Liverpool welcome Real Madrid to Anfield for the 1st leg of the last 16 in the Champions League.
A few weeks back this game was all about the fear as the reds were in a horrible run of form. Since then however there have been the minor green shoots of a recovery. A few players are making their return from injury and the reds have collected six points last week and two clean sheets in the process.
But rest assured that Real Madrid represent a much sterner test over these two legs.
Liverpool were comfortably the better side in last season's Champions League final but Madrid soaked up the pressure until they hit the reds with a counter to add yet another European title to their collection.
There is a sizeable gap in the calendar until the second leg of this match so a positive result here will give the reds some buoyancy over the next few weeks of Premier League focus.
Can the reds continue their recent recovery - or will Madrid once again spoil Liverpool's party?
Here's how the game unfolded.
As it happened...
The reds have failed to beat Real Madrid in the last six meetings, with just one draw in that run.
It obviously includes two Champions League finals - 2018 and 2022.
Real Madrid knocked the reds out of the 2020/21 Champions League in the Quarter Final stage - games being played at a Real Madrid training base during the pandemic.
The reds beat Madrid home and away in 2009 but lost home and away in the 2014 group stage.
Recent history is certainly on Real Madrid's side in this competition.
LIVERPOOL UNCHANGED FROM THE WEEKEND
The same 11 who started Saturday evening are back in action just 72 hours later.
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Bajcetic, Henderson, Nunez, Salah, Gakpo.
Subs: Adrian, Kelleher, Milner, Keita, Firmino, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Elliott, Jota, Tsimikas, Carvalho, Matip.
Carlo Ancelotti has selected his line up
Courtois; Carvajal, Rudiger, Militao, Alaba; Modric, Camavinga, Valverde; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius Jr.
Subs: Lunin; Vallejo, Nacho, Odriozola, Lucas Vazquez; Kroos, Ceballos, Martin, Arribas; Hazard, Asensio, Alvaro.
Stefan Bajcetic tonight becomes the youngest ever Liverpool player to start a Champions League game. He is a day shy of being 18 years and 4 months old.
BT Sport, who cover the Champions League in the UK, repeated UEFA's initial responses to the match delay at last season's Champions League finals.
UEFA at the time had said it was due to LFC fans arriving late. As we knew then and the independent panel have now confirmed, there was a large safety failure by the French police and UEFA's hasty plans to move the Champions League final to Paris.
BT Sport, some eight months later, have finally apologised for repeating the false claims by UEFA at the time.
An apology to Liverpool fans after the actions around the Champions League final in 2022.— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 21, 2023
"We are hugely regretful that we were reading out those false statements, the only statements shared on the screens inside the stadium. It was a completely false narrative." pic.twitter.com/86ew2Aoz4j
Huge boos for the Champions League anthem.
A period of silence ahead of kick off for the Real Madrid honorary president and former player Amancio Amaro.
Kenny Dalglish lays a wreath in front of the travelling Madrid supporters.
Underway at a very lively Anfield.
Let's get the right result here, reds!
2' Henderson plays it through to Gakpo in the box, great space, but he tries to turn across the area and slips.
4' LIVERPOOL TAKE THE LEAD
And what a finish by Darwin Nunez. Salah sends the ball into the box and Nunez backheels it past Courtouis.
14' Mo Salah capitalises on a Thibaut Courtois mistake and pummels it into the net. He didn't clear it, bounces off his knee and Salah snaps that up.
Mo is Liverpool's record goalscorer in the Champions League.
Real Madrid are rocking here!
21' Vinicius Jr isn't closed down quick enough by Joe Gomez and he lashes a shot into the corner from just inside the area.
What a start to this game. 2-1 to the reds.
25' Salah and Nunez pushing for a goal and Militao is there to clear off the line.
26' Nacho on to replace the injured David Alaba.
28' Vinicius Jr definitely Madrid's most dangerous man so far and Alisson delivers a big save to maintain Liverpool's lead. He collected the ball from a corner and attempted the same shot with which he scored.
36' Oh dear. Vinicius Jr scores again to make it 2-2.
Alisson's pass out hits Vinicius and goes into the net.
Two great goals in this game and two goals from goalkeeping errors.
45' Robertson with a last ditch tackle. Denies Rodrygo what would have been a certain goal - a tap in at the back post.
What a half of football. It's all square.
HT: Liverpool 2-2 Real Madrid
A great opener from Nunez and then a goalkeeping error from Courtouis to give Salah a record breaking goal.
Then a great strike from Vinicius and then a goalkeeping error from Alisson.
We've got three more halves of football from these two teams.
We're back underway for another 45 minutes.
47' Joe Gomez gives away a daft foul at the edge of the area by the touchline. Free kick sent in and Eder Militao heads that in. He had too much space from six yards out.
Madrid have come back from 2-0 down and lead 3-2.
55' Dear oh dear. That's a big deflection and Karim Benzema gives the away team a 4-2 lead. Deflection off Gomez.
60' Vinicius Jr stops Fabinho taking a free kick and gets booked.
64' Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo replaced by Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo.
66' This looks done. Karim Benzema makes it 5-2. Liverpool have come up against a step up in class here and been found wanting.
Arrives just after Bajcetic curled one narrowly wide at the other end.
Modric with the move from midfield, plays in Benzema and Liverpool can't get near it, Alisson comes out and is stranded. Goal.
70' Liverpool corner and it's a good header from Firmino with pace but the direction was straight at Courtouis.
73' Joe Gomez replaced by Matip. Henderson replaced by Milner.
81' Dani Ceballos replaces Rodrygo.
85' Elliott replaces Bajcetic.
Kroos and Ascensio replace Modric and Benzema for Madrid.
Liverpool fans applaud Modric off the field.
Three months older than even James Milner and still playing at such a high standard in this competition.
90' 'Ole's' around Anfield from the Madrid fans. Liverpool can barely string a couple of passes together.
It's been a chastening night for the Liverpool manager who should certainly be looking at some wholesale changes to this team.
90+2' Elliott booked.
All over. And highly likely all over for Liverpool in this season's Champions League.
This Liverpool team don't look capable of winning 3-0 at Madrid in the second leg.
FT: Liverpool 2-5 Real Madrid
'Obviously frustration with the result. Probably unlucky to go in at half time level but we made mistakes and they punished us every time.
'Their goals were to do with their quality but we didn't help ourselves. The set-piece we didn't defend well enough and the other goals we can do better. The game went away at us that point.
'It's difficult to speak straight after the match. Yes, they have a lot of quality and when you are not defending 100% they punish you.
'It's a tough one to take.
'The second leg is a few weeks away. We've got games coming up on the Premier League and we need to concentrate on that and cross that bridge (2nd leg) when we come to it.
Just waiting to hear from Jurgen Klopp to wrap this liveblog up.
'The beginning was outstanding. Exactly how we wanted to play. Causing problems. 2-0 up.
'We became passive higher up the pitch - we stopped chasing them higher up.
'The second goal was slapstick that's 2-2. At half time we thought we could keep the rhythm. The first situation they played a long ball - how we defend that is not okay. It's 3-2.
'We could not really get back on track. We needed to play like the first half for the full 90 minutes. They became more confident and scored great goals - one was deflected I think.
'It's a strange one. We lost 5-2. There's a lot from this for me to take.
'When they scored we had 5 or 6 players around - no challenge. That cannot happen.
'The only way for us to slow the game down was to have the ball. And we were giving it away far too often.
Thanks for joining us. We enjoyed the first 15 minutes. Not so much the rest of it.
Crystal Palace at the weekend. Let's not concede 5 goals again, reds.