Misguided headlines & empty stands – Real Madrid’s unique Anfield history

From ‘This is Anfield – so what?’ to no fans in sight, Liverpool’s Anfield meetings with Real Madrid have been anything but a typical fixture.

Two of the most successful teams in Europe meet for the tenth time on Tuesday, with Anfield playing host to the fixture for only the fourth time in history.

The Champions League last 16 is the occasion, the last eight is the destination and Jurgen Klopp is in search of his first victory over Los Blancos – he’s certainly due one!

But before the latest chapter between these two gets written, let’s take a look at the eventful past meetings between Liverpool and Real under the lights at Anfield.


Liverpool 4-0 Real, March 2009

Reds XI: Reina; Arbeloa, Skrtel, Carragher, Aurelio; Alonso, Mascherano, Kuyt, Gerrard; Babel, Torres

‘This is Anfield – so what?’

A headline Spanish outlet Marca no doubt wished they’d rescinded as soon as it hit the front pages, as Real were treated to a potent attacking display from the first whistle to the very last.

Real Madrid arrived at Anfield in 2009 as the chasers with Liverpool holding a 1-0 advantage from the first leg of the last 16 tie, and they left knowing exactly what Anfield can do to a visiting team.

Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard struck within 12 minutes of each other in a spellbinding first half, but they were not done there as Gerrard added another in the second half, and even Andrea Dossena got in on the fun!

On the night the scoreboard read 4-0, on aggregate it finished 5-0.

The Echo would write: “Supporters will look back on nights like last night as among the most glorious and memorable they have ever experienced.”


Liverpool 0-3 Real, October 2014

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 22, 2014: Liverpool's players line up for a team group photograph before the UEFA Champions League Group B match against Real Madrid CF at Anfield. Back row L-R: Alberto Moreno, Dejan Lovren, Martin Skrtel, goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, Jordan Henderson, Philippe Coutinho Correia. Front row L-R: Mario Balotelli, captain Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson, Joe Allen, Raheem Sterling (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Reds XI: Mignolet; Johnson, Lovren, Skrtel, Moreno; Gerrard, Allen, Henderson, Coutinho; Sterling, Balotelli

As hard as we’ve all tried, this group stage game isn’t quite so easy to rid from the memory.

It was a nightmare evening in Brendan Rodgers’ first, and only, Champions League campaign which ended at the group stage before a swift Europa League exit followed.

Real Madrid were 3-0 up at halftime thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo and a brace from Karim Benzema – and an Istanbul-esque comeback was never to be on the cards.

It was a painful lesson that also led to further scrutiny over the decision to part with £16 million for Mario Balotelli, who was withdrawn at halftime and criticised for swapping shirts with Pepe on his way to the tunnel.


Liverpool 0-0 Real, April 2021

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 14, 2021: Liverpool and Real Madrid players stand for a moment's silence to remember the victims of the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster on the eve of the 32th anniversary before the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg game between Liverpool FC and Real Madird CF at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Reds XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson; Fabinho, Milner, Wijnaldum; Salah, Mane, Firmino

It had been more than a year since COVID forced the world into lockdown and subsequently sport to be played behind closed doors, and it ensured this contest was played out at an empty Anfield.

Real’s three first-leg goals gave Klopp’s side, who scored one in Madrid, plenty to do in the quarter-final tie.

Without Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip or Joe Gomez, it was Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak who started in defence and they kept Real off the scoresheet, but wasteful finishing at the other end sealed their fate.

The Reds had chances to pull back the deficit but were architects of their own downfall as Los Blancos continued their frustrating record against Klopp’s men.

An echo chamber greeted the Spanish side in 2021, but it will be an entirely different ‘welcome’ in 2023.