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'No sign of Premier-powered team' - Spanish verdict on Liverpool loss

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Liverpool have it all to do if they are to progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League after their dismal defeat to Real Madrid on Tuesday night.

A 3-1 loss in the Spanish capital leaves Jurgen Klopp’s side needing to overturn a two-goal deficit when they meet at Anfield next week.



The Reds have been in a similar situation before, of course, with a three-goal margin needing to be overturned against Barcelona in 2019, but they at least had the fans inside Anfield to give them a welcome boost.



As you can imagine, the newspapers in Spain have been enjoying themselves after Madrid’s win over Liverpool.



Here’s a selection of what they’ve been saying.

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Marca

“Vinicius produced his finest performance in a Real Madrid shirt with a pair of goals to lead Los Blancos to a 3-1 victory against Liverpool in the first leg of the 2020/21 Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday night at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.

“The Brazilian's two goals sandwiched a strike from Marco Asensio in what was a largely commanding performance from the home side. Nevertheless, a strong spell early in the second half yielded a precious away goal for Liverpool from Mohamed Salah and gives the Premier League side plenty of hope going into next week's return leg at Anfield.

“With Sergio Ramos out injured and Raphael Varane unavailable due to COVID, coach Zinedine Zidane was forced into some defensive adjustments and settled on a four-man back-line instead of three centre-backs, with Lucas Vazquez and Ferland Mendy as full-backs and Eder Militao and Nacho as centre-backs. Meanwhile, in attack, Vinicius was selected to join the in-form Asensio and centre-forward Karim Benzema.

“As for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, Thiago Alcantara was a surprising omission in midfield, as Naby Keita got the nod from the German.

“The tempo and shape of the start favoured Madrid and after a few early jabs, they landed a haymaker with Toni Kroos hoofing up a pass upfield that Vinicius did extremely well to control with his chest and split two Liverpool defenders before finishing past Alisson for a 1-0 lead.

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“Kroos would be the mastermind of the second Madrid goal, with another long ball played by the German midfielder that Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold errantly headed into the path of Asensio, who took a touch to chip over Alisson before polishing off the play from a yard out to make it 2-0.

“The Liverpool defence were completely out of sorts and Ozan Kabak could not have gift-wrapped a better chance for Asensio with an extremely poor back-pass, only for Alisson to bail out his full-back with a deflection that sent Asensio's shot wide.

“Klopp couldn't stand it any longer and three minutes before half-time, he made his first change, bringing on Thiago for Keita to try to get some control in midfield. It provided a lift for the English visitors and minutes after the re-start, Salah cut the Madrid lead down to 2-1 by taking a pass from Diogo Jota and beating goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to snag a precious away goal.

“But back game Madrid and some slick passing from Luka Modric and an even sharper right-footed finish from Vinicius in front of a Liverpool defender restored Real's two-goal advantage at 3-1.

“Zidane added some muscle in midfield with the two-goal advantage, with Fede Valverde on for Asensio as the first substitution of the night, followed later by Rodrygo for Vinicius.

“From there, Madrid saw out the final minutes camped out in their own half to ensure the two-goal advantage stayed intact going into next Wednesday's second leg in Liverpool.”

AS

“Zinedine Zidane's tactic was clear: get the ball to Kroos, and he'll pick Liverpool apart. And he did. Every time the Germany star pivoted in midfield, every time Liverpool's central threesome so inexplicably dropped away, his passing lines painted the pitch like a canvas.

“As the long deliveries towards Ferland Mendy and Vinicius down the Madrid left mounted, so did the uncertainty in the Liverpool defence. Trent Alexander-Arnold faced runners before him and the ball overhead, and he never seemed quite sure which one to deal with. When Kroos was again gifted time to lift his head and curl another pass towards the right-back, panic took over; his attempted header back to Alisson was gratefully pounced on by Marco Asensio.

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“That one didn't look a particularly complex pass. Very often, they don't. Therein lies the magic of Kroos: taking the art of the playmaker and making it mundane. There is such swaggering simplicity to his play that it sometimes looks the easiest thing in the world, yet few can match it, and fewer can stop it.

“He ended the contest with 68 of 75 passes completed, with 90.7 per cent accuracy, the highest figures in the match by a Madrid player. Forty-four of those passes were made in the Liverpool half. Four of them created goalscoring chances, twice as many as any other player.”

Mundo Deportivo

“For the goals and plays of the repertoire that he brought out tonight, who will take the covers will be Vinicius. And many of them will be deserved.

“But whoever gets stuck in a stellar performance by the Brazilian to explain Madrid's resounding victory over Liverpool , will fall into the error. He will, yes, like everyone who thought before the fight that the blows were going to be more distributed. It was not so.

“The Liverpool, perfect machine once great German design, showed its farthest version of herself.

“No sign of that Premier-powered team that arrived in Madrid after overcoming a major crisis.

“Not even the most Madridistas expected to see their team so superior. And even more so with the list of casualties that he brought, to which the positive for Covid-19 of Rapahel Varane was added at the last minute . But it was.”

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