Liverpool’s first leg loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final was just another painful memory for Reds fans in their rivalry with the Spanish club.
Madrid won 3-1 in the European giants’ first meeting since the 2018 final, which Real Madrid also won 3-1 thanks to Gareth Bale’s stunning goal and a nightmarish performance from Loris Karius.
However, the vivid memory of the flagship game in Kiev for Liverpool fans is something that happened in less than 30 minutes.
Mohamed Salah, Liverpool’s best player by a country mile this season, has been forced to leave following a clash with Los Blancos captain Sergio Ramos.
The ‘Egyptian king’ sustained a shoulder injury as Ramos tackled him to the ground as the two attempted a 50-50 ball. Salah’s final was over and Real Madrid were in the ascendancy from that point on.
The Spaniard’s backlash was enormous. He received death threats, while Liverpool supporters petitioned UEFA and FIFA to impose retrospective punishment on him, something more than half a million people have since signed.
Ramos, who recently tested positive for coronavirus, was not involved in the first leg last week due to a calf injury – and he will not play a role in the second leg at Anfield tonight either.
But statistics certainly suggest Ramos is not the player Jurgen Klopp’s side should fear the most.
Karim Benzema, who scored the opening goal in the 2018 final by capitalizing on Karius’ sloppy passing attempt, has had joy against Liverpool in the past, even though he didn’t score in the first leg.
In fact, in European Cup / Champions League history, no player has scored more goals against Liverpool than Benzema, who has four goals against them.
Didier Drogba is the only player to be up to the French, who will desperately want to complete his record against the six-time European champion.