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Liverpool “not the same team from last year,” admits Thibaut Courtois

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois says Liverpool are “not the same team from last year” after his side beat the Reds 5-2 on Tuesday.

Belgium international Courtois made a poor individual error that saw Liverpool go 2-0 in front in the early stages, only for the Reds to eventually fall to their worst-ever home defeat in Europe.

Having made a series of crucial saves to help Real beat Liverpool in last season’s Champions League final, Courtois has admitted Jurgen Klopp‘s side do not have the quality they possessed last year’s competition.

“Madrid will always be in the fight until the end,” Courtois told Movistar.

“I think that Liverpool is not the same team from last year, you have to be honest. They are more fragile at the back.

Fabinho, Stefan Bajcetic, Cody Gakpo, Darwin Nunez, Andy Robertson Liverpool Real Madrid Anfield (Peter Byrne/PA)

“Madrid will always be one of the favourites. We’ll see how far we’ll go.”

In a separate interview with CBS Sports, Courtois was asked how Real managed to stay so level headed having gone two goals down early on.

He went on to explain how Liverpool left “so much space” to exploit, with Karim Benzema correctly predicting that Real could score “two or three” more goals in the second half.

“It’s the experience of all the players,” he told interviewer Peter Schmeichel.

“When I made the mistake, everyone was calm, everyone knows that we can do something to win this game and when you go to 2-2 at half-time, we felt we could win this game.

“Karim, when we were walking out, said ‘we can score two or three goals for sure’, and then this is what happened.

“They are vulnerable. With the space at the back, they press so high. The moment you can go out of this pressure there’s so much space, and obviously we have fast players on the counter-attack.”

Courtois, though, insists Real Madrid still have work to do to finish the job in the second leg.

“No it is not,” he said when asked if the tie was over.

“I think last year against Chelsea we thought the same and suddenly they were up 0-3 in the Bernabeu.

“You know this can happen and we have to be careful, especially with this new away goal rule. You can not relax.

“They have a lot of quality up front to score goals and we have to concentrate, but obviously it is better to be up than down.”