Luka Modric and Toni Kroos ran Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Liverpool at the Estadio Alfredo di Stefano like it was 2018 all over again. Goals from Vinicius Junior and Marco Asensio saw Real Madrid come away with a 3-1 win following an assured performance.
Real Madrid started on the front foot despite missing first choice center back pair, Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos. The first goal came following a peach of a pass from German midfield maestro, Kroos who spotted Vinicius Junior’s run between two Liverpool defenders and he played an inch-perfect long ball which Vinicius chested down and finished with aplomb to open the scoring. The home side soon doubled their lead after some dreadful defending from Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold. A long ball by Kroos was met by Alexander-Arnold with a diving header, however, his header set Marco Asensio away one on one with Alisson in the Liverpool goal, and the Real Madrid winger lifted the ball over the keeper before bundling the ball over the line to make it 2-0 in a dreadful first half for Liverpool in which they failed to register a single shot.
The second half began with Liverpool playing with more energy, and the late first half introduction of Thiago Alcantara for Naby Keita seemed to help Liverpool hold onto the ball better. They eventually pulled a goal back through Mohamed Salah after some brilliant running from Georginio Wijnaldum and nice footwork from Diogo Jota released the Egyptian forward to score from inside the box for a priceless away goal. The visitors continued to push forward as they created a number of openings, but Real Madrid’s defence stood strong before a third goal effectively ended the match. Luka Modric received the ball on the edge of the Liverpool box before jinking into the box and rolling the ball to Vinicius Junior who just rolled a first-time shot beyond Alisson to make it 3-1 to Real Madrid.
Real Madrid would go into next week’s second leg at Anfield the better placed side to qualify as they controlled the tempo of the game and picked up a comfortable 3-1 win. Liverpool’s away goal may complicate matters for the Spanish giants, as the English side are very formidable on their own turf.