This Is Anfield brought you a full live text commentary as the Reds claimed a fantastic 1-0 victory at the Bernabeu.
21:39 Elsewhere in the Champions League tonight, Chelsea 1-0 Juventus, Sporting Lisbon 0-5 Bayern Munich and Villareal 1-1 Panathinaikos. Middlesbrough beat West Ham 2-0 in the FA Cup fifth round replay.
21:35 Liverpool have done it. They’ve silenced the critics and pulled off a great victory over an in-form Real Madrid side. Yossi Benayoun got the winner 8 minutes from time and Liverpol, with their away goal, hold a massive advantage in this second round tie.
93mins The Reds reign in Spain! Just like in 1981, it’s Real Madrid 0-1 Liverpool. After a shaky start, Liverpool controlled the match well for the majority and fully deserve to go into the second leg at Anfield on March 10th with the advantage.
92mins Liverpool thumping the ball away.
91mins SUBSTITUTION Lucas on for Kuyt as Rafa looks to just keep things settled til full time.
90mins There will be 3 minutes of added time.
89mins Since going behind, Real have been frustrated and posed little threat. Again, they are caught offside by a strong Reds back line.
88mins SUBSTITUTION Steven Gerrard comes on for the last few minutes in place of the injured Albert Riera. Riera hasn’t looked too sharp tonight, either. Good to see Stevie back from injury.
87mins YELLOW CARD Gago finally recieves a yellow card for a rash challenge on Riera. Awfully timed, nowhere near the ball and I’d say Gago is lucky to still be on the pitch. Riera stays down to eat some time.
86mins Great play by Babel on the half way line to retain posesssion under pressure for the Reds and slow things down.
85mins Real are panicing and piling forward en mass. But it’s Liverpool who have the away goal and will take their time in these final five minutes.
84mins YELLOW CARD Albert Riera is booked for deliberate handball, blocking a Real cross that could have been dangerous. That rules Riera out of the second leg at Anfield on March 10th.
83mins That was a fantastic free kick from Fabio Aurelio. He’s been tremendous all night and a great header from Benayoun! La la la la!
82mins GOAL!!!! Fabio Aurelio’s crossed free kick from the right meets the head of little Yossi Benayoun who powerfully gets behind it to beat Iker Casillas. Unstopable!! Reds take the lead in Madrid!
80mins Skrtel clears a dangerous Real Madrid cross out for a corner.
78mins Reina’s goal kicks have been a bit of a problem today. And again the Spaniard slips whilst booting it out.
77mins Steven Gerrard is still warming up. But maybe Rafa is happy to see this through to 0-0 at full time without him. Real not posing too much of a threat.
75mins Dirk Kuyt is clattered by Gago in the centre circle. No yellow though, ref?
73mins Real are getting frustrated. Diving all of the park trying to fool the referee. Just over 15mins to go.
72mins Robben is a disgrace. Going down claiming fouls off Aurelio all night. The Brazilian has been nothing but class against the little former Chelsea shit.
70mins Robben finds space again and tests Pepe Reina with a powerful shot that the Spaniard has to divert for a Real corner. Great save, Pepe lad.
69mins ubermick in the forums on Mascherano’s tackle:
Gago goes down as if he’s been shot. Replay shows a GREAT tackle from Masch. Barely touched him – a foul would have been harsh, a yellow is testament to Gago’s phenonenal acting skills.
(30 seconds later, he’s miraculously up and about, when it looked like he may have to be euthanized…)
68mins Roberto Rosetti, the referee, has been poor today. Taken in by the pressure of the home crowd drastically. That decision against Mascherano was awful.
67mins Javier Mascherano is shown a yellow card for a foul on Gago, but it was a fantastic tackle. Gago overreacted there, rolling around on the floor fooling the referee. Poor from Gago.
65mins Should Torres have been taken off? tettehsrafalution in the forums says:
It’s the right decision. Torres has been totally off his game. I think Pepe got into his head and threw him off, and then gave him a kick or two to for good measure.
64mins So we’re now playing without Gerrard and Torres. Just under half an hour to go.
62mins SUBSTITUTION A frustrated Fernando Torres can’t play on with his ankle injury and he’s annoyed that he leaves the field in Madrid. Ryan Babel is on in his place. Will we see Gerrard soon, too?
60mins Good Reds pressure. Benayoun builds up play well on the left with Riera. But Real have strengh in numbers and contain the pressure.
60mins Aurelio is playing really well today. Making defending look easy. Containing Robben very professionally.
59mins Benayoun plays Riera in well on the left inside channel in the Real penalty area, but the angle is difficult for the Spaniard and his shot is weak.
57mins Carragher slips at the wrong moment to being Robben down on the right wing. Resulting free kick is whipped in well, but Liverpool are defending strong.
55mins YELLOW CARD Frustrated rash challenge on Diarra earns Torres a yellow card. Needless.
56mins Ball pings round the egde of the Real area, but the home team clear easily.
54mins ubermick in the forums:
Gerrard getting ready on the bench. Wonder if he’s coming on for Torres?
52mins Steven Gerrard is preparing to come on!
52mins Roben is causing problems at the Reds end, turning our defenders inside and out. But his finishing has been weak today and another shot goes wide.
51mins Cannavaro has to be alert as Torres is fed through. The Italian defender gets there just ahead of Torres though and plays it safely back to Casillas.
50mins This is much better. Liverpool attacking well. Kuyt finds space down the right side and plays a great ball down the line for Benayoun, but the Israeli can’t get enough power round the ball to find Torres waiting in the box.
49mins Great spell of attacking play by Liverpool and Real are starting to look uncomfortable at the back. Benayoun goes close before Alonso mishits a shot from the edge of the area that goes narrowly wide of Casillas’ left hand post.
47mins Alonso’s free-kick swings in, and over everyone. Poor from Xabi. Rafa is furious.
46mins YELLOW CARD Cannavaro stops Kuyt from making a vital run through on goal slightly outside the area and is booked.
20:46 The second half gets underway.
20:45 The teams are back out for the second half. Gui is on for Marcelo for Real.
20:38 Elsewhere in the Champions League tonight at half-time, it’s Chelsea 1-0 Juventus (Drogba), Sporting Lisbon 0-1 Bayern Munich (Ribery) and Villarreal 0-0 Panathinaikos. For anyone who’s bothered, our next Premier League opponents Middlesbrough are 2-0 up at home to West Ham in the FA Cup fifth round replay.
20:35 Some half-time comments from the forums. Vamos LFC says:
It was a nervy few opening minutes by we are playing decent enough.Torres looks injured and Benayoun is the only one who looks like he might create something.
The ref’s a Madrid fan surely?
45mins Oooooh! Alonso tries his luck from inside his own half and Casillas has to tip the ball over the bar. Casillas nearly caught offguard. Tremendous effort from Alonso.
44mins Robben’s cross is deflected badly off Riera, but Reina’s alert and stops it well on the line. Could have been worse.
43mins Good passing down the right for Real again between Ramos and Robben forces a corner.
42mins Woah! Awful! Awful long range effort from Riera. Miles off target.
42mins Higuain hets a bit of luck as he beats both Skrtel and Mascherano to the ball but his rash shot from just outside the area doesn’t trouble Reina.
41mins Torres is still hobbling a bit. Rafa will probably reassess his ankle injury at half-time.
40mins Robben again makes some space and unleashes another left-foot shot but this one is even further off target.
38mins Real adding the pressure now. Robben makes space and his left-foot shot is powerful but wide of Reina’s goal. Making Reina work now though.
37mins There’s a lot of fans in the chat room following the game. Lively discussions.
36mins Ouch! Marcello reminds Liverpool Real are capable of stinging at any time. His low drill from thirty yards fizzes past Reina’s left hand post. Keep alert Redmen!
35mins The Reds have survived an early wave of Real pressure and are now looking more in control of the game. Ramos looks frustrated on the touch-line.
33minsKuyt breaks free on the right. A good cross towards Benayoun bobbles around the box before ending up at the Israeli again, but his shot trickles wide. You just feel Benayoun is being easily outstrengthed by this big Real defence.
32mins The referee today, Roberto Rosetti, seems to be giving a lot of decisions against the Reds. Not allowing much physical contact out there.
31mins Reds free-kick 35 yards from goal is swung in by Aurelio looking for Torres but dealt easily by Real.
29mins Real have the ball in the net from the corner. Gonzalo Higuain heads in from close range, but it’s ruled out for offside.
29mins Real ping in balls looking for Raul. Carra clears for a corner, taking no chances.
28mins Real are still making Liverpool work at the back, but it’s starting to look a bit more comfortable for Jamie Carragher.
27mins Kuyt finds Riera on the left wing, but his low ball in finds no-one. Dissapointing from Riera.
26mins Aurelio has been contain Robben very well.
25mins Mr Kelly in the forums:
Had a couple of half chances, but Real are having the best of this one so far. Though without much penetration for now.
23mins Torres has had his ankle strapped up and is back on.
22mins Another great stop from Casillas denies Yossi Benayoun who had sneaked in and tried to lift it over the advancing Spanish keeper. Reds knock on the door again and the game has come to life at both ends now.
22mins Torres has hobbled off with an ankle problem.
21mins This is a good run of play for Liverpool. Torres’ shot two minutes ago was saved fantastically by Casillas. It could be 1-0.
19mins Torres breaks free in the inside-right channel and fires a strong shot from a tight angle that Casillas makes a great save to deny. This is more like it.
18mins Riera’s ball finds Torres in the area but a great tackle from Pepe frustrates the Spaniard just yards from goal.
16mins Reds dealing with strong Real pressure well. Mascherano and Alonso are making outstanding tackles. Maybe we need to edge forward a bit. The back line is very deep.
15mins ubermick in the forums:
VERY nervy so far… Madrid look up for it.
13mins Cracking tackle from Javier Mascherano after sloppy play from Riera. Reds looking streched.
12 mins Robben’s free-kick is whipped in well, but defended well and cleared for a Real corner. The resulting corner sees Sergio Ramos and Gago try overhead kicks, but it’s safely dealt with.
11mins Arbeloa gives away a free-kick 35 yards from goal on the left hand side. Good chance for Real here, Robben to take.
9mins Ramos will be the happier of the two managers so far. Real are passing it around nicely and look organised. Liverpool perhaps a little flustered.
7mins Real are going down all over the park looking for free-kicks. Heinze is the latest culprit, falling under limited pressure from Yossi Benayoun on the left flank.
5mins Liverpool just need to slow things down a little. Real Madrid have set a very high tempo in the opening 5 minutes here.
4mins Pepe Reina is tested. Raul sneaks in for the first shot of the day from inside the box but it’s straight at Reina.
3mins Former Athleti boy Fernando Torres is recieving a barrage of abuse from the home support. Not helped as he trips defender Pepe well inside the Madrid half.
2mins Real putting on early pressure and causing Liverpool worry atthe back.
19:45 The game gets underway. The weather is Madrid is clear and warm, and the pitch looks tremendous. Everything’s in place for a great game.
19:44 Bookies closed bets on Benitez leaving the club today, but the Spaniard sits in his suit opposite his Real Madrid counterpart Sergio Ramos. Both look serious and ready for business.
19:41 The teams come out to a fantastic reception in the Bernabeu Stadium. Such a massive crowd and it feels like a very special European night in the Spanish capital. Here’s the teams:
Real Madrid: Casillas, Ramos, Cannavaro, Pepe, Heinze, Robben, Diarra, Gago, Marcelo, Raul, Higuain.
Liverpool: Reina, Aurelio, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Riera, Benayoun, Alonso, Mascherano, Torres, Kuyt.
Steven Gerrard is on the bench for the Reds