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Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Head-to-head

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Liverpool and Real Madrid have been drawn to face each other in the quarter-finals of this season’s UEFA Champions League and will meet for the first time since the 2018 final.

Two of world football’s most prestigious clubs, the Reds (6) and Los Blancos (13) have been crowned European champions 19 times between them. Despite their successes on the European stage however, their paths, haven’t crossed as regularly as you might think.

The pair have met on just six occasions. Here, 90min takes a look at Liverpool’s record versus the Spanish giants.

Alan Hansen, Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness
Liverpool 1981 UEFA European Cup Final Winners | Getty Images/Getty Images

The Merseyside club came face to face with Real Madrid for the first time in the 1981 European Cup final. The fixture took place at the home of Paris Saint-Germain, the Parc des Princes in the French capital.

Alan Kennedy scored the only goal of the game eight minutes from time and the Reds won 1-0 to become the European champions for the third time in five seasons.

Real Madrid’s team that day included Vicente del Bosque who you may remember enjoyed a successful spell as the club’s manager in more recent history.

As for the English side, their side was full of household names such as Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness and Alan Hansen to name but a few.

Yossi Benayoun
Real Madrid v Liverpool – UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg | Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

The pair next met 28 years later in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 in 2009, as Rafa Benitez’s side earned a narrow 1-0 victory at the Bernabeu in the first leg.

Yossi Benayoun was the goalscorer that day, heading home from a Fabio Aurelio free-kick. Liverpool looked comfortable throughout, limiting their opponents to mostly long-range speculative efforts.

Benitez received much praise for his tactical approach that night and that away victory put them in the driving seat for the second leg that was to follow approximately a fortnight later…

Liverpool finished the job they started in the first-leg emphatically with a comprehensive victory over the Spaniards in the second leg.

Fernando Torres was the star of the show that day, the former Atletico Madrid star scored the opener against his old adversaries, Steven Gerrard added a brace and substitute Andrea Dossena added a fourth – scoring his first goal for the Reds.

Rafael Benitez’s side ‘outclassed’ Los Blancos over the course of the tie but went on to be eliminated at the quarter-final stage by their domestic rivals Chelsea.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Liverpool FC v Real Madrid CF – UEFA Champions League | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Five years later, former Manchester United man Cristiano Ronaldo was on the scoresheet for Real Madrid as they ran out 3-0 winners at Anfield. The pari were drawn together in the group stages, giving Madrid the chance to avenge the defeat they had suffered in 2009.

Karim Benzema was also on target, scoring Real’s second and third goals on the night. This was the first time Liverpool had ever been three goals down at half-time at Anfield.

Mario Balotelli was much criticised for his performance on the night and incurred the wrath of some supporters when he swapped shirts with Pepe at half time. He was replaced at the break by Adam Lallana.

Karim Benzema scored the only goal of the game in the return fixture just shy of the half hour mark.

Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool boss at the time made seven changes to the side that had faced Newcastle United in the Premier League the weekend prior and that meant leaving the likes of Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho on the bench….

Liverpool showed more attacking endeavour in the second half but failed to equalise and so the La Liga club completed a comfortable double over the Reds in Group B that season.

Some 37 years later, Real Madrid finally got their revenge on Liverpool for their European cup final defeat in 1981.

The two met in the Ukrainian capital in the 2018 UEFA Champions League final but Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool suffered a heart-breaking defeat. A combination of Gareth Bale’s brilliance and a disastrous display from Loris Karius contributed to the outcome – leaving the Premier League side heartbroken.

Still, Liverpool made up for it a year later…



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