Karim Benzema hit for Real Madrid to earn a 1-0 victory over Liverpool and qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday 6-2 on aggregate.
After a last-16 first-leg tie at Anfield in February left Madrid in the balance with three goals, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said his side had only a one per cent chance. to turn the tie.
They stopped the bleeding at the Santiago Bernabeu but it didn’t look like the kind of comeback they won against Barcelona in 2019, or AC Milan at the end of 2005.
Madrid have now kicked Liverpool out of the Champions League in three consecutive seasons, including defeating them at the end of last year.
“It was a difficult game, but from the beginning we showed that we wanted to go through, and we are in the quarter-finals,” Benzema told Movistar.
“Suffering is part of football today. Everyone wants more, but sometimes you have to suffer in a game – the most important thing is to win and go.”
The 14-time champions showed a desire to keep Liverpool at arm’s length, with defenders Eder Militao and Antonio Rudiger determined to shut down the visitors, along with goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
The champions of Madrid could have greatly extended their lead, except for a series of impressive stops by Liverpool’s Alisson Becker and some fine finishing.
In the first leg, Madrid were completely dead, with Vinicius Junior and Benzema netting twice each – and there was no choice.
But they finally combined for Madrid’s victory after 78 minutes, with Vinicius slipping as he tried to shoot, but knocking the ball into the path of Benzema for an easy drop.
Madrid’s only concern was seeing their captain wear down after his goal in the midst of a season that has been plagued – Benzema said it was just a knock on the bone and Carlo Ancelotti confirmed that the when he faces Barcelona in the Clasico on Sunday.
“Madrid controlled the whole game, Ali had to make two saves to keep us in the game,” Klopp told reporters.
“Madrid is fantastic and that’s why the best team got through to the next round.”
Liverpool, very inconsistent in this competition, took heart from their 7-0 victory over Manchester United in the Premier League, but could not find the same trick under the Bernabeu lights.
Klopp started Diogo Jota with his usual attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo, using as much fire as he could to try to come back.
The first chance of the game fell to Nunez but Courtoi stopped the Uruguayan, who was fed by Salah.
On the other hand, Madrid opened up to Liverpool at different times, and Alisson made a spectacular save to deny Vinicius from the open space.
Eduardo Camavinga hit a long-range effort over the crossbar, with Alisson getting his fingers on it.
The Brazilian goalkeeper made several saves from Vinicius, Fede Valverde and Benzema as Madrid dominated the game.
Camavinga enjoyed the midfield and eventually helped create Benzema’s goal, with a powerful forward pass in the build-up.
“I told him a few small details, like how I know that the two Liverpool backs play open, that there is space in the middle, and that’s how we scored. the goal,” added Benzema.
The player has now scored seven times in the Champions League against Liverpool, more than any other player.
Benzema this is the key to Madrid’s bid to lift the trophy for the sixth time in 10 seasons, if it can maintain its strength.
Madrid played Liverpool’s classic “You Don’t Walk Alone” at the end of the game, which was at once a nice touch but also showed that the i Liverpool did something unpleasant.
Ancelotti said Madrid were full of confidence after their impressive run at the end of last season.
“We have more confidence, because what happened last year gave us a lot of confidence,” said the Italian.
“We saw in this tie, against a strong team, we played well in both games.
“But finally, with certainty alone, we will not reach the semi-finals. We have to play surprising football … as always, the Champions League is very difficult and we must we compete until the end.”
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