Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool – Player Ratings

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A wretched Liverpool were beaten 3-1 away to Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday night, with far too many Reds players well short of their best.

Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool

Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg, Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano
April 6, 2021

Goals: Vinicius Jr 27′ 65′, Asensio 36′; Salah 52′


Alisson (out of 10) – 5

Sporting his beauty of a moustache, Alisson was hoping for a night as quiet as the one at Arsenal last weekend.

Unfortunately, that didn’t prove to be the case, with the Brazilian powerless to do anything about Madrid’s two opening goals.

He had to do far better with Vinicius’ second of the night, though, summing up his below-par form for too much of this season.

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, April 6, 2021: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg game between Real Madird CF and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. (Pic by Propaganda)

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 4

There has been so much talk about Trent’s defensive shortcomings of late and this was a night that saw them brutally exposed.

The 22-year-old was targeted by the hosts all evening, with Vinicius Jr giving him a torrid time and his awful header backwards gifting Marco Asensio a goal.

Gareth Southgate will have been watching on feeling vindicated, sadly.

Nat Phillips – 4

Phillips has performed admirably of late, but there has always been a worry that he would eventually be exposed by a top-class attack.

That proved to be the case against Zinedine Zidane’s side, with the centre-back horribly caught for Vinicius’ opener from a routine long ball.

He tried his best, but ultimately, this is above his level and there’s not a lot he can do about it.

Liverpool's Ozan Kabak (left) and Real Madrid's Karim Benzema battle for the ball during the UEFA Champions League match at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium, Madrid. Picture date: Tuesday April 6, 2021.

Ozan Kabak – 6 (Man of the Match)

Kabak has been even better than Phillips recently and he was Liverpool’s best player, albeit on an evening full of terrible displays.

He started well, looking composed, and although he almost gifted Madrid a third goal in the first half, the positives outweighed the negatives.

So easy to forget he’s only just turned 21, too.

Andy Robertson – 5

Robertson has been poor for a sustained period, but it was hard to blame him for Liverpool’s numerous issues in Spain.

Granted, his usual lung-busting runs were nowhere to be seen, but he was defensively secure compared to the rest of the back line.

Not exactly an outing to treasure, though.

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, April 6, 2021: Liverpool's Andy Robertson (L) and Real Madrid's head coach Zine?dine Zidane during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg game between Real Madird CF and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. (Pic by Propaganda)

Fabinho – 5

Fabinho has been exceptional throughout this season, excelling in two different positions, but he struggled on Tuesday.

Not helped by Naby Keita and Gini Wijnaldum alongside him, the 27-year-old was outplayed by a hugely experienced Madrid midfield, often looking leggy.

Ran into trouble on one occasion and lacked his usual dominance.

Gini Wijnaldum – 4

Wijnaldum was handed the captaincy in the absence of Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Virgil van Dijk, but far more leadership was required.

This was a quiet night for the Reds’ No. 5, both vocally and on and off the ball, as he offered nowhere near enough drive and guile.

Hugely disappointing.

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, April 6, 2021: Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg game between Real Madird CF and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. (Pic by Propaganda)

Naby Keita – 3

Keita was handed an enormous opportunity to shine, but instead, this ended up being a nightmare for him.

Barring one promising dribbled, the Guinean continually lost possession in dangerous areas and looked an increasingly nervous presence, as well as failing to provide enough legs.

Replaced after 42 minutes and not because of injury – is this the end for him at Liverpool?

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, April 6, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg game between Real Madird CF and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. (Pic by Propaganda)

Mohamed Salah – 6

Salah has continued to bang in the goals of late and that again applied against Madrid, as he just about kept the Reds in the tie with a second-half finish.

In truth, he never got going against a Madrid side without Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, but he at least looked dangerous.

The service to him was horribly lacking.

Sadio Mane – 4

This is a shadow of the footballer we saw last season – the man who dragged Liverpool through so many matches with his quality and passion.

Mane never looked like affecting matters at any point, looking extremely jaded and every bit a player who has played too much football in the last few years.

Bordering on sad to see.

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, April 6, 2021: Liverpool's Sadio Mané is shown a yellow card by referee Felix Brych during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg game between Real Madird CF and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. (Pic by Propaganda)

Diogo Jota – 5

Jota was preferred to Roberto Firmino, looking to carry on from where he left off at the weekend, leading the line in a different way to his team-mate.

It just didn’t happen for the Portuguese, however, and he lacked Firmino’s ability to drop deep and link with the midfield.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but maybe another cameo from the substitutes’ bench would have been the right decision from Jurgen Klopp.

 

Substitutes

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, April 6, 2021: Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg game between Real Madird CF and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. (Pic by Propaganda)

Thiago (on for Keita, 43′) – 5

Given more than a half to work his magic, Thiago started slowly in the minutes before half-time and never really stamped his world-class authority on proceedings.

Xherdan Shaqiri (on for Kabak, 81′) – 5

Didn’t do much of note, but did nothing wrong.

Roberto Firmino (on for Jota, 81′) – 5

Same as Shaqiri.

Subs not used: Adrian, H. Davies, R. Williams, B. Davies, Tsimikas, Milner, Cain, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain

 

Jurgen Klopp – 4

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, April 6, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg game between Real Madird CF and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. (Pic by Propaganda)

Put bluntly, Klopp had a stinker.

His decision to start Keita backfired badly, with the midfielder off the pace after a spell out of the team, and Firmino was also arguably missed.

On top of that, Liverpool’s performance was abysmal for a large chunk of the night and the manager has to be blamed for that, as well as the players.

This was a return to the dark ages of earlier in the season and Klopp will know his side need to produce more European heroics to stay in the Champions League.


Player ratings definitions: 10 = Faultless | 9 = Excellent | 8 = Very Good | 7 = Good | 6 = Average | 5 = Below Par | 4 = Bad | 3 = Very Bad | 2 Awful | 1 = Surely Not

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