Real Madrid 0-1 Liverpool

Champions League 1st Round 1st Leg
Wednesday 25 February 2009 - 7:45 pm
Santiago Bernabeu
Real Madrid0
1Liverpool
Show Match Events
'Torres
'Mascherano
'Riera

Despite a backdrop of an orchestrated smear campaign against Rafa Benitez in the days leading up to this game, despite injuries to Gerrard and the withdrawal of Torres during this game, Liverpool yet again proved that with Rafa Benitez at the helm, they are one of Europe's best football teams.

Depending on which 'expert' you listened to before this game, Real Madrid were going to wipe the floor with Liverpool. They had won their last 9 league games, scored 10 goals in the last 2 games.

As usual the so-called 'experts' were wrong.

Steven Gerrard could only find a place on the bench as he returns from injury and Benitez opted for a 4-4-2 formation. With Dirk Kuyt partnering Torres up front.  Fabio Aurelio returned to the side in place of the hapless Andrea Dossena, and Xabi Alonso also returned after his one game suspension.

Real started fairly brightly but Liverpool were closing them down well and limiting them to half-hearted attempts from distance.  As the first half wore on the reds found most of the best chances fell at their feet, on numerous occassions surging past Madrid's defence.  A Torres angled shot was pushed aside by Casillas.  Later in the half Alonso went for one of his trademark 60 yard shots and the keeper did well to touch the ball over the bar.

Torres took a knock early in the first half and his right ankle was heavily strapped.  He lasted in to early in the second half before he was replaced by Babel.

Eventually the reds got the goal they looked like getting when Heinze fouled Kuyt. The reds free kick found Benayoun, easily Liverpool's best player on the night, who headed home in the 82nd minute.

Another fine win for the reds.  Benitez' reputation with the Real Madrid fans increases yet again.

Teams

Liverpool: Reina, Arbeloa, Skrtel, Carragher, Aurelio, Benayoun, Alonso, Mascherano, Riera (Gerrard 88), Torres (Babel 61), Kuyt (Lucas 90).
Subs Not Used: Cavalieri, Dossena, Hyypia, Ngog.

Booked: Torres, Mascherano, Riera.

Goals: Benayoun 82.

Real Madrid: Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Cannavaro, Heinze, Robben, Gago, Lassana Diarra, Marcelo (Guti 46), Higuain, Raul.
Subs Not Used: Dudek, Saviola, Sneijder, Metzelder, Miguel Torres, Van der Vaart.

Booked: Cannavaro, Gago.

Att: 85,000

Ref: Roberto Rosetti (Italy).

  • Imran

    Kev,

    My comment of challenging the creme de le creme was in regards to signing the top players in the game which has not happened partly due to our inferior budget which i’ve also stated elsewhere on this site.Since we’ve never had the transfer budget of a Chelsea or Man Utd our margin for error is far smaller in other words we can’t afford to waste millions on signing dud’s!

    Certainly,having the best doesn’t guarantee success but it sure does increase the team’s chances of winning against other contenders.In any business money has to be spent wisely which many do and others fail at.Rafa does receive much credit for being a brilliant tactician in Europe but it also has to be acknowledged that some of his decisons lack any logic like he often has players out of position.Kuyt a winger!!!!!?…..i don’t think so!

    Like many other fans i also feel that in the Premiership his philosophy is often tedious and boring when he should be going for the kill!.At 2-2 we should be trying to score another one more then worrying about the opposition.

  • ste malone

    Great win last night started a bit shakey but realy come into it in the 2nd half, if you watch the video of the goal Andy Gray sounds almost angry about liverpool scoring saying only about heinze giving the free kick and no marking. How he still commentates on Liverpool games i don’t know, it was a great ball in and a crackin header. Well in yossi lad come on you red men.

    In Rafa we Trust.

  • Dave B

    Absolutely perfect performance. Without Gerrard and Torres at the end. Just what Rafa needed. I hope everyone whos been saying Rafa out are eating their words. His tactics again were absolutely spot on. Credit to the defence aswell because Real only had 1 decent shot on goal from Robben.
    Kev’s last paragraph is spot on aswell, i dont get how people can question Rafa.
    But anyway brilliant performance, lets get it won comfortably at Anfield with Gerrard back and Torres fit. Come on the mighty reds.

  • Ian Cade

    I hate to say this.. But I think our chance of a league title has slipped away, I think we can and will beat united, but that will be the only game they lose in the run in to the end of season, we do have to keep snapping away at them just incase the cheating bathplugs get a ref that dare send ronaldo off for diving or give an away team a penalty for a foul in their box.
    The champions league trophy is ours. Perhaps we should really consentrate on winning that and be happy with the progress we have made in the premiership and look forward to winning both next season

  • Kev

    That’s funny Imran, I thought you said after the Man City game that we couldn’t challenge the creme de la creme. In the last 3 seasons we’ve beaten Barcelona and Real Madrid away from home and this season in the league we’ve beaten Chelsea home and away and Utd at home. Utd are the English, European and world champions by the way, so in terms of creme de la creme it doesn’t come much bigger.

    The reason we struggle to win the league is due to a lower transfer budget that we have. The average amount of money that Utd spend on a player today is around 50% of the current British transfer record. This roughly equates to around 16m per player when taken as an average. Ours is around 30%, roughly 10m per player, however that figure was vastly inflated by the relitively costly signings of Torres and Mascherano, two players we couldn’t cope without. The only team that have done better than Utd in the past 5 years is the team that has spent more money, Chelsea.

    look at it this way, when we were winning and competing for league titles with regularity, we regularly broke the British trnasfer record to get the players we wanted. Dalglish, Beardsley, Rush. Dean Saunders, although not part of a title winning team came in 1991 as a record signing when our last title win was still fresh in the memory. The last time we broke the British transfer record for a player was in 1995 when we paid 8.5m for Stan Collymore a full 14 years ago!

    I’m not saying you have to break the record every time you sign a player but clealry it helps when you have the financial muslce to do this. Would any other manager in world football have done as well as Rafa has done in the last 5 years at Liverpool? Personally, I don’t think so. Chelsea were supposedly getting the creme de la creme in world football management by appointing Scolari. A reputation for winning world cups playing breathtaking football. Did it happen? and rememebr this, Chelsea have still got the nucleus of a squad that won back to back titles under Mourinho, so what was Scolair’s excuse? Benitez inherited a squad that were struggling for 4th in the premiership and had been dumped out of europe the previous season by an average Marseille side.

    I’m absolutely dumfounded that we can be sitting in second place in the leauge with our best chance of a title in literally 19 years, with a European cup win and final defeat still fresh in the memory and still be questioning whether Rafa should be in the job. all this on the back of another ‘famous’ victory in Europe away at Real Madrid of all places. the game has gone crazy!

  • Hyypiaking

    I always knew we could do it and Real Madrid weren’t up to much to be honest. If Robben experimented with passing the ball a few times then they would have been far more dangerous. Raul hardly had a sniff all game, so massive credit to our defenders.

    Interesting fact 1: In each of the past three seasons Liverpool have won at a famous stadium in Europe. We beat Barcelona in 2007 in the Nou Camp, Inter in the San Siro in 2008 and now Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2009. That’s impressive.

    Interesting fact 2: The last and only previous encounter between the two teams was the European Cup final in 1981, when Alan Kennedy won it on 82 minutes. Curiously enough, both encounters between Liverpool and Madrid have ended with a 1-0 Liverpool victory, with the goal always coming in the 82nd minute. I suppose you could also say that they came from an unlikely source.

  • byron

    There was nothing wrong with Real Madrid nothing they played their style of football as they had been going in their last 2 La Liga games but then they met the beasts more tactical than they are..we are the best!!! Well done Reds..I keep the faith!

  • El Tel Alicante Spain

    Deserved the win,as we played like a team. Once again Torres injured though, hope he doesnt become another Anderton as we really need him. Only half time still tough, so lets not get over confident. We have to show this team work in the premiership now. Benayoun seems to be coming to the fore lately. Keep it up Benny boy. El Tel

  • Imran

    We mostly do well in such European night’s so i was confident that we wouldn’t lose this one.Real never really threatened us so it was just a matter of if or not we would score.Thought Carra,Skrtl,Yossi and Xabi were brilliant,we probably could have nicked another one but let’s not be too greedy!.It’s still not over because they’re well capable of scoring at Anfield but so are we especially with Gerrard and a fully fit Torres in the starting line up.

    No doubt in Europe Rafa is a master tactician but he won’t win the Premiership for us due to his defensive attitude where he plays to avoid defeat more then to win.Now watch us huff and puff at M’boro on Saturday where we’ll probably settle for another draw!!.Still want the Premiership crown much more then the Champions trophy.

  • Oske

    The way the game started, I wasn’t so sure that LFC will be victorious. It’s not that I was afraid of Real’s chances, it’s the lack of opportunities on the other side that worried me. However, LFC showed that they are a TEAM, not just a bunch of famous names. This win is even more important since Gerrard was off the pitch and Torres had an accident in the middle of the first half that left him a bit less dangerous. Great score for LFC today, I can only imagine an atmosphere at Anfield in two weeks.

    Much regards from Serbia,

    Oske, a proud supporter of Liverpool Footbal Club

  • MrMoore

    Even if the score had remained at 0-0 the team played like a unit. We have missed that for ages. Even when they showed Gerrard on the bench it was difficult to decide who would be suited to be replaced. Even better that we got a goal – cant wait for the home game – work cant cause me to miss this game.

    Any news on Torres’ ankle…

  • Glen

    Perfect timing and Yossi has gone improved his game intelligence considerably. Well done reds, and well done Rafa.