Real Madrid deservedly won the quarterfinal first leg 3:1 (2:0) and already have one foot in the final four, partly thanks to Toni Kroos.
The duel was the first between the two top clubs since the memorable final in 2018 when Sergio Ramos had fouled Liverpool star Salah, and Reds goalkeeper Loris Karius had fluffed twice.
This time Ramos was missing because of an injury. Raphael Varan, the second central defender, tested positive for the coronavirus and could also not play. Before kickoff, Klopp said, “Real is the favourite, and we feel good in the underdog role,” Watching the game in the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, it did not appear at all that Liverpool’s player felt good at all. Real give them barely anytime to breathe.
After receiving passes from Kroos, Vinicius Junior and Marco Asensio each scored a goal. Klopp and his team need a minor miracle in the second leg in Liverpool next Wednesday to keep their last realistic title chance of the season alive.
Regardless of Varan’s absence, Real’s defence with Eder Militao looked stable. A pass from Kroos from his own half right into the run of Vinicius initiated the lead. The Brazilian skillfully took the ball and scored from 15 meters into the left corner. A little later, Trent Alexander-Arnold tried to head another long ball from Kroos to goalkeeper Alisson, but Asensio sprinted in and lifted the ball into the empty net.
In the second half, the picture changed. Salah hit the net with a pike, then Liverpool even came close to an equalizer. But then Vinicius struck a second time and secured the win for Real.