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Vinicius Junior proves he belongs on the grandest stage against Liverpool

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When news of Eden Hazard's omission from the Real Madrid squad to face Liverpool on Tuesday night filtered through to Jurgen Klopp, you'd have forgiven the German tactician for allowing himself a wry smile.

Well, we say 'wry smile', one of 90min's Liverpool moles actually sent us this clip of him shortly after he was told...

Instead, the Reds' fragile backline would be tasked with shackling Vinicius Junior, a seemingly far more attractive proposition given the youngster's inability to produce when Real need him most.

He was up against an occasionally shambolic Liverpool defence and a right-back whose defensive ability has been called into question with regularity of late.

On one of football's grandest stages and in the eerie setting of an empty Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, Zidane needed one of his big-name players to step up and drag his side towards the Champions League semi-final.

And it's not just the current campaign in which he's flattered to deceive.

Hazard's injury woes have meant Vinicius has been a mainstay in Zinedine Zidane's side this season, yet of the 68 goals Real had mustered in all competitions throughout the 2020/21 campaign, the Brazilian had contributed just four.
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