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Reds Column I

Champions League 2020-21 Summary: Liverpool vs Real Madrid CF

Liverpool Fc (The Reds) were knocked out of the Champions League 2020-21 Competition by the visitors Real Madrid CF, after being held to a 0-0 draw in the Second Leg of the Champions League 2020-21 Quarter-final.

Prior to the game, Jürgen Klopp opted make just one alteration to the side that was deployed for the Aston Villa Fc Premier League home fixture.

In place of Diogo Jota, Sadio Mané started as the Senegalese was lined-up alongside Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah as part of the Front 3.

With the need to score early Goals, the Reds started well but were unable to find the back of the net and some of the shots were denied by Thibaut Courtois.

The Reds were given an almighty scare by Karim Benzema after outwitting Nathaniel Phillips as the Frenchman shot struck the bar in the 23rd minute.

Later, Andrew Robertson was show the Yellow Card for retaliating at Casemiro after the Brazilian lunged on Milner in the 24th minute.

Despite playing well but the Reds (particularly Firmino) were poor in passing and pressing in the final third.

The First Half ended with the scoreline stranded on 0-0 despite numerous clear-cut chances for the Reds to score.

The visitors will thank the heavens as the Reds that turned up today were just wasteful and poor in finishing.

Klopp had to make necessary changes to bring on Thiago Alcântara and Diogo Jota during the Second Half for any hopes to score Goals as well as put pressure on the visitors.

After the Second Half began, the Reds continued their intensity in search of Goals.

Nathaniel Phillips was later shown the Yellow Card for this challenge on Casemiro in the 59th minute.

Klopp made the crucial double substitutions as Jota and Thiago were brought on in place of Ozan Kabak and James Milner in the 60th minute.

This tactical change meant that Fabinho moved back to the Centre Back Position as the Reds switched to 4-2-3-1 Formation.

Alisson made an excellent save as the Brazilian was alert to make double saves to deny Vinícius Júnior and Benzema simulatenously in the 66th minute.

With less than 12 minutes remaining, the Reds were need to find a Goal soon and the visitors resorted to time-wasting tactics.

The Visitors rearguard however looked strong during the Second Half and this time left Jota frustrated as the Portugese had his shot blocked by the visitors Defenders after an assist from Robertson in the 70th minute.

Klopp made his final substitutions to bring on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Xherdan Shaqiri in place of Firmino and Mané in the 82nd minute.

The visitors stood their ground and defended astutely to deny the Reds of any chances to score as the game ended at 0-0.

In this kind of competition especially against a quality opponent like Real Madrid CF, the Reds were culpable of missing their Goal Scoring chances and as such, paid a heavy price!

To put things in perspective; it’s a bigger shame for the Reds as the visitors had many Key Players missing (including Sergio Ramos) and yet the Reds could not conjure even one Goal!

Now the only route back to the Champions League next Season is to secure a Top-four finish in the Premier League!

 

Reds Team Performance Ratings

Liverpool (4-3-3 Formation)

Defence:

Alisson Becker – 7: Hardly been involved but was calm and composed especially produced double saves during the Second Half to keep the Reds in the hunt.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7: Whipped in brilliant deliveries but the Reds were poor in finishing. The young Englishman also defended well when needed.

Ozan Kabak – 6:  Won his Ariel Duels and prevented the counter attacks from Real Madrid CF.

Nathaniel Phillips – 6: Looked strong in the air but got caught out by Benzema in the First Half. Picked up a Yellow Card during the Second Half.

Andrew Robertson – 7: The Spaniards found his intensity to hot to handle and looked threatening going forward. Was shown the Yellow Card during the First Half.

Midfield:

Georginio Wijnaldum – 5: Missed his chance to score during the First Half and looked energetic. However, his performance jaded as the game went on.

Fabinho – 7: Looked far more disciplined thereby allowing the Reds to dominate. Made crucial interceptions and timed his tackles well. Moved back to Centre Back position during the Second Half.

James Milner – 6: Had a curled effort saved. Timed his challenges well (particularly the one on Benzema during the First Half). Got subbed during the Second Half.

Forwards:

Sadio Mané – 5: Worked hard, created chances and but his contribution in the final third was not good enough despite being a nightmare for Federico Valverde.

Roberto Firmino – 4: Very poor in the final third with mistimed passes and poor finishing. Did not make much impact in the game either.

Mohamed Salah – 6: Should have scored during the First Half as that miss set the tone for the rest of the game. Looked constantly threatening with pace and direct running that made the visitors defence sweat.

Substitutes:

Thiago Alcântara – 6: Brought on to provide creativity in the midfield. Perhaps the Spaniard should have been in the Starting XI.

Diogo Jota – 6: Part of the double substitution along with Thiago. Looked threatening going forward but was constantly left frustrated by the visitors’ defences.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – N/A: Not enough time to make an impact!

Xherdan Shaqiri – N/A: Same as Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Coach:

Jürgen Klopp – 5: The last chance to win a Silverware this Season was already gone when the Reds were beaten by Real Madrid CF in the First Leg of the Champions League 2020-21 Quarter-final.

With so much at stake and too much to lose, the German Coach was too circumspect to leave Jota and Thiago on the bench as Klopp opted for naming ineffective Mané and out of form Firmino in the Starting XI!

In a Season marred with VAR controversies and too many untimely injuries, the Reds poor finishing has been a letdown throughout!

 

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