LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters)
Holders Real Madrid produced a stunning comeback from two goals down to earn a devastating 5-2 victory at Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie today (February 21).
In a re-run of last year’s final, the first half was played at a ferocious pace, with the hosts racing into a fourth-minute lead through a superb Darwin Nunez flick – the quickest goal Liverpool have ever scored at Anfield in the Champions League.
Anfield erupted 10 minutes later when an horrendous miscontrol from Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois left Mohamed Salah with the simple task of slotting the ball home to make it 2-0.
Yet just as they did on several occasions en route to their 14th European Cup crown last season, Real quickly turned things around, with Vinicius Jr. scoring one sublime strike and one fluke goal after another goalkeeping mistake to level the match by halftime.
A bullet Eder Militao header completed the turnaround for Real early in the second half, sapping all the life out of Anfield in the process.
The hosts’ misery was not done there, however, as Karim Benzema’s double ensured Liverpool shipped five goals at home for only the third time this century in all competitions, leaving them with a monumental task to reach the quarter finals.