Liverpool’s frailties were brutally exposed against a dominant and clinical Real Madrid last night on Matchday 3 of the Champions League. Anfield fans were jubilant and fervent in their rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone at the start of the match and this spurred a great opening 20 minute display by the home team.
Despite all the early pressure though, Liverpool were wasteful in the final third and their negligence in front of goal exposed them defensively when Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up and effortlessly flicked a James Rodrigues' through ball past Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet in the 23rd minute.
Not long after Liverpool’s poor marking left Karim Benzema to spectacularly header home
against the angle 15 minutes before the half time interval. The match was out of Liverpool’s reach on 41 minutes when Benzema struck again to get his second goal of the night with a close-range finish.
It remained 3-0 on the night as Liverpool produced nothing substantial after the half-time break.
Elsewhere in the group Bulgarian side Ludogorets Razgrad secured a 1-0 home win against Swiss outfit FC Basel. This means that all except Madrid lie on three points and Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will be concerned at the reality of dropping out at the group stage.
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This concern will be compounded by his team’s poor overall defensive display that may well see his team throw themselves out of contention for next season’s Champion’s League edition.
Liverpool counting down to Sturridge return
Looking forward, Liverpool host Hull City on Saturday afternoon and Rodgers will be hopeful to start filling in the form guide with positive checks as his team show currently no form they displayed so positively last campaign.
Thankfully, the more glamorous Premier League teams, namely Arsenal and Manchester United have also shown poor defensive signals of late and it maybe between these two teams that Liverpool will fight for third and fourth position come the end of the Premier League season; a season that seems to show a two-horse race appearing between high-flying Chelsea and close-chasing Manchester City.
Liverpool fans will be counting down the three weeks until striker Daniel Sturridge’s return from a lengthy double injury spell. It is hoped my many Anfield faithfuls that the Sturridge return will boost fellow striker Mario Balotelli who is struggling to add to his only Liverpool goal.