpool

16 March 2023, Thursday

Real Madrid advanced to the Champions League quarterfinals with a win against Liverpool, as Karim Benzema's second-half goal secured the 1-0 victory. The defending title holders recorded a 6-2 aggregate victory in the round of 16, ensuring that any hopes Liverpool had of turning it around were quickly quashed. Jurgen Klopp's side needed to win the match by three goals to take it into extra time, though they had little chance to do so with the Bernabeu crowd behind Ancelotti and his men. The tie was all but put to bed when Benzema was set up by Vinicius Junior and tapped in the close-range goal, ending Liverpool's hopes for progression.

The merit of Real Madrid's success in eliminating Liverpool from the Champions League with a 6-2 aggregate victory should not be overlooked. Liverpool are one of the most storied and intimidating sides in Europe, and to trounce the Reds in such an authoritative manner emphasises Real's potential.

Given that this season's Champions League is unusually open, Real will be hoping to go further when the draw is made on Friday. Regardless of what team they get--be it one of their chief rivals like Manchester City or an unknown entity such as AC Milan--Real will be expecting to go through.

Real Madrid have never been given the recognition that they are due. Despite the legendary Barcelona side of Pep Guardiola, Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez having won two Champions League titles from 2009 to 2011, many of the players of this Real team have achieved four or five wins in the past decade. Karim Benzema, scorer of this game's only goal, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Dani Carvajal have all won more than one championship and the rest secured victory in Paris against Liverpool last season. Antonio Rudiger was not part of this team, but he had won with Chelsea the previous year.

Real Madrid remain a formidable force in the Champions League. Their dominant victory over Liverpool in the first leg was a sign of things to come and their performance in the second game was evidence of their experience in dealing with difficult situations. The Spanish giants have lifted a record 14 European Cups and their pedigree should never be doubted. As the competition progresses, it is difficult to look past Real Madrid as the favourites for the title this season.

At this time last year, Liverpool had their hopes of a quadruple still alive. Unfortunately, they were unable to lift any of the two major trophies -- the Premier League or Champions League -- and their dreams were dashed in the final week of the season. Fast-forward to this season and the Reds’ aspirations of silverware are gone, thanks to Real Madrid ending their Champions League run.

At present, Liverpool are fighting for a top-four finish in the Premier League and a return to the Champions League next season. With 12 games left to play, Klopp's team trail fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur by six points, although they have a game in hand. Meanwhile, Brentford and Brighton & Hove Albion are breathing down their necks and Newcastle United are two points clear in fifth place, having played one game less.

Liverpool face a crucial battle in their bid to win a place back in the Champions League, a success that is essential to their rebuilding. This season's outcome will be a factor when Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Jude Bellingham considers his future, and a move to Anfield could be attractive if the Reds land in the Europa League next campaign.

Without the financial benefits of playing in the Champions League, Jurgen Klopp has little hope of providing the vital refreshment to his squad - particularly in the midfield. Falling at the Champions League round of 16 stage to Real Madrid was certainly a bitter blow, and a failure to qualify for the Premier League's top four would make for an even more dismal showing.

In this game, the two top goalkeepers in world football currently went head-to-head. Real's Thibaut Courtois and Liverpool's Alisson Becker both committed uncharacteristic mistakes that resulted in goals during the first-leg at Anfield, however, it is difficult to attribute those errors to anything other than a fluke.

The two goalkeepers' performances in the Bernabeu showed their quality, however, and highlighted their place as the best in the world. Courtois and Alisson put in top-class displays, proving that their earlier missteps were simply an outlier.

Thibaut Courtois might just edge out Alisson as the world's finest goalkeeper, judging from this performance. The former Chelsea man put in a huge save from Cody Gakpo in the 36th minute, which could have potentially given Liverpool a lifeline in their attempt to make up a three-goal deficit. Not only is Courtois a powerful figure in goal, his excellent positional sense ensures that he makes all his saves look easy. Alisson may not be as physically imposing, but his quick reactions and anticipation mean that he is also a real handful for attacking players.

Ederson from Manchester City and Gianluigi Donnarumma at Paris Saint-Germain could quite possibly argue for a place in the conversations about the best stoppers in the world, but it is still Courtois and Alisson that top the list.
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