Comeback Kings Real At It Again As Champions League Love Affair Rumbles On


(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Wed 22 Feb 2023, 1:50 PM

Last updated: Wed 22 Feb 2023, 1:55 PM

Real Madrid always seem to save their best for Europe, with Liverpool the latest victims
of the ChampionsLeague
's comeback kings in a remarkable 5-2 defeat at Anfield on Tuesday.

Real's failure to lie down and accept their fate was key to them securing a 14th ChampionsLeague
crown last season and it seems they have not lost their touch.

While Liverpool were in many respects architects of their own downfall, Real have a history of saving their best for when they are up against it and the ChampionsLeague
brings out the best in them.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg in last year's round of 16, Real came from behind to beat Paris St Germain 3-1 in the Bernabeu, before sneaking over the line in the last eight thanks to late goals against Chelsea.

Manchester City were good value for their 4-3 victory in last season's semifinal first leg, missing a host of chances to make the win more convincing, before taking the lead in the return match in Spain.

Two last-gasp goals from Rodrygo took the tie to extra time, with Karim Benzema finishing an astonishing comeback with a decisive penalty.

Having conceded two goals inside 14 minutes at Anfield on Tuesday, Liverpool fans sensed redemption for their defeat to Real in last season's ChampionsLeague
final, with the visitors struggling to cope in a raucous atmosphere.

They clicked into gear again at Anfield having fallen 2-0 behind and two goals from Vinicius Jr. had them level by the break.

There was only going to be one winner in the second half, as Real gave a lesson in how to kill a match and potentially the tie.

Liverpool were never allowed to cause any problems and get the crowd behind them, while Real put three of their four chances away in devastating fashion
to stun their opponents, becoming the first team in ChampionsLeague
history to come from two goals down and win by a three-goal margin.

'Obviously we didn't expect to start like we did but at 2-0 down I thought about the (Manchester) City away leg last year in the hope that we could do the same -- but it turned out even better,' Real coach Carlo Ancelotti said.

'We never lost confidence and little by little we won control of the ball. The experienced players helped the youngsters a lot in that situation: Karim (Benzema), (Luka) Modric and (Toni) Kroos saying 'keep calm, there's still a long way to go' and it worked out in the end.'

The ruthless display ensured Liverpool conceded five goals in a European game at Anfield for the first time ever while it was just third time this century they have shipped five or more goals in a home game in all competitions.

That is six defeats from the last seven clashes with Real, including in the 2018 and 2022 finals, with a second leg still to come for Jurgen Klopp's team whose season just cannot get off the ground.

'I told the boys directly after the game a defeat is a defeat if you don't learn from it,' Klopp said. 'If we allow this one game to be influential, we are really silly.

'Yes, we have to improve but we have to take the good things as well. We gave all five goals away. We could have done better there but they (Real) were obviously different.

'We go there and try to win the game. If that's possible or not, I don't know.'

Results

Tuesday

Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 5

Eintracht Frankfurt 0 Napoli 2

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Khaleej Times

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