Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Five things we learnt from Liverpool's thrashing at Anfield

Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 3

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1. Liverpool have no case  for the defence

It cost them the title last season and has not improved over the summer. Liverpool’s defence just did not turn up. Again. James Rodriguez’s delightful chip took out three players before Cristiano Ronaldo made the stupendous look simple, while there were no meaningful challenges for Karim Benzema’s header.

2. Mario Balotelli fails to rise to the occasion yet again 

Struggling to adapt post-Luis Suarez and without Daniel Sturridge, the Reds expected more from Mario Balotelli. The Italian showed some neat touches but often tried too hard. His only goal for the club came in this competition but he was not on the same wavelength as his team-mates and seemed to know he was about to be subbed, swapping shirts with Pepe in the tunnel at the break.

3. Real Madrid are well set to end 25-year hoodoo

No one since Milan – including Real’s coach Carlo Ancelotti – in 1990 have retained the European Cup but this Real side look increasingly well set to break the hoodoo, bewilderingly strong up front and steadier at the back. Ancelotti may be celebrating again in Berlin in June.


4. No Bale? No problem, as Real cope without Welshman

Most sides deprived of their most expensive player  for a challenging match overseas would expect to struggle but Real made light of the absence of Gareth Bale. Isco is hardly an ineffectual replacement and fitted in seamlessly.

Mario Balotelli (left) trudges off at half-time

5. The Champions League has missed those Anfield nights

Everything about Liverpool v Real at Anfield sounds good and, despite the poor showing, that much-hyped atmosphere matched the occasion. You would hope Brendan Rodgers finds a solution to his problems as they belong in this competition, not least because of their fans.