Liverpool’s faint hopes of overturning their Champions League round of 16 tie were put to an end by Real Madrid in Spain, and Madrid’s Thibaut Courtois has come out with a ‘punish’ claim following the statement victory.
Los Blancos punched their ticket to the Champions League quarter-finals with a cruising 1-0 victory over a toothless Liverpool at the Santiago Bernabeu thanks to a strike from Karim Benzema.
With a three-goal lead from the first leg, the hosts started the stronger of the two sides, with Vinicius Junior and Eduardo Camavinga drawing saves from Alisson early on.
Jurgen Klopp’s side grew slowly into the match, creating chances for both Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo, who forced Thibaut Courtois into a couple of fine saves.
With a large deficit to overcome in the second 45 minutes, it was expected that the Reds would come out all guns blazing, but they remained sloppy in midfield and unable to build any form of momentum.
As their hopes continued to fade, they were dealt a fatal blow when Karim Benzema fired home to take Real Madrid four goals clear, effectively ending the game as a contest.
Now, Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who produced a match-defining performance in goal, including four saves from inside the box, has come out with a theory on how the Reds’ approach played into their hands, suggesting that Liverpool fearful that Los Blancos could ‘punish them’ on the break if they went gung-ho in the game.
Courtois also acknowledged his opposite number Alisson after the encounter at the Bernabeu.
Speaking after the game, the former Chelsea man said: “It was a good performance from us. They tried to create chances, Alisson made a series of brilliant saves and until our goal came, we knew they were still in the game. Once we got that goal, the game cooled off a bit and we knew we were going to qualify.”
“They were also aware following the first leg that we could punish them in behind if they went too crazy but they were looking for that goal early on just like Chelsea did last year, and that’s when the game could have changed,” Courtois continued.
“We showed real authority and maturity in how we went about the game. That was the key, not overthinking too much.”