Real Madrid complete stunning turnaround to beat Liverpool 5-2 at Anfield

Real Madrid complete stunning turnaround to beat Liverpool 5-2 at Anfield

It was another European night for the ages under the lights at Anfield as Real Madrid produced a miraculous comeback against Liverpool in the first leg of their round of 16 Champions League encounter. Los Blancos rallied from 2-0 down in the opening 15 minutes to script a stunning turnaround, winning the tie 5-2 thanks to a pair of braces from Vinicius Jr and Karim Benzema on either side of half-time.

Real Madrid had got the better of Liverpool in each of their last three meetings, including the 2022 Champions League final in Paris, but it was the home side that took the early advantage at Anfield. The Reds came out flying from the blocks and grabbed an early lead inside five minutes thanks to an incredible finish from Darwin Nunez, the Uruguayan flicking in Mohamed Salah’s cross to put Liverpool 1-0 in front.

The Egyptian winger doubled Liverpool’s lead 10 minutes later following a cataclysmic blunder from Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. The Belgian failed to control a Dani Carvajal backpass, allowing Mohamed Salah to pounce and double Liverpool’s advantage from close-range.

The 14-time European champions remained unfazed by the 2-0 scoreline and showed their experience in big matches as they fought back to draw level before half-time. Vinicius Jr halved the deficit with a phenomenal, curled strike into the bottom corner before adding a second minutes later due to another goalkeeping error. Alisson launched his pass straight onto the foot of Vinicius, leaving the Liverpool shot-stopper helpless as the ball looped into the back of the net to make it 2-2.

Real Madrid found a second wind after the break to take control of the tie, while the defensive mistakes began to pile up for the hosts. Eder Militao put the European champions in front with an unmarked header from a Luka Modric set-piece in the 47th minute before a Karim Benzema double put the game to bed.

The Frenchman scored Madrid’s fourth thanks to a kind deflection off Joe Gomez that wrong-footed Alisson. The striker also completed a brace of his own in the 67th minute following a devastating counter from the visitors. Benzema nonchalantly cut past Alisson and passed the ball into the unguarded net to put Real Madrid 5-2 in front.

Liverpool’s second-half capitulation leaves them with a mountain to climb in the second leg in Madrid in March, with Los Blancos the heavy favourites to make the quarter-finals and continue their defence of the Champions League title.