In a first leg which may go on to decide the tie, the Spanish giants took full advantage of a dumbfounded Liverpool side through some outstanding individual performances on their part and some horrendous mistakes from Jurgen Klopp’s side.
✔ Toni Kroos: 7.7
In a match that saw Madrid put out a thread-bare side, Zidane knew his team’s chances relied upon his experienced midfielders grabbing the tie by the scruff of the neck and wrestling control of it. And that’s exactly what Toni Kroos did in the 27th minute.
With time and space to pick out his pass, Kroos lofted a wonderful through ball over the Liverpool defence to cut the defensive pairing in half and allow Vinicius Junior to run onto the pass and fire the ball into the back of the net.
Like a seasoned quarterback, Kroos pulled Liverpool apart and gave his side exactly the kind of confidence boost they needed to go on and win the match.
✖ Trent Alexander-Arnold: 5.5
After being dropped by the England national team, all eyes were on Trent Alexander-Arnold to see if he could prove his critics (and England manager wrong). Unfortunately he did quite the opposite.
After an uncomfortable and nervous start to the game, the Liverpool full-back greeted a long ball over the top with a horrendous header back to his goalkeeper, which in fact ended up bouncing into the path of Marco Asensio to chip over the goalkeeper and double his team’s lead.
⭐ Vinicius Junior: 8.9
With just one goal in 16 games since the turn of the year, there’s no doubt that Vinicius Junior was one of the players that was awarded a starting spot in Zidane’s team due to the long list of injuries in the Madrid squad.
However, unlike most of his performances for Madrid this season, the Brazilian striker had a directness and purpose to his game that made the most of a second-rate Liverpool team.
His first goal came just 27 minutes into the game thanks to the aforementioned incredible pass from Kroos. And following Asensio’s second for Madrid and a consolation from Mohamed Salah, Vinicius Jr once again popped up to a second and kill off the tie when Luka Modric laid the ball off to him to stick the ball in the corner of the net.