Liverpool – Real Madrid: Los Blancos Batten Down The Hatches As Liverpool Fire A Blank (0-0)
Liverpool and Real Madrid swapped personas for this encounter, as the English side performed up to their usual standards while the Spaniards failed to truly impact the game. With fatigue leading to forgettable performances from Luka Modrić and Toni Kroos, it was Nacho and Eder Militão who shone for the away side, ably defending their box against Liverpool’s furious, but ultimately fruitless, onslaught.
Tactical analysis and match report by Manasvin Andra.
Following a first leg where Liverpool’s execution never quite matched their plan, the encounter at Anfield was poised to be another battle between Jürgen Klopp’s system and Zinedine Zidane’s match-specific tweaks. As has become the theme this season, the stakes were high for the home side, with their position in the Premier League table requiring at least a deep run in this edition of the Champions League.
After the decision to deploy Naby Keita in the first leg backfired spectacularly, speculation was rife over how Klopp would approach a game against such cunning opponents. It turned out that his answer lay in trusting the old guard, with James Milner and Roberto Firmino replacing Thiago and Diogo Jota respectively. While the decision to drop Thiago was a surprise, it could reasonably be surmised as an attempt to protect both fullbacks from the penetration offered by the Madrid wingers. Additionally, Firmino’s inclusion guaranteed a link player as well as a consistent . . .