Shocking Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool Defense Punished By Real Madrid In First Leg Hammering

Vinícius Júnior scored twice as Real Madrid looked strong in a 3-1 first-leg victory.

Real Madrid is not Arsenal. That much was evident as Liverpool’s win over the latter on Saturday looked far in the rear-view mirror following a defeat to the former in the Champions League on Tuesday. 

In a rare meeting of two of the Champions League’s most successful clubs, Real Madrid looked the far better side in securing a 3-1 win in the first leg of the quarterfinal on Tuesday at the Alfredo di Stéfano Stadium. Liverpool will take an away goal back to Anfield for next week’s return leg, but the Reds never reached the levels they reached in an impressive 3-0 win over Arsenal on Saturday. 

Neither Liverpool nor Real Madrid were anywhere near full strength — Los Blancos have the little matter of El Clásico on Saturday — but the home side bossed the match. Aside from a 15-minute spell to start the second half, Liverpool never really looked capable of snatching an away draw, let alone a win. 

Diogo Jota, who punished Arsenal on the weekend, struggled to make an impact against a makeshift Real back line missing both starting center backs. (Yes, I know Liverpool has been missing pretty much every single one of its center backs this year as well.)

Real Madrid vs Liverpool First Leg Highlights

The Merengues struck first within the first half hour thanks to the superb passing range of Toni Kroos. The German World Cup winner picked out a streaking Vinícius Júnior, who chested the ball down in stride to cruise past Nathaniel Phillips and Trent Alexander-Arnold before firing past Alisson. 

The skill from Real’s attackers was incredible, but you have to feel that a Virgil van Dijk would’ve halted Vinícius from making a play on the ball in the first place. 

After playing so well against Arsenal in response to being left off the England squad over the recent international break, Alexander-Arnold was again guilty on Real’s second. This time he directly assisted Marco Asensio, who unfortunately for TAA plays for the other team. The Spaniard has a habit of scoring golazos, but this was as easy as they come in the Champions League.

You know it’s bad when the CBS Twitter account is mocking you instead of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Jürgen Klopp must’ve said something to motivate his charges at halftime because Liverpool came out roaring in the second half. Mohamed Salah scored a vital away goal after the ball fortunately bounced to him from a scuffed Jota shot. 

For a while it looked like the Reds might pull even and salvage a draw. But you can’t make a comeback if you can’t keep the other side from scoring, as Real did in the 65th minute, with Vini Jr. grabbing his second goal to reclaim momentum.

Coincidentally, seconds before Luka Modrić set up Vini’s second, Kevin de Bruyne set up Phil Foden with a similar opportunity in the other match, but the Manchester City midfielder couldn’t beat Marwin Hitz. It nearly proved costly as Borussia Dortmund scored a late equalizer, but Foden atoned and scored a later winner as Man City claimed a 2-1 victory.

Down 3-1, Liverpool tried to pile on the pressure late seeking to reduce Madrid’s advantage. Real’s backline held firm and Zinedine Zidane’s team moved a step closer to the semifinals. Klopp and Co., meanwhile, will need another magical night at Anfield to overturn this score line on April 14.