On Tuesday, Real Madrid defeated Liverpool 3-1 in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal, while Borussia Dortmund was left disappointed by a goal that was disallowed in its 2-1 loss to Manchester City.
Real Madrid looked a class above the reigning Premier League champion despite missing starting center-back pairing Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane. Vinicius Junior and Marco Asensio scored in the first half to put Real Madrid ahead.
Liverpool equalized through Mohamed Salah, but Real increased its lead with Vinicius’ second goal of the night with 25 minutes left.
It was the same scoreline as when the two sides met in the Champions League final in 2018, and Liverpool faces a difficult task in the second leg on April 14 at Anfield to overcome the two-goal deficit.
“If you want to go to the semifinals of the Champions League, you have to earn the right to do so,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told BT Sport.
“We didn’t do that tonight, especially in the first half … we just didn’t play good enough football tonight.”
Despite coming into the game off the back of a convincing Premier League victory over Arsenal the previous weekend, Liverpool was second best from the start.
The experienced midfield of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, and Casemiro took command of the game’s flow, and it was Kroos’ excellent through-ball that put Real Madrid ahead. Vinicius held the ball on his chest for a masterful control before shooting past Alisson in the Liverpool net.
Moments later, Asensio pounced on Trent Alexander-misplaced Arnold’s header from another Kroos pass, lifting the ball over Alisson and tapping home.
Salah took advantage of neat work by Georginio Wijnaldum and Diego Jota to finish past Thibaut Courtois six minutes into the second half, cutting the deficit to one goal.
However, poor passes and errant shots interrupted Liverpool’s flow, and Real Madrid was able to extend its lead when Vinicius squeezed a first-time shot past Alisson after slick buildup play by Karim Benzema and Modric.
In Tuesday’s other match, Manchester City defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-1 thanks to a late goal from Phil Foden.
Kevin De Bruyne scored the game’s first goal after driving the ball deep into Dortmund’s half before Riyad Mahrez and Foden combined to set up De Bruyne for the end.
In an eventful first half, City’s penalty decision was reversed after consultation with the video assistant referee, while Dortmund’s goal was ruled out after Jude Bellingham took the ball from Ederson.
Late in the game, Marco Reus leveled the game with a well-executed move that gave Dortmund a crucial away goal, only for City to reclaim the lead when De Bruyne’s ball into the box enabled Ilkay Gundogan to set up Foden for the game-winning goal. Dortmund, on the other hand, would believe it deserved a better outcome after Bellingham’s goal was disallowed.
“I definitely think I won the ball fairly,” the 17-year-old told BT Sport of the first-half incident.
“It’s a bit frustrating in the time that they’ve got so many cameras and so many TVs watching the game that they don’t wait for me to put it in the net and then check it.
“It’s football, it’s life and I’ve kind of got to get on with it really.”
Jadon Sancho, Bellingham’s teammate who was injured for the first-leg match, expressed his displeasure with the decision on Twitter, while Dortmund’s English Twitter account posted a series of question marks.
The tie’s second leg will be played in Dortmund next week, with City aiming to reach its first Champions League semifinal since 2016, and Dortmund aiming to reach its first since 2013.