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Five of the best games between Liverpool and Real Madrid

Liverpool travel to face Real Madrid this week in a meeting between two of European football’s most successful clubs.

Jurgen Klopp’s side face a mammoth task to progress after a heavy defeat in the first leg, with an extraordinary comeback required if Liverpool are to reach the last eight. It will be the latest instalment in a rivalry that has included three European Cup deciders, with the two teams boasting a combined total of 20 successes in the continent’s premier competition.

Ahead of their meeting at the Bernabeu, we look at five of the best games between Liverpool and Real Madrid.

Liverpool 1-0 Real Madrid (1981)

The first meeting between the teams came on the biggest stage, as Liverpool took on Real Madrid in the 1981 European Cup final in Paris. It had been far from a vintage season for Liverpool until that point, with Bob Paisley’s ageing team having ended the league season in fifth.

Alongside League Cup success, Europe had provided solace to a difficult domestic campaign, with the Reds easing past Finlands’ OPS, Aberdeen and CSKA Sofia before beating Bayern Munich on away goals in the last four.

Real Madrid were in pursuit of a first European coronation since 1966 and their side included Laurie Cunningham, who had become the first British player to represent the Spanish giants after signing from West Brom the previous summer. The final itself proved a forgettable affair, a chess match in which Liverpool made the decisive move.

Alan Kennedy – who had scored in the League Cup final earlier in the season – continued his habit of scoring important goals, as the left-back burst into the box to net eight minutes from time and become the Reds’ unlikely match winner. Kennedy later scored the decisive spot-kick as Liverpool beat Roma in a penalty shootout to win the 1984 final.

Liverpool 4-0 Real Madrid (2009)

Liverpool produced an unforgettable European performance to thrash Real Madrid during the 2008/09 season, as Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard combined in devastating fashion at Anfield.

Yossi Benayoun’s winner had given Liverpool a narrow first-leg lead from the first meeting at the Bernabeu, before an electric Anfield roared on the Reds to a comprehensive second leg success.

Torres – who had come through the ranks at rivals Atletico Madrid – was a constant threat to the Spanish visitors and fired an early warning after spinning Fabio Cannavaro, with only Iker Casillas’ intervention sparing his defender’s blushes. However, Los Blancos had no answer to Torres and he opened the scoring after tapping home from Dirk Kuyt’s centre.

Gerrard doubled the lead from the penalty spot before half-time, before scoring a stunning second as he met Ryan Babel’s cross with an emphatic side-foot finish just minutes into the second half.

Liverpool were rampant and added a fourth late on, as Andrea Dossena slotted in from Javier Mascherano’s ball into the box to put the gloss on a memorable win for Rafael Benitez’s side.

Real Madrid 3-1 Liverpool (2018)

Real Madrid and Liverpool renewed rivalries in the 2018 Champions League final, with the Spanish side in pursuit of a third consecutive European crown.

Liverpool had rode a wave of momentum to reach the final, securing big wins against the likes of Manchester City and Roma to set up a meeting with the defending champions. The final was dominated by two narratives, as Loris Karius’ goalkeeping gaffes and the brilliance of Gareth Bale ensured Real Madrid defended their crown in Kyiv.

Karius gifted the Spanish side an opener after inexplicably rolling the ball against Karim Benzema, but Sadio Mane hit back to level for Liverpool before the break.

A close final was then decided by the match-winning magic of Bale, who came off the bench to score twice – including a stunning overhead kick from Marcelo’s cross – to crown Madrid champions. His first goal remains arguably the greatest scored in a Champions League final, before a swerving effort from distance bamboozled Karius to continue his personal nightmare and make certain that there would be no Liverpool comeback in Ukraine.

Liverpool 0-1 Real Madrid (2022)

Liverpool took on Real Madrid for a third time in a European Cup decider last season, as the teams met in the 2022 Champions League final in Paris.

The latter had embarked on an extraordinary run to the final on the back of Karim Benzema’s brilliance, overcoming adversity during stunning comeback wins against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City to reach the showpiece.

Liverpool, in contrast, had enjoyed a more straightforward route to the final and were chasing a third trophy of the season after a domestic cup double. Jurgen Klopp’s side dominated much of the contest, but were frustrated by a phenomenal goalkeeping performance from Thibaut Courtois. The Belgian produced an outstanding individual display of goalkeeping to make nine saves, a record in a Champions League final.

His defiance provided the platform for Real Madrid to win the final, as Vinicius Junior turned in from Fede Valverde’s cross to decide the game. Victory saw Carlo Ancelotti become the first coach to win the competition four times, moving past the record he previously shared with ex-Liverpool boss Bob Paisley and Zinedine Zidane.

Liverpool 2-5 Real Madrid (2023)

Liverpool have a mountain to climb to reach the Champions League quarter-finals this week, following a crushing defeat at the hands of Real Madrid in their last-16 first leg.

It had appeared the Reds were heading towards another famous Anfield night in Europe, after goals from Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah saw Jurgen Klopp’s side race into a two-goal lead against last season’s final conquerors.

Real Madrid, however, are no ordinary opposition. Few sides are as capable of responding to such setbacks with unwavering confidence, a confidence built on an unmatched history in this competition. In the Champions League era, Real have won eight finals from eight. It is a record in big games which means the Spaniards rarely wilt when up against it.

Vinicius Junior’s fine strike brought Carlo Ancelotti’s side back into the game on Merseyside, before Alisson’s error saw his clearance ricochet off the Brazilian to level the score before half-time. Momentum suitably shifted, the Spanish champions dominated the second half and cut through their opponents with ease.

Eder Militao headed in Luka Modric’s free-kick two minutes after the restart, before Karim Benzema’s brace – his first deflected in off Joe Gomez – saw Real inflict Liverpool’s heaviest ever home defeat in the Champions League era. It would take something truly special if the Reds are to recover this tie.

Read – Midfield Magicians: Xabi Alonso, the grand master of 4D chess

Read Also – Five of the best players to play for Liverpool and Real Madrid

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