Zinedine Zidane has revealed that he gave a specific “order” to his forwards to exploit Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson.
Liverpool went into this game on the back of an impressive 3-0 win over Arsenal at The Emirates.
After Alexander-Arnold was left out of Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad, he returned to form against the Gunners as he helped the Reds to victory.
But on Tuesday night in Madrid, Marco Asensio, Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior had a lot of joy against Liverpool’s backline.
Vinicius Jr specifically had a superb game as he tormented Alexander-Arnold down the left flank.
The 20-year-old had one of his best ever games in a Real Madrid shirt as he bagged a brace. He opened the scoring in the 27th minute before Asensio doubled their advantage nine minutes later.
Liverpool had a good spell after the break and Mo Salah got them back into the game. But Vinicius made it 3-1 with 25 minutes of the tie remaining.
Madrid are in control heading into next week’s second leg at Anfield. During his post-match press conference, as cited by the Liverpool Echo, Zidane suggested that he told his players to utilise long balls against Alexander-Arnold and Robertson:
“Liverpool’s fullbacks go forward a lot, so it worked out well for us and for Vini.
“There was an order to look for long balls behind them when we recovered the ball.”
Zidane also insisted after the game that his side have “won nothing” yet:
“Liverpool is the opponent and we know they are going to leave all they have on the pitch, I have no question about that.
“We just need to be ready. It is going to be a very good second leg match and we will need to do the same thing in the second leg.
“We are happy with the result but we have won nothing. We are happy with the performance and what the players have done is huge after a lot of difficulties in our season.
“There is a long road ahead and we are alive. Today is the first leg but we’ll know we’ll have a second leg and our idea is to think that we go into that and the result will be 0-0.
“For us, we are happy but we have another complicated game for the second leg.”
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