Real Madrid – Liverpool: Vinícius Double Douses Resurgent Liverpool (3-1)

This was a game that was shaping up to be a story of two halves, but Vinícius Júnior ensured that Real Madrid would take the headlines when the dust had settled. After a first half where Liverpool’s execution had allowed Madrid to cut them open, Jürgen Klopp’s side opened the second half with some sequences, but ultimately came undone at the hands of a transcendent performance from Madrid’s star winger.
Tactical analysis and match report by Manasvin Andra.

Revenge seems to be the theme of the quarter-finals of this year’s Champions League, and the football gods gave the world a fascinating replay of the 2019 final played in Kiev. Though both teams are much changed since that night, the tie retained its edge, with Jürgen Klopp facing the challenge of overhauling his side to face the varied tactical patterns of Zinedine Zidane’s charges.

Intrigue surrounded the opening line-ups, with Raphaël Varane ruled out just hours before the match after testing positive for covid-19. In his absence, the prevailing thought was that Zidane would adopt the 3-5-2 shape seen against Eibar, but the Frenchman threw a curveball by setting out his side in their usual 4-3-3 formation. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was protected by a defense of Ferland Mendy, Éder Militão, Nacho and Lucas Vázquez, with Casemiro, Luka Modrić and Toni Kroos forming the midfield trio. Karim Benzema led the line, flanked by wingers Vinicius and Marco Asensio.

With Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak finally lending some stability to Liverpool’s defense, pre-match speculation focused on how they would overcome the incredible quality of Real Madrid’s midfield . . .

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