Liverpool vs. Real Madrid player ratings: Courtois leads defensive masterclass as Salah, Mane, Firmino misfire

Real Madrid held serve at Anfield on Wednesday in the Champions League quarterfinal second leg against Liverpool, earning a 0-0 draw to advance 3-1 on aggregate. Los Blancos will now face Chelsea in the semifinals. 

It was a match where Real focused on defense but came close to scoring, while Liverpool looked like a threat for much of the match, failing to produce accurate shots. But how did everybody perform? Here area our player ratings from the match:

Liverpool ratings

Alisson — Goalkeeper

After a relatively quiet first hour Alisson did marvelously to get out quick enough to block both Vinicius Junior’s attempted chip and Karim Benzema’s follow-up. There was little else for the Brazilian to do on a frustrating night. Rating: 6

Trent Alexander-Arnold — Defender

If last week showed his defensive limitations this game proved how effective he can be on the front foot, creating a fine chance for Georginio Wijnaldum with his direct running before a brilliant pass teed up Roberto Firmino. His off-ball work also improved, a smart recovery early on setting off a move that ended with James Milner drawing a save from Thibaut Courtois, but late on he was guilty of just throwing too many crosses into the box. Rating: 7

Nathaniel Phillips — Defender

After a grueling first leg Phillips was impressive indeed at the back, winning whatever crosses came his way and passing the ball tidily. Rating: 6

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Ozan Kabak — Defender

There is certainly something about the Schalke loanee that makes you believe he could develop into a fine defender, his sweeping up of balls into the channels in particular was excellent. An early exit was reflective of tactical considerations as much as his own performance. Rating: 6

Andrew Robertson — Defender

He struggled to really contribute in an attacking sense even as he held firm against Marco Asensio, although a flurry of chances created between the 68th and 80th minute looked to briefly be testing Madrid. Rating: 6

Fabinho — Midfielder

He did just what would be expected of him, winning more tackles than any Liverpool player and hitting double figures for ball recoveries all while keeping the build-up play ticking over with 100 percent pass completion in the final third. Fabinho built a solid platform for those ahead of him. Rating: 7

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James Milner — Midfielder

One of the chief instigators of a far more aggressive press than the previous fixture, Milner was never more than a few feet away from the action and certainly left his mark on Casemiro early on. An hour of hard running did not bring a goal with it but it set Liverpool on course for a far better performance. Rating: 6

Georginio Wijnaldum — Midfielder

Like Milner, Wijnaldum pressed with industry but the longer Liverpool hit their head against Madrid’s brick wall the more it felt that one of the two should have been left out in favor of the more creative Thiago. In particular one would have expected this from the Dutchman, who so often comes up big on European nights but today was nowhere to be seen. Rating: 6

Mohamed Salah — Forward

Salah consistently got into positions to cause difficulties and the tie might have been extremely different if he had taken the game’s best chance in the second minute. Later in the game those wasted opportunities seemed to weigh on him as he took too long to get efforts away. Rating: 6

Roberto Firmino — Forward

For much of the first half he was getting into the right positions without the ball coming his way. Two early efforts in the second spoke to a player who has struggled to consistently convert on the biggest occasions. No Liverpool attacker was more inaccurate with his passing in the final third. Rating: 5

Sadio Mane — Forward

A man on a mission from the outset, this was not the Mane who has struggled through so much of 2021. He found Madrid’s weak spot in Federico Valverde and attacked it relentlessly, twice creating good shooting chances for Salah, though he faded notably in the second half. Rating: 6

Diogo Jota — Forward (sub, Kabak, 60′)

Not necessarily through his own fault, Jota’s introduction seemed to be a case of squeezing too many forwards into too tight an area. He kept finding space but it was rarely in the sort of position to get a good shot away. Rating: 6

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Thiago — Midfielder (sub, Milner, 60′)

He did not necessarily offer much to suggest he should have started from the outset. That killer pass did not appear as Liverpool struggled to charm their way through the Madrid defence. Rating: 5

Xherdan Shaqiri — Midfielder (sub, Mane, 82′)

He drifted around neatly enough but offered little impetus late on. Rating: 5

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain — Midfielder (sub, Firmino, 82′)

Adding Oxlade-Chamberlain to the team did little to add the width and drives to the byline Liverpool needed late on. Rating: 5

Jurgen Klopp — Manager

His side started with the intensity and aggression that they needed, much of which stems from the manager, but ultimately his two changes on the hour only served to make Liverpool’s attack stodgier. Rating: 5

Real Madrid

Thibaut Courtois — Goalkeeper

Liverpool’s accuracy was way off as he faced just four shots on goal out of 15 taken. He did make some good saves through, including one on James Milner. Also had to deal with 37 crosses but handled himself well. Rating: 8

Ferland Mendy — Defense

Showed off that speed to recover the ball 10 times, also had six clearances. Did fairly well on his duels and was able to get forward. Solid display. Rating: 6.5

Nacho — Defense

For perhaps being their fourth center back, boy has he really shown up. Had a team-high 11 clearances, was good in the air and did very well to position himself. Rating: 8

Eder Militao — Defense

He did not deal with as much as Nacho, but when needed, he was there. The former Porto defender was exceptional in the air when defending crosses and made some well timed clearances. Also, no Real player won a higher percentage of their duels than his 80 percent. Rating: 8

Federico Valverde — Defense

Played out of position at right back and did just fine. Got forward and created a team-high two chances as well. In defense, his touch was exceptional to quickly deal with Liverpool’s pressure. One of the most underrated players in the world. Rating: 8

Toni Kroos — Midfield

Sat quite deep, didn’t get the chance to create much, but his passing was fairly precise. Had a shot as well. Not flashy, but he did what he needed to do. Rating: 6

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Luka Modric — Midfield

Similar to Kroos in that we didn’t see much of anything in attack from him. His passing was a bit erratic at times, but he didn’t make any big mistakes that caused any damage. Not his type of game, but all that mattered was going through. Rating: 6

Casemiro — Midfield

Lucky to not have seen a red card on an early challenge against Milner, I think. Maybe I’m being harsh, but that was dirty and deliberate. As for his play on the pitch, his tackling was far from precise, but he did come up with some big ones. Also won over 70 percent of his duels. Strong.  Rating: 7.5

Vinicius Jr. — Forward

The team’s biggest threat in attack, just like in the first leg. He had the most shots with two, and they were decent looks. Sometimes his was too fast for his own good. Subbed off in the second half. Rating: 7

Marco Asensio — Forward

Fairly quiet, but that was with Liverpool dominating the chances. Had a shot, created a chance but was hardly noticeable for the majority of this game. Rating: 5

Karim Benzema — Forward

Like most Real attackers, he didn’t have a lot of looks. His passing though, especially between defenders to get the ball was, was fantastic. He completed 87 percent of his passes and held up the ball very well to get his team forward. Rating: 7

Alvaro Odriozola– Defender (sub, Kroos, 72′)

Helped keep the clean sheet off the bench with some attentive defending. Was stuck on his attacker in the box like glue, preventing dangerous low balls into the box. Rating: 7

Rodrygo — Forward (sub, Vinicius Junior, 72′)

Came on and recovered the ball a few times but hardly got comfortable. Rating: N/A

Isco — Midfield (sub, Asensio), 82′

Late addition who didn’t get involved much. Rating: N/A

Zinedine Zidane — Manager

Not pretty, but it was more than enough. Real defended well, getting in front of shots and making things tough on this Liverpool side. Encouraging considering across 180 minutes, they only conceded one while missing their first choice center back pairing. Rating: 8

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