Liverpool suffered a third straight defeat in the Champions League on Tuesday night, as they lost 1-0 to current holders Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers lined up with a weakened starting XI in the Spanish capital, leaving out captain Steven Gerrard and vice-skipper Jordan Henderson as well as Raheem Sterling and Mario Balotelli.
The only goal of the night came in the 27th minute from Karim Benzema – who scored two at Anfield a few weeks back – when he diverted Marcelo’s cross past Simon Mignolet to give his side the three points.
Simon Mignolet - 7.5
The Belgian shot-stopper must have felt like a fox being hunted throughout the 90 minutes. From the first to the final whistle, Mignolet had danger come his way from every angle and dealt with it fairly well.
He made two smart stops early in the game from Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez, keeping his side in the game and was helpless for Benzema’s strike.
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In the second half, he continued his good form, making several saves once again to ensure the game didn't finish in a cricket score.
Javier Manquillo - 6
The full-back performed well in patches. He was solid, strong in the tackle and helped out in attacks. Given he was up against Ronaldo, Isco and Marcelo, for such a young player he did okay and it will be a very good experience to build on.
However, the Spaniard was well out of position for Madrid’s goal – Marcelo was left with acres of space on the left-hand side which gave the Brazilian time to put across an inch perfect ball to Benzema.
Martin Skrtel - 6.5
The Slovakian looked more relaxed and worked very well with his fellow centre-back – something he hasn’t done enough this season. He made several tackles and blocks to keep Madrid out and although Mignolet did have to make saves, they were made easier due to the pressure from the 29-year-old.
There was one mistake Skrtel however that almost cost the Reds. In the first-half, his poor touch gave the ball away to Benzema, and Mignolet had to make a superb stop to deny Ronaldo.
Kolo Toure - 7.5
Making just his fourth appearance of the season, the former Arsenal man was very impressive. He used his Champions League experience wisely by positioning himself well to deal with the Madrid attack.
Toure made many a block as well as some smart dispossessions and tackles, and despite Dejan Lovren being rested for Saturday’s fixture against Chelsea, the Ivory Coast international has given leading claims to start the game against the Premier League leaders.
Alberto Moreno - 7
Moreno was up against Cristiano Ronaldo on the right-hand side, but he dealt with the threat of CR7 better than many thought he would. The 22-year-old was strong in the tackle and made it difficult for the Portuguese star to get past him.
He also gave Liverpool attacking option on the left, bombing down the wing and linking up well with Adam Lallana and Steven Gerrard when he came on.
However, Moreno struggled when Gareth Bale was introduced into the game and needlessly fouled the Welsh star in the closing stages in the game on the edge of the penalty area.
Lucas - 7
The Brazilian has been very much a forgotten man this season, but showed his defence duties still remain. He was given instructions to stay tight to Ronaldo and he did so for the most part, not giving the ex-Manchester United man any space.
However, Lucas looked unfit given the lack of game time he has had of late and struggled to keep up to speed when Madrid countered
Joe Allen - 5
There were times when the Welshman looked good; playing some neat touches and getting himself out of trouble well. Nonetheless, he did not impact the game all that much and was left chasing the ball for the most part.
Emre Can - 7
Can was one of few players who looked creative on the ball. He looked eager of start a Liverpool attack when in possession, hitting Fabio Borini early to start a quick move for his side. The German also looked very powerful when he didn’t have the ball, using his physical attributes to really get stuck into the Madrid midfield.
He unfortunately looked a little off the pace and needs to improve his fitness after tiring in the closing stages of the game.
Adam Lallana - 6
The England international looked to make things happen for his side when on the ball, and his quick feet and excellent ball control caused problems for the Madrid defence. He has a chance in the second half that went wide, but the way he rolled the ball past Sergio Ramos was impressive.
Nonetheless, his strength was lacking and was beaten off the ball too often by Ramos.
Lazar Markovic - 7
This was the first game I’ve been fairly impressed by the Serbian. He is blessed with blistering pace and showed that down the right-hand side when on the attack.
He unfortunately found Raphael Varane too much at times, who was outstanding, but on another day up against a less capable defender, Markovic would have had a lot more success.
Fabio Borini - 6
The Italian showed his usual energy but was isolated for the most part of the game up-front on his own. Borini showed a couple of nice touches and when played in early by Can, he asked the Madrid defence questions.
Steven Gerrard - 6.5
The Liverpool skipper attempted to get into the game hitting long passes to Moreno on the left-hand side and almost had success. However, he didn’t have enough time to really make an impact on the game.
Raheem Sterling - 6.5
Sterling came on and put in a shift for his side. He was up and down the right-hand side but his service was limited and caused him to wander into the middle. The 19-year-old contributed defensively, dispossessing Ronaldo expertly on two occasions when the Madrid star was in fifth gear.
Philippe Coutinho - 5
Little time to impact, but his trickery did give Madrid a few minor problems.
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