Liverpool suffer worst-ever home defeat in Europe as Real Madrid run riot

Real Madrid celebrate going 4-2 ahead – Liverpool suffer worst-ever Anfield defeat in Europe in Real Madrid rout - Soccrates Images/Getty Images
Real Madrid celebrate going 4-2 ahead – Liverpool suffer worst-ever Anfield defeat in Europe in Real Madrid rout - Soccrates Images/Getty Images

By Sam Wallace at Anfield

There was just one goal between them in the final in Paris nine months ago, as the two great sides of European football of the moment, but the game changes so quickly and this time Liverpool felt lost somewhere in their past, reaching out for a moment beyond their grasp.

This was such a demolition that by the end it was jarring to recall that Jurgen Klopp’s team had led by two goals after 15 frantic opening minutes. What followed was a great Real Madrid performance pegged somewhere between the passing of one era and the dawning of another at this club where the succession is in good hands.

There was Luka Modric at 37, still the orchestrator of a powerful force, and Karim Benzema with two second half goals. And then there was the skill and edge of Vinicius Junior with two more, and the dominant Eduardo Camavinga in midfield.

Luka Modric - AP Photo/Jon Super
Luka Modric - AP Photo/Jon Super

It will take a very good team to stop Real Madrid from capturing the 15th of their titles in European football’s leading competition this season, and in their current state, it was clear to all that Liverpool are not that team. They had restored something of the season’s momentum with two successive wins in the Premier League but then came this heavy defeat that again asks questions as to what it is that is coming after Klopp’s great five-year cycle of 2017-2022.

They must wait three weeks to bring this tie to a conclusion and it will hang over them in the four crucial Premier League games that fall in the interim. There may be some drama to come at the Bernabeu on March 15 but by the end even Klopp said that it felt done. A scoreline more akin to the aggregate than simply half a tie.

The drift from the elite of European football can be a gradual shift or it can come at a side hard and fast - as it did to Liverpool on this occasion. They had never before conceded five goals at home in a European tie. Vinicius was the youngest to score two for the away side at Anfield in European competition since a teenage Johan Cruyff did so for Ajax against Bill Shankly’s Liverpool in 1966. A historic night indeed.

For a while it was hopeful for Liverpool when they tore into Real for two quick goals. But Real have won five of the last nine Champions League titles and their mastery of this competition – whatever their domestic league circumstances – remains astonishing.

They are a team with a clear identity, a great depth of experience and an utterly ruthless streak. A team with Liverpool’s fragile confidence turned out to be easy meat for the Carlo Ancelotti second era team of European champions. They lost David Alaba, the great Austrian international, to injury in the first half, although not before he had been turned inside out by Mohamed Salah.

That came in a frantic opening to the game which was how Liverpool wanted it – but also how Ancelotti had anticipated it. Asked what he was thinking when his side went two down to the goals from Darwin Nunez after three minutes and then Salah, Real’s manager said that he had thought it might be something like this.

“It was not unpredictable,” he said. “Maybe we didn’t think we could concede two goals but we knew we would come under pressure. We said to the players to keep calm, keep a cool head and get the game under control.”

They did that superbly, and once they had taken the thunder out of Liverpool and out of Anfield, it turned out that there was not much left. Ancelotti talked about his veterans’ experience - Modric, Benzema, even Toni Kroos, a late substitute – and how they guided the team through the difficult moments. Less simple for Klopp, for whom faith was placed in Stefan Bajcetic, the 18-year-old midfielder who simply did his best and Fabinho, for whom form remains elusive.

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool scores the team's second goal as Thibaut Courtois of Real Madrid attempts to make a save - Alex Livesey /UEFA via Getty Images
Mohamed Salah of Liverpool scores the team's second goal as Thibaut Courtois of Real Madrid attempts to make a save - Alex Livesey /UEFA via Getty Images

It was two years and one day since Ancelotti won a historic victory as Everton manager at Anfield, the first time the club had done so in 22 years. One would certainly have to say it was much easier to do so with this great array of talent at his disposal.

Klopp said that for his Liverpool players the start to the game was “us in a nutshell”. That is to say, intense even if that was at times a little ragged. There felt like a whole two legs of excitement packed into the first half. The first goal was classic surging Liverpool riding the crest of the European night mood. Nunez finished with a flick with the inside of his heel from Salah’s cross to the near post.

Vinicius scores and celebrates - REUTERS/Phil Noble
Vinicius scores and celebrates - REUTERS/Phil Noble

Thibaut Courtois had worse to come. It was a notably firm back pass that Dani Carvajal struck at him in the 14th minute and came amid a period when players on both sides were losing their footing. Courtois could not keep his feet and Salah scored the goal that makes him Liverpool’s record goalscorer in European football, passing Steven Gerrard on 41.

Vinicius scored a magnificent first on 21 minutes, twisting away from the red shirts in the area and dispatching a right foot shot past Alisson. Liverpool’s Brazilian goalkeeper gave him his second – “slapstick”, as Klopp said more than once. Gomez’s back pass to Alisson was clattered by the goalkeeper against Vinicius and bounced into his net.

Gomez was spotted nursing what looked like a hamstring injury by the end and Klopp did not dismiss the notion that he might have lost another player to injury.

The third Real goal came soon after half-time, headed in under no pressure by Eder Militao from a free-kick deep on the left from Modric. Benzema’s first followed after a sharp exchange with Vinicius which left Liverpool flat-footed, and a shot that defeated Alisson with a deflection off Gomez. The last was a beautiful Real move in which Liverpool were second every time.

Modric took the ball off Fabinho in midfield and then slipped easily past Bajcetic. Vinicius cut the ball back to Benzema who did the necessary. As for Modric, many of those Liverpool fans who could bear to watch the last ten minutes applauded the old maestro off when he was substituted late in the game. He deserved every last moment of it.

Liverpool vs Real Madrid: as it happened

10:40 PM

Klopp on the second half

The only way you can slow down the game a little bit is to keep possession. But we lost the ball and in the second half the wrong players were in the half spaces.

They showed their experience in moments but it was the start [of the second half]. We lost the momentum and we didn't get it back.

We will go there and play a football game. Everyone knows how good they are on the counter-attack and in their own stadium they can hurt you [all the time].

10:36 PM

Klopp speaks

At the beginning it was outstanding, it was us in a nutshell. It was perfect. Exactly how we wanted to play with a super intense start. We're 2-0 up. The whole first-half was good apart from [their] goals.

The first, we became a bit passive higher up the pitch. The second goal was slapstick. Should not happen but can happen. It's 2-2 but the feeling at half-time was [positive].

I'm not sure it's a foul [the free-kick that led to the third goal]. How we defend it is obviously not OK against an outstanding team. It doesn't help. We couldn't get back into it, get the momentum back. At 3-2 they became more confident and scored great goals. That's how it is.

We lost 5-2 but there's a lot for me to take, too.

10:25 PM

Player ratings: Joe Gomez, better give this one a miss

Liverpool vs Real Madrid player ratings: Vinicius utterly superb; Joe Gomez has a night to forget.

10:13 PM

Jordan Henderson looks like he's been punched in the solar plexus

Very difficult. Hard to take and sum it up. Mixed feelings and disappointment with the result obviously but for large parts of the first half I felt we performed well. But we made too many mistakes and they punished us every time.

They have quality players everywhere but we didn't help ourselves. Especially at the set-piece which I didn't think was a foul. We didn't defend well enough. And after that there were a few goals that we could have done better at and the game got away from us.

It's hard to come here and speak. They have a lot of quality but we caused ourselves problems at times. It's a tough one to take.

I thought we were unlucky to go in level at half-time. There was a big chance at 2-0. If that goes in it's a big moment.

Performance level first half was good, second half not so good.

We've got to move on quickly. We have Premier League matches coming up and we need to concentrate on that and cross the bridge [of the second leg] when we come to it.

10:04 PM

Chris Bascombe's verdict

A harrowing night for Liverpool. Real Madrid overcame the early hurricane and oozed class. This felt like the end for Klopp's first great Anfield era. The hard work begins right now to create a second.

09:59 PM

Let's not make this all about Liverpool, though

The home side will feel embarrassed but Real Madrid were magnificent in their resilience to fight back and then steam-roll Liverpool with their poise and class. And this isn't Last Dance territory for Real Madrid, they have been reinvigorated by the brilliance of Vinicius, Camavinga, Rodrygo and Valverde to supplement the enduring class of Benzema and Modric.

09:55 PM

Full time: Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 5

What a chastening night for Liverpool and Klopp after such a bright start. It leaves you with the impression that their revival is more of a tightrope walk and once they lost their confidence after Alisson helped Real Madrid equalise, they fell off it.

09:53 PM

90+3 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 5

Salah wants a penalty after hitting the deck when he tried to scavenge the ball six yards out following Firmino's blocked shot. Nothing doing. The Kop strikes up You'll Never Walk Alone.

09:52 PM

90+2 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 5

The first of three minutes of stoppage time ends with a Liverpool free-kick on halfway following a Carvajal foul.

09:51 PM

90 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 5

Lovely touch from Camavinga to take possession and lay it off with a flick. Out come the olés again as Real play Rondo possession drills in front of the red shirts.

09:49 PM

88 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 5

Real Madrid are taking the sting out of the final moments by hogging possession and pinging passes ... until Matip has his fill and barges Ceballos over.

09:48 PM

86 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 5

Marco Asensio and Toni Kroos replace Benzema and Modric.

Chris Bascombe reports from Anfield

Benzema and Modric applauded off by the home fans. Recognition of their class.

09:47 PM

85 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 5

Harvey Elliott replaces Bajcetic before a Liverpool corner from the left. Alexander-Arnold makes as much a hash of it as Robertson did with the previous one from that side.

09:46 PM

83 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 5

Dani Ceballos replaces Rodrygo.

09:45 PM

82 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 5

Nacho makes 50 yards with a dribble and charge up the left and then goes flying when Alexander-Arnold tries to brush him aside. He waves his arms for a penalty but a) he was outside the box and b) he wasn't fouled.

09:43 PM

Chris Bascombe reports from Anfield

Liverpool have been given a lesson in this second half. Their attempts to get back into the tie have become kamikaze.

09:41 PM

79 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 5

Good spell of possession from Liverpool, probing away but they can't pierce the banks of four and five and eventually Real Madrid see it out for a goal-kick with patience and disciplined marking.

09:39 PM

77 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 5

Robertson seizes the initiative and storms down the left, burning past Carvajal and earns a corner when his cross is blocked. The corner is easily defended and although Liverpool have another go with a handsome diagonal from left to right to try to sneak Matip in, the pass has too much gas and races away from him.

09:37 PM

75 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 5

Seems a long time since those pre-match fireworks. As Darren 'Fletch' Fletcher points out, they've been three goals behind against a Spanish side in the knockout stages before and come through. Not with the defence and midfield in this state, though.

09:35 PM

74 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 5

Liverpool take off Henderson and Gomez, sending on Milner, who takes the armband in a typically reverential English way, and Matip.

09:34 PM

72 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 5

Jurgen Klopp mentioned eight goals in his pre-match interview. Be careful what you wish for.

09:29 PM

Chris Bascombe reports

Real Madrid are killers. Every mistake, every concession of possession, they pounce and punish.

09:28 PM


Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 5  Liverpool's defensive discipline has been shockingly bad. Modric gobbles up Fabinho's misplaced pass, Real Madrid pour forward and play it up to Benzema who basically dribbles his way into a shooting position after great work from Vinicius Jr with astonishing sang-froid, diddling the keeper with a dummy and rounding him before sweeping a shot home between scrambling defenders.

09:28 PM

66 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 4

That's the best of Gomez, reading a pass and intercepting it before knocking it up to Alexander-Arnold who whips over a right-foot cross that veers towards goal then swerves away. Carvajal puts it behind rather than risk being blindsided. From the corner Bajcetic thumps a right-foot shot wide.

09:26 PM

65 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 4

Double Liverpool substitution: Firmino and Diogo Jota replace Nunez and Gakpo.

09:25 PM

63 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 4

The Liverpool fans are livid that Gomez and Alexander-Arnold let Benzema steal round the back to meet Rodrygo's deep cross from the left. He traps the ball, opens his body and lays it back to Rudiger who crashes a right-foot shot into the hoardings from 22 yards.

09:23 PM

61 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 4

The Real fans are giving it the full olés as Real sweep the ball around with poise and some swagger.

09:22 PM

59 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 4

Yellow card for Vinicius. Had a lengthy check for a possible Liverpool penalty but the Var deemed that Carvajal's did not handle illegally. Nunez shoves Rudiger who goes down like a bag of hammers.

09:16 PM


Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 4 (Benzema) Var check on whether Rodrygo was onside when he tore down the right ... he was. Two one-twos, one between Modric and Rodrygo is followed by one between Rodrygo and Benzema which invites the Real Madrid captain to shoot with his right foot from 15 yards. It was quite a tame shot but struck Gomez's heel and gave Alisson no chance as he dived the other way.

Karim Benzema of Real Madrid scores the team's fourth goal as players of Liverpool look on - Michael Regan/Getty Images
Karim Benzema of Real Madrid scores the team's fourth goal as players of Liverpool look on - Michael Regan/Getty Images

09:16 PM

52 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 3

Big shout for a Liverpool penalty when Carvajal has his hand in the small of Nunez's back and seems to shove him as he rose to reach a dipping, deep cross from the right. It sent him flying but the Var isn't interested at all.

09:14 PM

50 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 3

Vinicius Junior, who is one goal away from becoming the first player in European competition to score a hat-trick against Liverpool, is scaring the life out of the right-side of Liverpool's defence. Gomez is trying his best to help the overmanned Alexander-Arnold but his best hasn't been good enough so far.

09:09 PM


Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 3 (Militao)  Utterly pointless foul from Gomez as Vinicius had nowhere to go. Modric takes the free-kick, whips it in and Gakpo allows Militao to run across him and meet the cross with a bullet header from eight yards. he didn't even have to leap to meet it, only divert it. Van Dijk hardly covered himself in glory there either. Lack of alertness and urgency.

Miltao puts Liverpool behind for the first time in the match - Fantasista/Getty Images
Miltao puts Liverpool behind for the first time in the match - Fantasista/Getty Images

09:08 PM

46 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 2

Real Madrid start with an early free-kick maybe two yards in from touch on the left after a clumsy foul by Gomez on Vinicius who was going nowhere ...

09:07 PM

Courtois and Alisson get the blues

Courtois blunder - Alex Livesey/UEFA via Getty Images
Courtois blunder - Alex Livesey/UEFA via Getty Images
Alisson and Vinicius - PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images
Alisson and Vinicius - PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

08:56 PM

Chris Bascombe's half-time verdict

An enthralling yet bizarre game. Liverpool brilliant in attack yet vulnerable at the back. Real Madrid even more vulnerable in defence but possessing a killer in Vinicius Jr and the classy Luka Modric playing like it is just a routine kickabout. Meanwhile, everyone else is slipping like there is a sheet of ice on the turf. The Champions League knockout phase never fails to deliver thrilling fixtures.

08:55 PM

Chris Bascombe is our man with the sympathy

Loris Karius might feel a bit better watching both goalkeepers tonight.

08:53 PM

Half-time: Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 2

Going to need a lie down after that. Liverpool were terrific for the first 20 minutes but Real Madrid came back into it stunningly and are back on terms by virtue of a second goalkeeping error of the night and a wonderful finish from Vinicius. But even that did not match Nunez's dainty flick.

08:50 PM

45 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 2

Courtois throws it 40 yards out to Valverde on the left and he hares forward before playing a lovely pass to Vinicius in the area. The double goal-scorer picks up his head and laces a pass towards the back post. Rodrygo gobbles up the ground to slide in but Robertson telescopes out a leg to hook it away, a yard out.

08:48 PM

44 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 2

Liverpool free-kick after a Modric hand-ball which was awarded harshly as he was very close to the shot. Alexander-Arnold takes from 25 yards and sticks it straight down Courtois' throw.

08:46 PM

41 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 2

Bajcetic is hurt in a challenge with Carvajal but is OK to continue. I have gone back and embedded video in the goal posts in case you haven't seen them. You may need to, to believe them.

08:38 PM


Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 2 (Vinicius) Anything Courtois can do ... Alisson can trump. Valverde overhits a diagonal aiming for Vinicius and Gomez easily beats him to it. The centre-back rolls it back to Alisson who side-foots a clearance straight into Vinicius who was turning away to protect his face. The ball cannons into him and loops up into an open goal.

08:37 PM

35 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 1

Gakpo makes progress and gets to the byeline on the right of the Real Madrid box but his pass doesn't make it through the crowd. Real break in numbers but Henderson, Bajcetic and the Stakhanovite Nunez race back and mop up the counter-attack.

08:36 PM

33 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 1

Mistake from Henderson allows Camavinga to feed the ball to the left from where it's squared for Valverde to thump a shot from 22 yards ... but he blazes over.

08:34 PM

31 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 1

Vinicius gobbles up the right-wing corner at the back-post after some pinball and wraps his right foot around a shot, looking for whip again. He slips as he hits it but it's on target and arrowing again for the bottom corner. Alisson dives low to his left to turn it away with a strong wrist.

08:33 PM

29 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 1

Good spell of possession and probing from Real Madrid down the left with Modric and Vinicius and the latter floats a deep cross trying to pick out Carvajal's run round the back of Robertson. He almost does but Nunez had tracked him diligently and heads it behind for a corner.

08:31 PM

Chris Bascombe is our man with the empathy

No surprise Alaba pulled a muscle. He's done nothing but chase Salah's shadow for the first 27 minutes.

08:30 PM

28 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 1

Players are finding it very hard to stay on their feet. Has the pitch been overwatered?

08:29 PM

26 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 1

After a long spell of treatment Alaba is having to go off. Nacho replaces him.

08:29 PM

23 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 1

Barely time to catch our breath here. Mass goalmouth scramble in the Real six-yard box as Salah spins his way past the penalty spot, completing a full 360 in the dribble before trying to force a shot through a thicket of legs. He can't pierce the congestion but the ball breaks to Nunez who is thwarted by another block tackle a yard out.

Alaba is injured after his efforts in the block.

08:23 PM


Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 1 (Vinicius) Apologies, Liverpool fans. Blogger's curse. Vinicius is loitering on the left, receives the pass, steps in from the touchline and, because Gomez doesn't get close enough quickly enough, he uses him as a dummy to bend his right-foot shot around and bury in the bottom left corner. Fantastic finish.

08:22 PM

19 min Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 0

Real are wobbling at the back and the Kop is being merciless every time the ball is anywhere close to Courtois. Real Madrid look completely off the pace so far.

08:17 PM


Liverpool 2 Real Madrid 0 (Salah)  If Liverpool felt that last year's final was stolen from them by Courtois' brilliance, they must feel a modicum of satisfaction at his colossal error with his feet here that makes a gift of a goal to Salah and his tenacity. He gambled that Courtois' touch with his saucepan boots when trying to deal with a backpass would be too heavy and how right he was. Courtois stumbled, scuffed the ball, couldn't recover and Salah pounced to stab a shot past him from six yards.

08:17 PM

14 min Liverpool 1 Real Madrid 0

Salah glides down the left like the proverbial hot knife through butter, leaving Vinicius and Camavinga trailing. He shimmies, turns, leaves everyone in his wake but then sweeps his shot straight at Courtois. Everything but the finish.

Chris Bascombe writes

Nunez  has the goal, but Salah is terrorising David Alaba. Lightning start by Liverpool. This really is the Klopp team of last season so far.

08:15 PM

12 min Liverpool 1 Real Madrid 0

Good pass from Carvajal into Rodrygo who dithers on the ball and allows Robertson to nick the ball off him before he can get the shot away.

08:14 PM

Chris Bascombe reports

Klopp already cheerleading the Main Stand. He wants more noise.

08:14 PM

10 min Liverpool 1 Real Madrid 0

Real Madrid simply aren't bothering to press Liverpool. It's as is they're saying, 'Here you go, have a go.' Whether it's beneath them or they fancy their chances in a game of attack v defence I can't tell.

They do fashion their first attack down the left but Alisson picks off the cross.

08:12 PM

8 min Liverpool 1 Real Madrid 0

Liverpool pen Real Madrid back in their penalty area again but this time Alaba retains some composure to pass his way out, to Vinicius. The Real winger was about to turn on the turbo but Fabinho stopped him with the most blatant obstruction you could witness.

08:11 PM

6 min Liverpool 1 Real Madrid 0

Fabinho is brought down as he lengthened his stride to enter the box but loud as the yells are for a penalty, the referee doesn't even give a foul. Not that he was in the box anyway.

08:06 PM


Liverpool 1 Real Madrid 0 (Nunez)  Alaba, for some reason, lets Salah run at him and backpedals, ceding space, until he gets to the 18-yard line. Salah laces a lovely diagonal pass to the near post, almost a reverse pass, and Nunez makes the perfect run and connection, the most balletic of flocks with his right heel, giving Courtois no chance. What a sensational finish.

08:05 PM

2 min Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0

Nunez is playing on the left, Gakpo through the middle and he's put through down the inside-left after Camavinga loses the ball to Henderson following a Carvajal throw. Salah is screaming for the square pass to the right of the penalty spot but Gakpo slips before he can lay it off.

08:04 PM

1 min Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 0

Benzema races upfield to try to hound Alisson as he prepares to receive a back-pass but Alisson is too quick for him.

08:03 PM

A minute's silence precedes proceedings

For Amancio Amaro honorary president of Real Madrid, who died today. He played for Real from 1962-76.

08:01 PM

Chris Bascombe reports from Anfield

Slightly unfortunate that the Kop's jeering of the UEFA Champions League anthem coincided with the team's making their entrance. Sure the Liverpool player will feel welcome soon enough.

07:59 PM

Anfield boos the Champions League anthem

Because of their treatment at the 2022 Champions League final and their false vilification by the French police.

07:58 PM

Chris Bascombe reports from Anfield

Real Madrid players jeered as they exited after their warm-up. Karim Benzema put two digits up the Anfield Main Stand as he ran down the tunnel. Could have been the traditional peace gesture. Could have been a reference to Real’s two final wins over Liverpool. Looks like the French striker up the challenge of taking on the Kop, either way.

07:58 PM

Chris Bascombe reports from Anfield

Mo Salah was speaking about a ‘revenge’ mission before last May’s Champions League final, a reference to his heartbreak against Real Madrid in 2018. He has kept a diplomatic silence this time, but the way he has been pelting balls into the Kop goal during the warm-up, before the game kicks off it may be worth get a sneaky bet on him scoring the first goal tonight.

07:57 PM

The teams are in the tunnel

And it's Allez, Allez, Allez reverberating around a rocking Anfield as they prepare to come out, both sides in their home kits: Liverpool all red, Real Madrid all white.

07:52 PM

Klopp on tonight's challenge

What would be the best-case scenario? We smash them 8-0 or something. That’s pretty unlikely. This game is 180 minutes, and the more you can get from the first half, the better it is, and if you get nothing from the first half then you have to turn it round in the second half.

07:51 PM

Jurgen Klopp on Bajcetic

I don’t see it as a test.  I see it as an opportunity for him as well. I didn’t even speak to him about it. Everything looks natural and I don’t think it makes sense to start having one-to-one talks with him before a Real Madrid game.

If I was a player I’d be nervous after that, because I would think ‘the boss thinks I’m not ready for it’. I think he’s ready for it, which is why he starts, and if he’s not it’s my fault so he cannot lose. There was no reason to change, but I am also really happy with the options we have on the bench because they will be important.

07:42 PM

Stefan Bajcetic is 18

Stefan Bajcetic and Cody Gakpo of Liverpool - Alex Livesey/UEFA via Getty Images
Stefan Bajcetic and Cody Gakpo of Liverpool - Alex Livesey/UEFA via Getty Images

07:34 PM

Watch BT Sport's apology to Liverpool fans in full

07:23 PM

BT Sport certainly packs the pundits in

They have four Liverpool panellists, two with Real Madrid connections, Steve McManaman and Michael Owen plus Peter Crouch and Steven Gerrard. Rio Ferdinand is the only neutral at the podium.

Steven Gerrard - Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Steven Gerrard - Peter Byrne/PA Wire

07:19 PM

Ancelotti on Liverpool

I watched Liverpool's last two games against Everton and Newcastle. They are back. They are back. We expect the intensity of the best Liverpool.

07:07 PM

Jake Humphrey

Apologises for BT Sport's terrible coverage of last year's Champions League final and for buying the Uefa/Stade de France/Flics narrative hook, line and sinker. He emphasises, as last week's report proved, that Liverpool fans were blameless for the congestion and the dangerous conditions.

Alan Tyers wrote about BT Sport's shortcomings here.

07:03 PM

BT Sport get things going in traditional fashion

Ce sont les meilleures équipes
Es sind die allerbesten Mannschaften
The main event

Die Meister
Die Besten
Les grandes équipes
The champions

It's BT Sport's last season of doing this before they mutate into Trinitrotoluene Sports.

06:56 PM

Today's referee

Is Istvan Kovacs from Romania who did Man City's chaotic 4-3 victory over Real Madrid in the home leg of last year's semi-final.

06:48 PM

Chris Bascombe on the two teams

Relief for Liverpool as Darwin Nunez's shoulder injury is not as bad as feared. The Uruguayan had a scan on Sunday which revealed no serious damage. Klopp has named an unchanged line-up in the ultimate show of faith in teenager Stefan Bajcetic.

Real Madrid have flown Toni Kroos to Liverpool today after the German was originally ruled out. He is on the bench. One must presume he flew directly by private jet to Liverpool John Lennon Airport rather than on the Easyjet through Manchester.

06:46 PM

Your teams in colour

06:42 PM

Real Madrid have gone very early with their team news

Real Madrid Courtois; Carvajal, Eder Militao, Rudiger, Alaba; Valverde, Camavinga, Modric; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius Junior. 
Substitutes Lunin, Vallejo, Nacho, Hazard, Kroos, Asensio, Odriozola, Lucas Vasquez, Dani Ceballos, Mario Martin, Arribas, Alvaro.

06:16 PM

Thunderfoot is on the Beatles trail

Chris Bascombe reports:

The legends are out in force ahead of tonight’s Liverpool v Real Madrid clash, and revellers at the city centre tourist spot on Mathew Street have been enjoying the company of Brazil and Real superstar Roberto Carlos. Carlos and his entourage have been taking in the sights around the world famous Cavern Club before heading to Anfield.

Picture courtesy of @KopitePodcast

Roberto Carlos in the Cavern - Kopite Podcast
Roberto Carlos in the Cavern - Kopite Podcast

05:44 PM

Preview – What is a bogey team?

Welcome to live coverage of tonight's Round of 16 first leg match between last year's finalists Liverpool, who have won the European Cup six times, and Real Madrid, who won their 14th at Stade de France last May in a match overshadowed by negligent and dangerous policing before the match and an insensitivity to supporters' safety before, during and after it.

Given that Real Madrid have prevailed in their two most recent meetings in finals (in a competition, let's not forget, they are conspiring to make extinct and replace with their own self-serving version), there has been some strange chat this week about them being the Red Men's 'bogey team'. I think that stretches the concept of 'bogey team' beyond credulity. The most successful club in the history of European competition can't be a bogey team. Cardiff, who have beaten them 16 times in 29 matches, fit the bill far better.

Anyway, Liverpool come into the match with a record of one win, one draw and one defeat in Real Madrid's three trips to Anfield and on the back of a mini-revival after defeats by Brighton in league and Cup and that hopeless performance at Molineux. Victories in the derby and at St James' with a more balanced midfield, defensive confidence and Cody Gakpo starting to find his feet, equip them with the belief that they can engineer a late charge like 2020-21's when their unbeaten 10-match run propelled them into the top four. If that looks more remote this time as they start from even further back, they can remove one obstacle to qualifying for the Champions League next season by winning it if they can keep their tentative renaissance bandwagon rolling against the champions.

Real Madrid, who triumphed in Paris largely by virtue of Thibaut Courtois, Vinicius Junior and Federico Valverde, have been pretty consistent this season but find themselves trailing Barcelona in La Liga by eight points following post World Cup defeats at Villarreal and Mallorca. They topped their Champions League group comfortably enough but wobbled with an uncharacteristically dozy display at RB Leipzig in a match they lost by the flattering scoreline of 3-2.

Real Madrid Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saves from Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Stade de France - Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Real Madrid Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saves from Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during the UEFA Champions League Final at the Stade de France - Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Vinicius, who is in magnificent form despite the disgusting, racist abuse he is subjected to in Spain, scored twice to help Real Madrid win the Club World Cup a fortnight ago and his four goals in this competition for once eclipses Karim Benzema who knits everything together but has yet to score in this year's competition. Toni Kroos and Aurelien Tchouameni have been suffering from unspecified illnesses and have not travelled, while Ferland Mendy is still out with a quad injury which means David Alaba will carry on at left-back instead of centre-half. But Courtois made his comeback from a twanged hamstring in Sunday's 2-0 victory over Osasuna and will play tonight.

Liverpool will give a late fitness test to Darwin Nunez who hurt his shoulder at St James' Park on Saturday night and are also missing Luis Diaz, Ibrahima Konate and Thiago Alcantara. Arthur is back in training but highly unlikely to be risked though Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino are champing at the bit after their long lay-offs.