Liverpool 0-3 Real Madrid: Reds comfortably beaten in insipid Anfield display

Champions League Group Stage Game 3
Wednesday 22 October 2014 - 7:45 pm
3Real Madrid
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In the three meetings previously between Liverpool and  Real Madrid the Spaniards had failed to score a single goal against Liverpool. In  an 18 minute first half spell they had scored three.

Brendan Rodgers made some personnel changes from the awkward win over QPR at the weekend.  Bringing in Alberto Moreno to replace Jose Enrique at left back, and Coutinho's cameo was rewarded with a start ahead of Emre Can.

Mario Balotelli, despite an inept performance at QPR managed to keep his place - he was, as Brendan said, a big player for big games.  Unfortunately Real Madrid in the Champions League must not be quite big enough.

There was a great rendition of YNWA before kick off but that was possibly the highlight of a rapidly deteriorating night.

Liverpool were bright in the first 15 minutes - although the analysis of this could be more to do with how poor we have been all season.  Compared to an Anfield performance from last season it probably wasn't particularly good at all.

By the 20th minute Real Madrid were dominant - stroking the ball around with Gerrard, Henderson and Allen not even near enough to snap at anybody's heels.

Moments later and as the reds increasingly became dizzy, a quick movement eventually bypassed Gerrard and Henderson, the ball went over Lovren who attempted an overhead kick clearance and Ronaldo reached the ball before Skrtel to fire past Mignolet.

7 minutes later Liverpool's defence imploded. Again.

A cross into the box was punched straight back to Madrid by Mignolet who could have attempted a catch instead.  Seconds later Kroos attempted the exact same cross from the exact same position, this time an indecisive Mignolet didn't do anything and Benzema had all the time in the world to send back a looping header into the net.

Benzema makes it 2-0 against Liverpool

It's all so easy as Benzema makes it 2-0.

Fast forward 11 minutes. A corner to Real. You know how this ends - it's how it has been ending for 18 months now.

The cross was sent in, and Balotelli, Lovren, Skrtel (three of Liverpool's biggest players) all failed to get their head on it.  Pepe did.  Mignolet rushed out and slid toes first at the ball.  Benzema mockingly tapped the ball in.

It was pure footballing comedy - except it wasn't remotely funny.

Mario was substituted off at half time and replaced by Lallana.  Mario hadn't had an especially poor game and compared to the whole host of poor games he has had this was nothing out the ordinary.  Rodgers' mistake had been to pick him in the first place.  A strategy that will begin, if it hasn't already, to alienate some of the harder working members of his squad.

A combination of Liverpool looking slightly more cohesive and Madrid opting for a more relaxed second half meant there was a bit more balance in the play second half (Rodgers did allude to the 'second half clean sheet' in the post match analysis - hurrah, get in there!).  By the 67th minute Rodgers knew the game was up and brought off Henderson and Coutinho to rest up ahead of the weekend visit by Hull.

Ronaldo was afforded some applause by the home crowd when he was substituted off, as was the excellent Kroos - but this was another bad night at the office for Liverpool.

A couple of weeks ago Jamie Carragher said Liverpool had problems at both ends - that was partly right - they're not particularly good in the middle either.

Real Madrid take a commanding lead in the group with 9 points; Basel, Ludogorets and Liverpool all have three.  Next up in the Champions League - Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

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Liverpool 0-3 Real Madrid: Reds comfortably beaten in insipid Anfield display

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