No miracle in Madrid as Benzema helps Reds pack their bags

2022 finalists Liverpool are out of the Champions League after a 1-0 defeat on Wednesday sealed a 6-2 aggregate defeat to Real Madrid.

Karim Benzema returned to the Real Madrid team after missing the weekend with a minor injury.

That meant nine of the side which came back from 2-0 down to win 5-2 in their Champions League last-16 first leg at Anfield were given the responsibility of avoiding a major upset.

Toni Kroos and Nacho came in for Rodrygo and the injured David Alaba.

Liverpool’s midfield issues, with captain Jordan Henderson left at home due to illness and youngster Stefan Bajcetic ruled out for several weeks with injury, meant manager Jurgen Klopp dispensed with his favoured 4-3-3.

He brought in James Milner to sit alongside Fabinho and also named Diogo Jota in a 4-2-3-1 line-up as Harvey Elliott and Bajcetic made way from Saturday’s surprise defeat at Bournemouth.

Liverpool’s chances of staging a remarkable comeback diminished as every second ticked by and were eventually ended in the 78th minute.

Vinicius Jr completely missed his shot but Virgil Van Dijk allowed him a second bite and he squared the ball for Benzema to tap into an open goal.

There was a lengthy check on a potential handball by Kostas Tsimikas in injury time, but the referee correctly did not award a penalty after looking at the pitchside monitor.

More to follow…

READ MORE: Liverpool and Gerrard were nailed but Man Utd proved kneejerk reactions completely wrong

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