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Last Match Report - Liverpool FC http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/match/fixtures/first-team/liverpool-v-real-ma...

4-0

Liverpool v
Real
Anfield
10 Mar 2009 19:45
Attendance: 42,550

Liverpool have booked their place in the quarter finals of the Champions League after Fernando Torres
and Steven Gerrard combined to see off Real Madrid 4-0 in a breathtaking team performance at Anfield.

Torres struck his first Champions League goal of the season from close range on 16 minutes before
Gerrard scored from the penalty spot on 28 minutes and finished from 17 yards out just after the restart.

Andrea Dossena rounded off the win with a well-taken finish with two minutes remaining to make sure
the Reds registered an impressive 5-0 aggregate win over one of the European big boys.

Liverpool dominated from start to finish in what will surely go down as a sublime team performance to
knock out one of the giants of the European game. Javier Mascherano, Ryan Babel, Xabi Alonso, Gerrard
and Torres all put in storming performances.

The Reds went in to the match knowing they have gone through to the next round on each of the last 29
ties where they won the away leg first, and they had even more reason to be confident when it was
revealed that Fernando Torres and Alvaro Arbeloa were returning to the starting line-up.

Both players picked up minor injuries in the 1-0 Bernabeu victory two weeks ago and were major doubts
for this second leg clash. Rafa Benitez reshuffled his pack from last week's 2-0 win over Sunderland to
accommodate both players and make up for the suspended Albert Riera and injured Yossi Benayoun.

Javier Mascherano returned to the centre of the park to partner Xabi Alonso, Dirk Kuyt went back to his
usual right wing berth and Steven Gerrard took up a position just behind El Nino in attack. Ryan Babel
also came into the side on the left side midfield.

Where Liverpool started the game as slight favourites after Benayoun's now-famous first-leg winner in
Spain, they more than justified their upper hand with a fantastic first-half display that left los Blancos well
and truly on the ropes.

Fernando Torres stormed through the Real defence with 30 seconds gone, but his final touch just got away
from him for a Real defender to clear for a corner. Then Babel had a potshot from just outside the area to
set up another corner kick.

Although his touch let him down in the previous chance, Torres then produced a sublime turn from a
Steven Gerrard pass to put himself clean through on goal two minutes later.

Madrid defender Pepe was left for dead and Torres fired into the narrow angle, only for Iker Casillas to
save low to his left. That touch was truly of the highest order, Dennis Bergkamp eat your heart out.

Javier Mascherano hit the bar from the resulting corner and had another shot saved a matter of seconds
later.

Then Liverpool got a free-kick in an excellent position on seven minutes. Torres played in Gerrard with
his back to goal and the Reds captain was taken down 20 yards out. He shot through the Real wall from
the spot kick and almost got past Casillas' blind side. But the Spanish goalkeeper got a hand to it and

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Last Match Report - Liverpool FC http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/match/fixtures/first-team/liverpool-v-real-ma...

cleared the danger.

Los blancos looked to stamp their own identity onto the game after that with some neat passing, but the
sheer pace at which Liverpool were insisting on playing this second leg match was really throwing Juande
Ramos' side. Every time they tried to get into some kind of rhythm, there was a red shirt on hand to
disrupt them.

Then the Reds got a well-deserved goal from the lively Torres on 16 minutes. Pepe Reina hit a long ball
forward which fell fortuitously for Torres to edge past Cannavoro and to Kuyt. Then the Dutchman
played the ball across the six-yard box for Torres to tap home from close range.

And with that Anfield erupted. While the Real players


protested for a non-existent infringement, Gerrard, Torres
and Kuyt were savouring a crucial goal to bring the
aggregate scoreline up to 2-0. El Nino couldn't have picked
a better moment to score his first Champions League goal
of the season.

Torres came close again five minutes later with a fantastic


glancing header, then Gerrard nearly doubled the lead on
23 minutes with a shot on the stretch. Liverpool's number
nine turned two Real defenders near the left-hand byline
and fired a cross in across the face of goal and Casillas did
well to save from Gerrard's shot.

More drama followed on 28 minutes when Liverpool were


awarded a penalty on after Gabriel Heinze handballed just
inside the right-hand side of the area.

Gerrard made no mistake from the resulting spot kick and


fired past Casillas to double Liverpool's lead.

While one should never get carried away at such an early


stage, it's fair to say that Liverpool were playing some of
their best football of the season in this opening 45 minutes
at Anfield. Even the September win over Manchester United was not played at such a high tempo. Real
could not cope with it.

The dominance continued, albeit at a slightly lower intensity. Real managed the odd foray forward but
Liverpool swept up the danger on each occasion via a couple of impressive Reina saves and some
confident Carragher defending.

Reina produced another fine save from a Real counter attack before the referee booked Mascherano for a
reason no one in the whole ground could fathom. It didn't help that the fiery Argentine was so aggrieved
about the situation that he spent the remaining minutes berating the official.

But that incident notwithstanding, this was nothing short of a 43-minute master class from Liverpool.

It might have had something to do with the raucous Anfield atmosphere, and those who are taken by such
things might have put it down to the full moon, but either way Liverpool were playing like a team
possessed throughout the first half. Or maybe it had nothing to do with the outside elements, the whole
team deserved credit for such an all-encompassing display.

Juande Ramos attempted to stem the flow with the introduction of Marcelo in place of Arjen Robben at
the start of the second half. But within 90 seconds of the restart Liverpool had scored a third through a
trademark Gerrard finish and had one foot in the quarter finals.

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Last Match Report - Liverpool FC http://www.liverpoolfc.tv/match/fixtures/first-team/liverpool-v-real-ma...

Fabio Aurelio passed up the wing to Ryan Babel, who took one touch past Sergio Ramos in the Real
defence to deliver a pinpoint cross to the incoming Gerrard. The Liverpool captain stormed into the area
and met the cross with precision to fire into the roof of the net at the Kop end.

Real already had a mountain to climb before the second half kicked off, but that goal left them well and
truly out for the count. No amount of sporting clich??s could do justice to such this scoreline - 4-0 up on
aggregate and in the hunt for more, Liverpool were well and truly dominating one of the great European
giants.

Argentine midfielder Gago tried a curling shot from range on 53 minutes, but it went a yard over the bar
and out for a Liverpool goal kick. That was Real's first chance of the half.

Liverpool were at it again from the restart and Babel, who was playing with a new-found spring in his
step, skipped past Sergio Ramos to deliver another excellent cross into the danger zone. But no one was
quick enough into the area and Casillas comfortable collected.

Lucas Leiva was introduced to the action on 60 minutes for Xabi Alonso, who was making his 200th
European appearance, and the Brazilian midfielder made sure the Reds kept up the intensity for the
remainder of the match.

Wesley Sneijder had an excellent opportunity to reduce the arrears on 68 minutes. Martin Skrtel was
lucky not to get booked for a nasty foul on Rafael van der Vaart which led to a free-kick on the edge of
the aread. But despite lining up to shoot a precise drive, Sneijder blasted over the bar into the Anfield
Road end.

For all their toiling, Real just couldn't get through the Liverpool rearguard. Each time the Reds calmly
cleared and regained their dominant edge.

Torres came close to getting another on 82 minutes when he curled a fierce shot towards the far post, then
the Kop began singing a new name in the form of Jay Spearing, who had replaced Gerrard with 17 minutes
of the match remaining. It was yet another positive to take from a fantastic all-round performance.

As if 3-0 wasn't good enough, Italian left-back Andrea Dossena made it four with a fine finish from eight
yards out with less than a minute of normal time remaining.

Kuyt picked up the ball and ran at the Real defence before laying off to Mascherano on the right. The
Argentine then slided an inch-perfect ball across the area for Dossena to finish with ease.

Real Madrid legend Raul spoke at the pre-match press conference of how this could be a game for making
history. This result might not have been what he was thinking, but he was certainly right about the history
part.

A magnificent performance from Liverpool on another magical European evening.

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