Cristiano Ronaldo played down the significance of his personal duel with Barcelona's Lionel Messi after helping Real Madrid to a morale-boosting pre-Clasico triumph at Liverpool.
The Portugal forward broke his six-match duck at Anfield with a superb opener to edge within one goal of club icon Raul's all-time Champions League goalscoring record on Wednesday, with Karim Benzema's brace wrapping up a 3-0 win before half-time.
The result kept Carlo Ancelotti's side perfect in Group B and allowed them to turn their full focus to Saturday's mouthwatering first clash of the season with arch-rivals Barca.
The match will see reigning Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo renew his rivalry with four-time previous holder Messi, but the former Manchester United man has acknowledged the game will not just be about the teams' respective superstar forwards.
"It will be a difficult match because Barcelona are playing well," he said on http://www.realmadrid.com. "I'm not going to play against Messi, I'm going to play against Barcelona. They are a great team. Real Madrid and Barcelona are playing each other."
Uruguay striker Luis Suarez could make his debut for the Catalan giants after serving a four-month ban for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.
Barca head to the Bernabeu having beaten Ajax 3-1 at the Nou Camp on Tuesday - meaning they will have had an extra day's rest with Real in action on Merseyside 24 hours later.
The fixture scheduling has not gone unnoticed by the European champions, with Ronaldo expressing his bemusement after Wednesday's game, but he insisted Real were in confident mood and were not looking for advance excuses.
"We're not going to make any excuses, but I don't understand why they put the match on Saturday," Ronaldo said.
"It is a difficult match and all footballers know that an extra day's rest is significant. Cup matches aren't so important. However, I don't want to make excuses because the team is fine and confident."
Ronaldo's strike against Liverpool got him within touching distance of Raul's 71-goal mark, but he maintained his main concern was the win rather than any personal feat.
"I'm not worried about beating the record but I am very happy about the good job," he said. "The best thing is that the team won and got three points. It was a perfect night.
"It is a very important victory. I had never won or scored here. I feel good. The record is not the important thing. The important thing is playing well, playing attractive football."
Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 3 player ratings
Liverpool 0 Real Madrid 3 player ratings
1/22 Liverpool: Simon Mignolet
Could do nothing about the first two goals but the third was a defensive mess. Made one very fine save from Cristiano Ronaldo - 6/10
2/22 Glen Johnson
If it was not Ronaldo sprinting down Real's left, it was full-back Marcelo, adding up to a difficult night for Johnson, who also allowed Karim Benzema a free header for the second goal - 5
3/22 Martin Skrtel
Beaten by the brilliance of Ronaldo for the first goal then outmuscled by Pepe for the third - 5
4/22 Dejan Lovren
This was a thoroughly uncomfortable night for the Liverpool defence as a whole, but Lovren fared a little better than his team-mates - 6
5/22 Alberto Moreno
An early threat going forward but given a tough time by Real's attacking triumvirate - 5
6/22 Jordan Henderson
Worked hard but gave the ball away too often as Real overpowered Liverpool in midfield - 5
7/22 Steven Gerrard
Began brightly and tested Iker Casillas with a fine shot in the 11th minute. Thereafter occupied trying to stifle Real's attacking threat - 6
8/22 Joe Allen
Had one of Liverpool's better efforts on goal in the first half but outclassed in midfield - 5
9/22 Raheem Sterling
Looked Liverpool's most dangerous attacker, with his pace troubling Real, but too often had to try to do the whole lot himself - 6
10/22 Mario Balotelli
Retained despite heavy criticism but very ineffective and hauled off at half-time - 4
11/22 Philippe Coutinho
Looked bright to start with before fading as Real took over. Hit the post with a fine effort at the end of the first half before being substituted in the second - 5
12/22 Iker Casillas
The veteran Spain goalkeeper was making his 143th Champions League appearance, equalling all-time record holder Xavi. His form has been shaky but dealt with the few threats that came his way very capably - 6
13/22 Alvaro Arbeloa
The former Liverpool full-back enjoyed a good tussle with Sterling and then Lallana - 6
14/22 Raphael Varane
Not too much to worry about for the young French defender - 6
Set up the third goal with his persistence and had a comfortable night in defence - 6
A real presence in Real's attack and Liverpool did not manage to exploit the gaps he left - 7
A fine, energetic performance from the midfielder - 7
18/22 Luka Modric
Instrumental in Real's control of the midfield - 8
19/22 Toni Kroos
Immaculate in front of the back four and set up Benzema's goal with a fine cross. Booked for fouling Sterling - 8
20/22 James Rodriguez
Had to be patched up after an early blow to the head and had done little until his lovely chip set up Ronaldo - 7
21/22 James Rodriguez
Two goals for the Frenchman and it might have been more - 8
22/22 Cristiano Ronaldo
The former Manchester United man, not surprisingly, was greeted by plenty of boos. He had scored more goals this season than Liverpool's entire team and it took him only 23 minutes to add another sublime strike. A constant threat and substituted with Saturday's Clasico in mind - 8
Midfielder Isco was thrilled with the manner of his side's success and felt it sent the right message ahead of the weekend blockbuster.
"The whole team deserves the credit," the 22-year-old Spain international said. "It's not easy to win here and even less so in the way that we did, and that gives us a boost for the Clasico. We can't wait for Saturday."Reuse content