Full-time - 90'
0 - 1
UEFA Champions League
19:45 +00:00, February 25, 2009
Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
Referee: Roberto Rosetti
Well, an excellent night for Liverpool is complete and Rafa Benitez has a precious win at the Bernabeu. Real Madrid, it has to be said, were pathetic, but Liverpool put them away and are huge favourites to go through to the quarter finals. Thanks for your company. See you next time..
The Bernabeu is emptying very quickly as Liverpool edge towards victory...
Kuyt comes off and Lucas is on. It's all about running down the clock for Liverpool now.
Three minutes added as the first chorus of 'You'll Never Walk Alone' rings out. Looks like there's some bother in the crowd too.
Well, unless they are transformed in the next two weeks Liverpool will breeze past this lot at Anfield, even in their patchy form of late.
Now it's Real pumping the ball upfield after having run out of ideas. I honestly reckon Newcastle would have given them a decent game tonight.
Oh look, Stevie G's coming on! Riera is given a blanket by the medical staff as he hobbles off.
That's a terrible tackle from Gago on Riera. He's lucky only to see a yellow for that. It was a horrible rake to the shin and deserved red.
Well, Liverpool do it again. They sit back, invite pressure and nick a goal on their rare forrays upfield. Don't get me wrong though, they probably deserve it, but only because Madrid have been lamentable.
That epitomises Real tonight. A rubbish free kick is nodded high and wide by Raul.
Riera is penalised for handball and gets booked. He'll miss the return leg now and Madrid have a free kick in exactly the same place Liverpool just did.
Well, that was all Heinze's fault. He had no need to give away a free kick but he did and Aurelio whips in a devillish ball which Benayoun flashes into the net from eight yards out.
Henize hauls Kuyt down for no reason at all and Liverpool have a free kick wide on the right. A crazy challenge.
Skrtel heads clear a Ramos cross but looked as if he caught Raul with a stray arm. Not intentional though.
Higuain proves himself to be utterly useless after finally finding space, having options right and left but choosing to dribble into traffic instead. Awful.
Diarra's slide rule pass is ruined by Robben's awful touch. It was his insistance on taking it with his left that cost him his balance.
Ramos wins the award for 'wildest attempt of the night'. He was searching for the net from the touchline for some reason.
Guti loses the ball three times in quick succession for being utterly laborious before Gago clatters Kuyt and concedes a free kick.
Heinze curls in an early cross but Reina comes a long way to claim it well.
Aurelio is penalised for high feet, largely because Robben screamed for the free kick like a little girl. The replay showed Robben's foot touched the ball. Does it really hurt that much?
Another poor corner and another Liverpool clearance.
Robben cuts inside after Kuyt failed to get the foul he was looking for and unleashes a dipping, swerving shot that Reina does well to tip over.
Alonso goes down after a collision with Guti, then the Madrid player is taken out by Gago. All very unsightly.
Robben cuts along the edge of the penalty area but refuses to unload because he was on his weaker right foot. He then spreads it wide for Ramos but his cross is too deep and no-one can profit from it.
Guti completely wastes the free kick. Madrid have been terrible so far, it has to be said.
Mascherano gets a yellow after clipping Gago. It was hardly GBH but Gago made it look like attempted murder.
A ricochet off Riera nearly falls into the path of Raul before a hopeful ball from Guti nearly breaks clear for Higuain. The Bernabeu is starting get a little restless...
Robben and Arbeloa set off after Heinze's ambitious ball. The touchline wins. Goal kick.
Higuain does a 'Robben' by nipping inside Aurelio and trying to cut the ball back for Raul. Carragher did well to shepherd him wide though.
Torres didn't look chuffed at all upon coming off. Whether that was disagreemnt with his manager's decision or annoyance at picking up an injury isn't clear. Think on.
Here comes Ryan Babel and bad news I'm afraid Liverpool fans, Torres is hobbling off. Oh dear.
Now Benayoun gets round the back before clipping a ball back for Kuyt. Pepe gets there in the nick of time to clear.
Alonso is next to take aim at Casillas' goal but his shot is blocked.
At last a neat move from Liverpool which snaked the length of the field and saw Banayoun charge at the Madrid back line before teeing up Riera who had his shot blocked by Cannavaro.
Robben buys a free kick off Carragher, who slipped into him. A cute foul which leaves Robben asking the ref to produce a card. Skrtel heads clear from the free kick.
Torres now gets a yellow for a little chop on Diarra. Frustration and nothing else from the striker.
Another woeful punt upfield from Liverpool hands Real possession. Meanwhile, Benitez is prepping Babel on the touchline.
A bit more speed about Real there which results in a shot from Higuain. Reina gathers without much fuss though.
At least Robben is still up for it, he beats Aurelio again but the move falls down when he has to use his right foot to cross as he shanks it behind.
I was saying there's an away goal here for Liverpool if they'd only go and get it.
Apologies. Our technology seems to be playing up a little. And yes I know, a bad workman and all that...
Liverpool should be having a go at these. T~here's an away goal there for the taking if they went a little bit more aggressive.
Panic from Casillas as Aurelio put a speculative ball into the box. The keeper parried it away and Benayoun turned it quickly to Kuyt who in turn crossed for Torres but Pepe nodded away.
Cannavaro is booked after wrestling Kuyt to the ground but Alonso's free kick is woeful and has Rafa shaking his head in disbelief.
Cannavaro wrestles Kuyt to the ground and is booked. Free kick in the right channel.
We're off again, with one change and one non-change to tell you about. Guti has replaced Marcelo, but Torres is still out there...
See you in 15 minutes...
Though Liverpool had the corner, they took ages to take it and the ref blew for half time before they could. A typically dull European first half involving Liverpool. Better in the seond half please...
Wow! Alonso nicks the ball off Gago and has a pop from all of 50 yards forcing Casillas to tip over!
At last, a flowing move from Real as Pepe, Ramos, Diarra and Robben combine prompting Carragher to concede a corner, from which a deflection nearly wrongfoots Reina.
Higuain this time creates a sliver of space but shanks his shot well wide. Then, in kind, Riera does the same at the other end.
Torres is still limping I'm afraid and Liverpool's medical team are preparing to give him extensive treatment at half time we understand..
Robben is at it again as he skips away from Aurelio, Mascherano and Riera ans guess what? Flash a shot two yards wide of the post.
The first glimpse of danger from Robben as he skips away from Riera. His flashing shot is two yards wide of the post though.
Robben goes down after a bump from Arbeloa. Soft.
Brilliant work from Mascherano again to close down Diarra. He may not have had a great season so far but he looks in good nick tonight.
Kuyt fouls Pepe. Real struggling to find any rythmn at all in the face of an obdurate Liverpool side. Marcelo makes a little space and has a go but his drive was always heading wide.
Benayoun challenges well in the box for a header and nearly sweeps a volley goalwards after Alonso won the loose ball. Real have looked shaky when Liverpool have got forward, but the visitors haven't done it enough.
Aurelio swings in a free kick after Pepe clipped Torres but Madrid clear their lines. Liverpool's fans serenade Benitez...
Should anyone remotely care, Stewart Downing has just scored a belter of a free kick to put Middlesbrough one up against West Ham in their FA Cup replay.
Torres still doesn't look entirely comfortable, but that may just be because he's being starved of the ball.
The ball is in the net but Higuain was a yard offside when Ramos nodded back across goal.
It's all very tight at the back for Liverpool because they have zero options up front at the minute. Carragher is forced to turn it back to Reina under pressure from Raul.
Riera whips a ball in from the left but no-one attacks it and Casillas claims. This has turned into a very dull game.
Mascherano's detail is obviously to help Aurelio tuck up Robben. He was across quick smart again to make sure the former Chelsea man couldn't get a ball in the box.
Torres is still off getting attention for his ankle kock, but it doesn't look too serious. Aye, here he is back on...
Torres has fallen awkwardly defending the corner and at the other end Benayoun gets on the end of another long downfield punt but Casillas was alive to the danger and came out to block.
Kuyt clears the corner before Heinze has an ambitious pop which flew over.
Corner for Madrid...
What Pepe was trying to do there I don't know. They were lucky to get away with that blip Madrid.
Pepe and Gago just stood there as the ball bounced from a Liverpool clearance into the path of Torres abd he nearly made them pay - Casillas with a great save to keep the scores level.
Liverpool get a rare chance to get a ball in the box from a Benayoun throw in but no-one gets near it. Then Pepe dispossesses Torres who was looking to run at him inside the area. First sniff for Fernando.
A nice turn from Higuain offers Robben a half chance but he is immediately crowded off the ball by a combination of Skrtel and Mascherano.
Carragher just lumps a ball upfield but it instantly comes back, then another solid sliding Mascherano challenge denies Robben a run at Aurelio.
Robben swings in another corner but Kuyt gets up to clear this one. As Real put the ball back in Marcelo hits a snapshot but Reina is equal to it at his near post.
Mascherano tidies up Riera's sloppy ball as Higuain looked to run at an isolated Skrtel. An excellent tackle from the little fella.
Back in Madrid Real swing a free-kick, then a corner into the box but Carragher is equal to both.
Chelsea are one up against Juve though Drogba.
Torres wins a flick on .... to nobody. Liverpool won't get anywhere with that tactic.
There's a cracking atmosphere in the stadium. Not always the noisiest is the Bernabeu, but their team is in good form and they're up for it this evening.
Aurelio again piles in on Robben and this time wins a throw in. Robben looks disgusted, the Liverpool fans love it.
The pattern is set; Real pressing, Liverpool soaking up and trying to hit on the break. What we need is an early goal..
Aurelio snaps straight in on Robben as Gago found him on the right. I can see that becoming a recurring theme of the evening I think...
Two aimless balls from Liverpool hand possession straight back to Real. Poor from Arbeloa there.
Raul gets his first opening as Robben played him in down the right channel but his shot from his weaker side didn't trouble Reina.
Alonso looks for Kuyt over the top but the Dutchman had strayed offside, then Torres trips Pepe and gets a howl of derision from his trouble. Exactly what he'd expect as a former Atletico player..
The game is only seconds old as Raul piles into Xabi Alonso and gets a ticking off from the ref. Spicy opening.
The teams are out and we are ready to go. The Bernabeu looks sensational...
So, how's this one going to go? My heart says a high-scoring thriller as Real throw caution to the wind. My head says Liverpool to first and foremost nullify Real's threat and grind out a low scoring draw in favour of doing the job at Anfield. You?
Real Madrid: Casillas, Ramos, Cannavaro, Pepe, Heinze, Robben, Diarra, Gago, Marcelo, Raul and Higuain. Subs from: Dudek, Saviola, Sneijder, Guti, Metzelder, Miguel Torres and Van der Vaart.
Liverpool: Reina, Aurelio, Arbeloa, Carragher, Skrtel, Riera, Benayoun, Alonso, Mascherano, Torres and Kuyt. Subs from: Cavalieri, Dossena, Hyypia, Gerrard, Lucas, Babel and Ngog.
The teams are out and the big news is that Gerrard is on the bench for Liverpool. Not a huge surprise after he only managed one training session prior to the game. Benayoun makes the cut and Alonso is back after being suspended at the weekend.
If you've not heard the latest, the English bookies earlier stopped taking bets on Benitez to be the next Premier League manager to sling his hook, but they don't always get it right. The club then hit back by saying the speculation was ridiculous. They didn't go so far as to say his relationship with the club's hierarchy was hunky dory either though. Because it isn't. At all.
Good evening one and all and welcome to the latest installment in the Liverpool soap opera as Rafa Benitez takes the Reds back to his spritual home in Madrid to face Real. It should be a fascinating Champions League tie.
Join us at 1945 GMT to see if Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez can overcome the critics and see off Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.
Rafael Van der Vaart
Miguel Torres Gómez