Player Ratings: Liverpool vs Real Madrid

Liverpool FC v Real Madrid CF - UEFA Champions LeagueReal Madrid put in an outstanding performance to beat Liverpool 3-0 in their own backyard last night in the Champions League.

Liverpool started fairly brightly but failed to make that show, and were consequently punished by Carlo Ancelotti’s men.

Cristiano Ronaldo gave the visitors the lead with an exquisite finish after being played in by a delightful scooped pass from James Rodriquez.

From then until half time Real completely dominated proceedings. Karim Benzema helped himself to a double, with a looping header and a tap-in after a scramble in the six yard box.

Real went into the break 3-0 to the good, and that was how it stayed until the final whistle, with the defending champions seeing the game out expertly.

Read how the players rated on a comfortable night at Anfield for the champions of Europe.

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Liverpool vs. Real Madrid: Balotelli’s Decision-Making Halts Fast Reds Start

By , World Football Tactics Lead Writer Oct 23, 2014

Liverpool vs. Real Madrid: Balotelli's Decision-Making Halts Fast Reds Start

Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Real Madrid destroyed Liverpool 3-0 on Wednesday, surviving a quick start from the Reds and coasting to victory on the back of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema goals.

It served as a valuable yardstick to Brendan Rodgers for a number of reasons, but the match ended shrouded in controversy as the Mario Balotelli circus act took over.

Formations and XIs


Liverpool began in a loose midfield diamond, with Raheem Sterling up top with Balotelli. Philippe Coutinho played at the point, Steven Gerrard at the base and Alberto Moreno came in for Jose Enrique.

Real Madrid played the same 4-4-2 used against Levante at the weekend, with Ronaldo central and James Rodriguez right. Raphael Varane came in for Nacho and Alvaro Arbeloa faced his former club.

Relentless Liverpool Early

Liverpool, starting in a loose diamond with Sterling up front, began ferociously and didn’t give Real Madrid a minute’s rest. High-energy pressing was the name of the game, forcing Toni Kroos and Co. into rare mistakes and errors.

Philippe Coutinho, playing as a No. 10, linked play fairly well to the forward line, but the Reds found most success running the ball through midfield and feeding the strikers directly.

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Ranking and Grading Liverpool Players on Champions League Performances so Far

By , Featured Columnist Oct 23, 2014

Ranking and Grading Liverpool Players on Champions League Performances so Far

Jon Super/Associated Press

With three points from three games, the same as Ludogorets and Basel and six behind runaway leaders Real Madrid, it’s safe to say that Liverpool’s return to Europe’s elite club competition hasn’t gone the way many had hoped or expected.

Indeed, their win over Ludogorets—the Bulgarian team making their first appearance in the Champions League group stage—was secured in stoppage time following a stuttering display. Basel represented a difficult away trip before Real Madrid handed the Reds a footballing lesson at Anfield on Matchday 3.

With three games left for Brendan Rodgers’ side to secure progress to the knockout stages, let’s look at how the Liverpool players have performed in the Champions League thus far. Here’s our attempt and ranking and grading all 20 Reds to have appeared in Europe this season.

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What has gone wrong with the Liverpool FC defence – and how can the Reds fix it?

Oct 23, 2014 11:59

The Reds have spent nearly £100m on defenders in five years and are projected to concede 57 league goals this season. We look at what’s gone wrong in the Reds back five

Liverpool dejected after Real Madrid score

A defeat against the champions of Europe is nothing to be ashamed of. But for Liverpool FC, to concede defeat in such a manner is frustrating and embittering.

Increasingly, there appears to be no case for the defence. Cristiano Ronaldo’s strike was magnificent, but Karim Benzema’s double were simply gifts from the Reds defence.

The three goals against Real Madrid took their goals conceded tally to 19 in 12 games. They have kept just two clean sheets in 21 games – both against Tottenham – and average 1.27 goals conceded per game under Brendan Rodgers.

What the manager has achieved at Anfield has been well-document and rightfully commended – but the defence is undoubtedly a problem, and one which has persisted throughout his reign.

There are plenty of questions being asked of the defence. Here they are.

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Jordan Henderson on Real defeat, Ronaldo, Champions League chances and Balotelli shirt swap

Oct 23, 2014

Liverpool vice-captain Jordan Henderson admits the lesson they were taught by Real Madrid shows just how much they have to improve to compete with Europe’s elite.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 22, 2014: Liverpool's Jordan Henderson in action against Real Madrid CF during the UEFA Champions League Group B match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A 3-0 defeat – with all the goals coming in an 18-minute first-half spell after the visitors had weathered the early storm – hardly told the full story. The defending champions, with one eye on Saturday’s El Clasico at home to Barcelona, took their foot off the gas after the break which did Liverpool a favour but still could have added to their tally.

“This Real Madrid team is top class with the best players in the world but that’s who you want to be playing against and testing yourself, always trying to improve ourselves as a team,” said the England midfielder.

“That’s where we want to get to – to be a top team like Madrid playing at the highest level and I think we can do that.

“The first 20 minutes I felt as though we had a right good go and got in behind them a couple of times. We had a couple of half-chances to get a goal and then you never know but we just need to be a bit more ruthless in the final third.

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Real Madrid Transfer News: Raheem Sterling Display Impressed Carlo Ancelotti

By , Featured Columnist Oct 23, 2014

Real Madrid Transfer News: Raheem Sterling Display Impressed Carlo Ancelotti

Jon Super/Associated Press

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has admitted he was “impressed” with Raheem Sterling‘s performance during Los Blancos‘ 3-0 Champions League victory over Liverpool on Wednesday night.

The European champions have consistently been linked with a move for the English forward across recent weeks, reported by Nick Miller of The Guardian. The 19-year-old posted an energetic 90 minutes—despite Liverpool conceding three goals before half-time—switching from the flank to a central role after the break.

Ancelotti noted the performance as a Liverpool standout, while also praising the under-fire Mario Balotelli, reported by Madrid’s official website:

I think that at the start the roles played by Sterling and Balotelli created danger for us. I really liked Sterling’s play between the lines and he impressed me. After we scored three goals they became a bit frustrated and their mentality was affected. Their heads dropped a little bit.

Jon Super/Associated Press

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Sterling certainly appeared the most alert Reds threat during a difficult match for the Premier League side. Aside from Steven Gerrard, he was the only Liverpool player to have a shot on target, per Philippe Coutinho and Isco completed one more dribble than Sterling to set a match high of five, while Alberto Moreno was the only home star to execute a greater amount of key passes.

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Free at 2pm: Rodgers’ Hull City preview

23rd Oct 2014 – Latest News

Free at 2pm: Rodgers' Hull City preview

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