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.
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.
Ref: Roberto Rosetti (Italy).