Wednesday, March 15, 2023 at 10:54 PM• Rian Rosendaal

Real Madrid are quarter-finalists in the Champions League. The winner of the 2022 edition hardly got into trouble on Wednesday evening against Liverpool, which had to swallow a 2-5 defeat at Anfield three weeks ago and lost 1-0 at the Santiago Bernabéu. Karim Benzema, who was injured in the goal, signed for the win in the final phase. Virgil van Dijk and Cody Gakpo were also unable to make a difference with the visitors from England. Real are now waiting for the draw for the quarterfinals on Friday at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon.

Ancelotti had to face Liverpool without David Alaba and Ferland Mendy, while Karim Benzema was not underarm either. The Frenchman had to miss the duel with Espanyol (3-1 win) last Saturday due to ankle problems, but was able to start midweek. Furthermore, the trusted names were present at the cup holder. In contrast to last weekend’s game against Bournemouth (1-0 defeat), Jürgen Klopp opted for two new names to kick off. Harvey Elliott and Stefan Bajcetic had been driven to the reserve bench. James Milner and Diogo Jota played for them. Gakpo usually operated from midfield, while Darwin Núñez and Mohamed Salah formed the vanguard together with Jota. Virgil van Dijk started as usual as center defender.

Liverpool issued a warning in the early stages after good preparation by Salah, but Núñez’s shot failed to disturb Thibaut Courtois. On the other hand, Allison Becker kept his side going with a great save from a close range bet by Vinícius Júnior. The game went up and down, with Jota failing in a promising position with a volley and Eduardo Camavinga seeing a hard long shot hit the crossbar. Shortly afterwards, a hard bang from Luka Modric hit the crossbar. In the final phase of the entertaining first half, Courtois made a skilful save on bets by Núñez and Gakpo. So no problem for Real Madrid halfway through.

The belief in a stunt ebbed away at Liverpool and Real Madrid took control after the break. Ten minutes after the restart, Federico Valverde had a chance, but was stopped by the alert Alisson. The home club also failed to score when Benzema was narrowly stopped by Trent Alexander-Arnold. Valverde also failed to score with the head from a measured cross from the bustling Modric. Benzema shot high in the box more than twenty minutes before time. Real Madrid remained the dominant party in the final phase and still managed to win. Vinícius missed from close range and under pressure from Van Dijk, but Benzema did hit when the ball came at his feet. The striker walked away cheering, although it soon became clear that he had been injured. Benzema underwent brief treatment and was substituted as a precaution, although it is unclear how fit he is ahead of Sunday’s away game against Barcelona.