There are times that Madrid does not seem Real. The most amazing team in history never ceases to amaze. What happened in Liverpool left Chamartín’s universal comebacks almost a joke. The classic aphorism is no longer enough: it’s Real Madrid, stupid. At Anfield, which is not the opera, he was flogged after a quarter of an hour. But it is Madrid, capable of withstanding the first downpour, tempering the game and then crushing their famous rival, whom they overwhelmed in the second act. Tremendous.
Alisson, Virgil Van Dijk, A. Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez (Matip, min. 73), Stefan Bajcetic, Fabinho, Henderson (Milner, min. 73), Salah, Gakpo (Roberto Firmino, min. 63) and Darwin Núñez (Diogo Jota, min. 63)
Courtois, Eder Militao, Alaba (Nacho, min. 27), Dani Carvajal, Rüdiger, Federico Valverde, Modric (Kroos, min. 86), Camavinga, Benzema (Marco Asensio, min. 86), Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo (Dani Ceballos , min 80)
goals 1-0 min. 3: Darwin Nunez. 2-0 min. 14: Salah. 2-1 min. 20: Vinicius Junior. 2-2 min. 35: Vinicius Junior. 2-3 min. 47: Eder Militao. 2-4 min. 55: Benzema. 2-5 min. 66: Benzema.
Referee István Kovács
Yellow cards Vinicius Junior (min. 60) and Harvey Elliot (min. 92)
In the Anfield temple, the best possible tribute to Amancio, honored by Liverpool, with the totemic Dalglish in front. Total football, because in a game of successes and blunders there were both parties. From the outset, both teams had turns in a fast-paced and emotional duel until the white storm broke out. Until then, a lot of plot, a lot of unforeseen. No trifles.
Initially, a couple of couples as main actors. On the two lanes on one side, Salah and Vinicius, the main emblems of madridistas and networks. The noise, in the goals. This devilish game has such sudden moments that, suddenly, two goalkeepers became paticojos.
The Klopp group began at full speed, to which the waves go. At the first Núñez holed. It was not a goal, but a chest do. It seemed impossible to improve Salah’s pass with the square and bevel, but the Uruguayan, who is not exactly Zidane, gave himself a magnificent spur.
The soundtrack of the right wing goes to Liverpool, where Alexander-Arnold refines, a winger with a winger’s soul and interior lights. And where he rows and rows Henderson, Salah’s escort, who has an eye, speed and dribbling. A bit of everything. Alaba suffered along this route and Modric had a hard time with aid. Fabinho and Bajcetic, the promising cadet from Vigo, covered the entire axis. Salah missed a goal due to a nail and Courtois scored a Karius after a quarter of an hour. After a not-so-fine transfer from Carvajal, the ball curled up for the Belgian, bounced off his right knee and fell at the feet of the Egyptian winger with the goal wide open. The hero of Paris embarrassed against Liverpool nine months later. In the preceding play, Henderson and Camavinga slipped. Like so many others before and after, because, who knows the cause, it seemed that the footballers had put on skates, not boots.
With the 2-0 win in the blink of an eye, the match forced Madrid to be the Madrid, the one with the European fetish. Another would have collapsed at Anfield. The Real, to his. In other words, to be the Real.
With Salah plethoric, the challenge lacked the irruption of Vinicius. And he did not delay. Ancelotti’s team was still troubled, without governance in the middle and off Rodrygo’s radar —more effortful in defense than thriving in attack—, when Vinicius emerged. His repertoire is infinite. This time, a great goal without the need to dribble, to sprint. In static, inside the area, where wolves abound, he took a bent lash, impossible for his compatriot Alisson. A fencer match: Vinicius against Salah, whose bailiff was changed, with Nacho for the injured Alaba.
Another adventure by the African pushed Carvajal and Militão to the limit, who twice swept the ball under the crossbar. Liverpool pressed, always on the right, and Vinicius replied. The boy has so much faith that he did not give up on a loan from Gomez to Alisson. The goalkeeper made a Courtois and his clearance crashed into Vinicius when he was already on his back. Tracas in both goals. Madrid, so capable of playing many games, through thick, thin and regular, reborn for the umpteenth time. And he still had reel left. Alisson redeemed himself with a stupendous stretch before another unlucky shot from Vinicius and Valverde went to the third stands with a free shot for him. Robertson avoided just before the intermission a bit from Rodrygo. Of course, a play by Vinicius.
The second act featured a stampeding Royal. Modric, a boy, took the game by the chest, Valverde opened the fuse and Liverpool, the worst Liverpool of the night, put their own. Immediately, with the defense in the zone, all the locals became slices at the launch of a free kick from Modric. Militão entered the header like a convoy. Just after a very possible penalty for a push from Carvajal to Núñez, Benzema showed up. His shot was involuntarily deflected by Gomez (2-4) and, as the goal was not very Versaillesque, which the white captain is, left another to frame. Modric, the youthful Modric, made a move in the middle. Vinicius assisted the French forward and he left Alisson on the ground and put the play in parentheses before giving a pass to the net in front of a squad of rivals. Sewing and singing for Madrid, which was already dancing to its rival, now without a trace of Salah or anyone else. Unless Liverpool is Madrid in Chamartín, the rooms are white.
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