Champions League
Real MadridReal Madrid1LiverpoolLiverpool0

Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool

By Mike HensonBBC Sport
Karim Benzema scores Real Madrid's opener against Liverpool
Karim Benzema scored two of Real's goals in their 3-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield a fortnight ago
  • Reds make seven changes to starting XI
  • Gerrard, Sterling, Henderson and Balotelli on bench
  • Benzema scores only goal of game
  • Liverpool three points off second-placed Basel in Group B
  • Bale makes injury comeback as substitute

A much-changed Liverpool fought hard but came up short against Real Madrid as Karim Benzema scored the only goal in their Champions League match.

The Frenchman turned in Marcelo's low cross after Simon Mignolet had done well to keep out efforts from Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez.

Liverpool threatened briefly after the break as Adam Lallana fired just wide.

But Real remained in control and Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling's arrival off the bench could not turn the tide.

Despite the slimmer margin of victory, the game petered out in a similarly low-key style to when Real enjoyed a 3-0 win in the reverse fixture at Anfield a fortnight ago.

In possibly the biggest gamble of his managerial career, Brendan Rodgers made seven changes to the starting XI that lost to Newcastle at the weekend, with Mario Balotelli and Jordan Henderson joining Gerrard and Sterling on the bench.

All shooting, no celebrating
Cristiano Ronaldo's run of 13 successive goalscoring appearances came to an end, leaving him one short of Raul's all-time Champions League record of 71 goals.
It was not for the want of trying though. The Portuguese attempted 10 shots - seven more than any other player on the pitch.

Instead, Kolo Toure, who has seen less than a minute of Premier League action this season, started in defence, behind a midfield trio of Emre Can, Lucas and Joe Allen, with the willing Fabio Borini in attack.

Liverpool's line-up seemed to suggest damage limitation, rather than a revenge mission, at the Bernabeu.

If minimising their losses was Rodgers's aim, he succeeded, but some will struggle to understand his approach to such a big game.

The result, and team selection, will be thrown into even starker light should Liverpool fail to get a result at home to Chelsea on Saturday, when some of their rested first-choice players are likely to return.

And promising performances from several of Rodgers's second string will not alter the maths of Group B, in which Liverpool find themselves three points behind second-placed Basel with two games to play.

Their line-up may have seemed more in keeping with the Capital One Cup than the Champions League, but the changes initially appeared to unsettle in-form Real.

Liverpool made a similarly promising start at Anfield, though, and Mignolet was still required to make sharp stops from Rodriguez and Ronaldo.

The Merseysiders held out only four minutes longer than they managed on home turf before Marcelo stole a march on Lazar Markovic on the left to set up Real's opener.

The full-back's measured cross was met by Benzema as he darted in front of Toure and the visitors appealed in vain for an offside flag.

Liverpool reached half-time without registering a shot on goal but, more importantly, despite being penned back on the edge of their own box, survived without conceding a second.

The Reds emerged for the second half to a rousing chorus of You'll Never Walk Alone from the travelling fans, and they responded with more attacking endeavour.

Alberto Moreno and Lallana both caused moments of alarm with snap-shots, before Borini saw a free-kick deflected wide.

But it was the hosts who created more openings, with Benzema side-footing over on the stretch and Gareth Bale hitting the bar after being introduced on the hour.

Gerrard, Sterling and Philippe Coutinho came on soon after, but a late sucker punch never arrived.

Instead it took a timely foul from Moreno to stop Bale as he shaped to let fly with his left foot and Real probed at the growing defensive gaps.

Check out the best of Tuesday's Champions League photos in our gallery on the BBC Sport Facebook page.external-link

Liverpool's team to play Real Madrid
Liverpool made seven changes to the starting XI that lost to Newcastle on Saturday
Steven Gerrard and Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli and Steven Gerrard found themselves among the substitiutes
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo remains one goal short of Raul's all-time Champions League goal record after failing to score for the first time in 14 appearances
Steven Gerrard, Gareth Bale and Adam Lallana
Gareth Bale, centre, was at Southampton at the same time as Liverpool's Adam Lallana


Real Madrid

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Casillas
  • 17ArbeloaSubstituted forNachoat 83'minutes
  • 2Varane
  • 4RamosBooked at 60mins
  • 12MarceloBooked at 76mins
  • 10RodríguezBooked at 53minsSubstituted forBaleat 62'minutes
  • 19Modric
  • 8Kroos
  • 23Isco
  • 9BenzemaSubstituted forHernándezat 87'minutes
  • 7Cristiano Ronaldo


  • 3Pepe
  • 11Bale
  • 13Navas
  • 14Hernández
  • 18Nacho
  • 26Medrán
  • 35Torró


Formation 4-3-3

  • 22Mignolet
  • 19Manquillo
  • 37SkrtelBooked at 47mins
  • 4K Touré
  • 18MorenoBooked at 85mins
  • 23CanSubstituted forCoutinhoat 75'minutes
  • 21LeivaSubstituted forGerrardat 69'minutes
  • 24Allen
  • 50MarkovicSubstituted forSterlingat 69'minutes
  • 29Borini
  • 20Lallana


  • 1Jones
  • 2Johnson
  • 8Gerrard
  • 10Coutinho
  • 14Henderson
  • 31Sterling
  • 45Balotelli
Viktor Kassai

Match Stats

Home TeamReal MadridAway TeamLiverpool
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Real Madrid 1, Liverpool 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Real Madrid 1, Liverpool 0.

  3. Post update

    Offside, Liverpool. Raheem Sterling tries a through ball, but Javier Manquillo is caught offside.

  4. Post update

    Marcelo (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Javier Manquillo (Liverpool).

  6. Post update

    Offside, Real Madrid. Javier Hernández tries a through ball, but Gareth Bale is caught offside.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Toni Kroos (Real Madrid).

  8. Post update

    Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Real Madrid. Javier Hernández replaces Karim Benzema.

  10. Post update

    Offside, Liverpool. Raheem Sterling tries a through ball, but Fabio Borini is caught offside.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

  12. Booking

    Alberto Moreno (Liverpool) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  13. Post update

    Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Alberto Moreno (Liverpool).

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Real Madrid. Nacho replaces Álvaro Arbeloa.

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Marcelo (Real Madrid) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

  17. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Isco (Real Madrid) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Cristiano Ronaldo with a cross.

  18. Booking

    Marcelo (Real Madrid) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Marcelo (Real Madrid).

  20. Post update

    Raheem Sterling (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

As It Stood


1Atl Madrid430110379
4Malmö FF410329-73


1Real Madrid4400112912
2FC Basel42026606


1B Leverkusen43017349
3Zenit St Petersburg411234-14


1B Dortmund44001311212


1Bayern Munich33009189
3Man City302134-12
4CSKA Moscow301238-51


4Apoel Nicosia301213-21


3NK Maribor302128-62


1FC Porto321010377
2Shakhtar Donetsk31209275
3BATE Borisov3102214-123
4Ath Bilbao301224-21
View full Champions League tables

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