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Vinicius Jr. inspires impressive Real Madrid to victory

Vinicius Jr. inspires impressive Real Madrid to victory

A brace from the Vinicius Junior and a Marco Asensio strike puts Real Madrid in the driving seat ahead of next Wednesday’s return leg at Anfield, where the team will bid to clinch a semi-final spot.

Much of the damage was done in the first half through Vinicius Junior’s low drive after he had chested down a superb long pass from Toni Kroos and a Marco Asensio’s close-range finish following a defensive mistake from Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Liverpool came out fighting after the break, pulling a goal back through Salah’s finish off the crossbar to spark their best 20-minute spell of the contest.

But they were stung when Vinicius found the net via a first-time shot following a fine attacking move with 25 minutes to go, leaving them with a mountain to climb in the return leg at an empty Anfield on 14 April.

“If you want to go to the semi-final, you have to earn the right to do so,” Klopp told BT Sport. “We didn’t do that tonight, especially in the first half.

“We just didn’t play good enough football to cause Real Madrid more problems. We made it too easy for them.

“The only good thing I can say, apart from the goal, is it’s only the first half of the tie. We didn’t deserve a lot more but that one goal and the second half was OK. It gives us a lifeline.”

 

Real with superb record after winning first leg

  • Real have progressed from 15 of their last 16 Champions League knockout matches after winning the opening leg, only failing to do so against Ajax in the 2018-19 Last 16.
  • Only teams from Spain (14) have progressed from more Champions League knockout ties after losing the first leg than sides from England (12), with Liverpool the most recent English club to do so, against Barcelona in the 2018-19 semi-finals.
  • In all European competitions, no side has beaten Liverpool more often than Real (4, level with Benfica), with the Reds suffering defeat in each of the last four encounters with Los Blancos.
  • Salah has now scored 27 goals this season, four more than he managed last season, whilst equalling his tally from 2018-19 – only in 2017-18 (44) did he score more for Liverpool in a single campaign.
  • Benzema has now appeared in 108 Champions League matches for Real – the outright most by a non-Spaniard, with only Ramos (128), Raul (130) and Iker Casillas (150) playing more for the club in the competition.
  • Only Kylian Mbappe in April 2017 (18y 113d v Borussia Dortmund) has scored a Champions League brace at the quarter-final stage (or later) at a younger age than Real Madrid’s Vinicius (20y 268d).
  • Asensio has scored in four straight matches for Real in all competitions, managing as many goals over this period as he did across his previous 41 matches (4).
  • Real boss Zidane took charge of his 50th game in the Champions League, with this his 31st victory in the competition. Indeed, only Josef Heynckes (32) won more of his first 50 managerial games in the competition than the Frenchman.

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