Real Madrid’s Vinicius ruined Liverpool’s night

Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool. An excellent result for the Spanish side, and on this occasion a fair one. Madrid took Liverpool apart in the first half with some fine football that left Klopp’s team all over the place, unrecognisable. The Liverpool midfield was overrun, their attackers were isolated and the defence was shaky, not just in the middle, where the team is patched together, but also out on their famous flanks. So it was no surprise it was 2-0 at half-time, with the goals coming from two passes from Kroos to Vinicius. The Brazilian scored the first with a fine bit of skill. The second was deflected poorly by Alexander-Arnold to Asensio, who scored a classy goal.

Vinicius' fine first goal

It’s worth spending a moment to analyse Vinicius’ goal, which was surprising thanks to the clarity with which he finished it, he looked a different player. He brought the long ball under control on his chest, with an angle to take him away from the defender who was pursuing him on his left and he cut off the trajectory of the defender coming in from the right, to then crown the run with a low, unstoppable shot. In the second half, after Salah’s goal, Liverpool’s reward for coming out well after the break, Vinicius scored again, this time with a first-time touch in the box, worthy of an out-and-out poacher. If he’s playing like this there’s no need to rush Hazard back. He can take his time over his recovery.

Second half of Real Madrid - Liverpool a more even affair

As I was saying, Liverpool came out better after the break, no doubt woken up by Klopp’s foghorn. The German coach was agitated all night, with the fourth official bearing the brunt of it. The second half was an even affair, with a final score of 1-1 after the 45. Overall a 3-1 win for Real Madrid, the job half-done and a result that could be enough to see them into the semi-finals. A result, too, that few anticipated when they heard Varane had tested positive for covid-19. But Militao was neat; Nacho, excellent, as he tends to be; and every Madrid player looked either good or very good. Kroos was stupendous, but the man of the night was Vinicius, who comes out of the match with a major boost to his reputation. He deserves it.