A different take, the same result, and at least enough to make Jurgen Klopp wonder what’s going on here. real Madrid finished Liverpoolchance to win Champions League for the third consecutive season. Still, on this occasion, the question was not how you beat them, but how you scored against them. Liverpool could not come close to a comeback because they struggled hard to advance and left Karim Benzema to pick them for a 1-0 make 6-2 overall.

Much of that was undoubtedly due to an injury crisis in the midfield, which was a bad – or perhaps unavoidable – night in terms of showing how imperious Madrid were in that area. The European champions seem a more complete team than last season, far from being an aging, transitional or just vulnerable team. Most of this may have something to do with the fact that they can call themselves European champions. It’s like he gave the young stars like that. Young Vinicius and Eduardo Camavinga believes in moving to another level, Luke Modric and Benzema remain within last season’s standards.

This makes them a direction that is extremely challenging and cannot be regarded as upstart revelations at all these folds of history on the way to Paris. If that doesn’t sound weird to a trophy-holding team, they may even be the best team remaining in the competition.

By contrast, Liverpool aren’t exactly disbanding, but after a season filled with injuries, problems, chaos and brutal unpredictability they have had an impact on a draw of this kind. Overcoming all of this against opposition like this took a lot and means Klopp now only needs to focus on getting back to that level next season. The only thing left in the campaign is the race to enter the top four.

This may be in their favor because this is a side that seems like they can’t top the twice-weekly right now. While this isn’t really due to any planning or quality failures, they never got here.

If the key to these comebacks was an early storm, Liverpool left it locked up, but that was partly because their midfields were necessarily too open. Klopp had only two in-form starting players for the region, and one was a 37-year-old who was more recently used as an assistant right-back. Madrid didn’t win the midfield battle as much as just having a true midfielder and being a strong team in that regard.

Liverpool were crushed in the midfield and paid the price with this Benzema goal.


All of this had more weight as these were the two clubs currently seen as Jude Bellingham’s favourites. There was a more pronounced gap on one side. As it happened, all of Madrid’s midfield stars went through there to pick the passes and shoot the basket from wherever they wanted. In the midst of Toni Kroos activating several offensive moves, Camavinga smashed the crossbar and Modric took a full-stroke half-volley flight.

While Benzema was on the alert with each opening, Vinicius was constantly on the verge of breaking. It was actually impressively adventurous, given that Madrid was the leader, but that was the point. They were so comfortable with this leadership that they could afford to go out and play and defend themselves.

It was up to Liverpool to disturb them. They accomplished this in a few minutes, but he was always nervous, as if it would take too much time. Therefore, their best opportunities were long shots or half luck, such as Andy Robertson’s interception from the left or Cody Gakpo’s attempt at a long shot.

The other side emphasized the difference. While Alisson had to make a number of good saves, especially from Benzema and Vinicius, nearly every defender had to put in at least one big block. Trent Alexander-Arnold blocked what appeared to be a certain Benzema goal.

It was the kind of hopeless challenge that had you thinking that there was a sense of destiny in the game and that something big was going to happen…but there were still three goals.

Something big had already happened in the first game.

There was a suggestion for a moment when Liverpool were late with a quick pass inside the penalty area… just so that no one actually took the shot. On the other side, Benzema showed them how it was done.

In other words, the traditional finish.