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Benzema, Valverde react after Liverpool 2-5 Real Madrid: “Have to enjoy these moments”



Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Real Madrid bulldozed past Liverpool with a flabbergasting scoreline of 5-2 at Anfield late on Tuesday night. The result comes as a big boost to the Merengues’ chances of progression to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals as they now head into the home leg with a three-goal advantage.

Vinicius Jr and Karim Benzema were the stars on the night, scoring two goals each to pull off the comeback. They were helped on their way by a good effort from Eder Militao who also got onto the scoresheet.

Benzema, who did play against Osasuna at the weekend, spoke to the media after his impressive return to action. The club captain began his interaction by dedicating the win to Real Madrid’s honorary president Amancio Amaro, who unfortunately passed away earlier in the day.

“It was an important night for us. I would like to dedicate this match to our honorary president, Amancio, this win is for him,” he said.

The Ballon d’Or winner then went on to describe the team’s overall performance, the poor start to the game, and the eventual coming to the rhythm.

“It was a match full of character and goals, we love the Champions League. It was very good, we started a little bit worse, we know that Liverpool and their fans create a lot of pressure, but after the first 20 minutes we saw Real Madrid,” he said.

Liverpool were seemingly on their way to their first win over Real Madrid in recent times as they pounced to a two-goal lead. Benzema acknowledged the same but revealed that Vinicius’ opener turned the game around.

“Football is always tough. They started the game better than us, 2-0 up after 14 minutes. We had to do better and we kept going until the end. One goal can change a game and that’s what happened today,” Benzema stated.

“Many things can change in football, though. We’re in good shape and we’re going to have another fantastic game at the Bernabéu.”

Anfield produces one of Europe’s most electric atmospheres and is often called a visitor’s nightmare. Benzema thanked both sets of fans for turning up in massive numbers.

“Thanks to the Liverpool fans. And especially thanks to our fans because, as I always say, they are our 12th man.”

Finally, the Frenchman shared his thoughts about his difficult start to the season and the games he missed through injury. While the player admitted that he was in a difficult moment, he gave fans a reason to cheer with an update on his situation.

“I’ve not played much so far, but the important thing is that I’m contributing to the team with goals and assists, as I did today. I’m coming off the back of a season where I played a lot of games.

“I was injured after the World Cup and it’s difficult to reach the top level. But I’m feeling gradually better, today I put in a good performance and I’m going to keep going”.

Valverde insists the job is not done

One of Real Madrid’s key men (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Federico Valverde started the game in midfield, taking the place of Toni Kroos whom the manager chose not to risk. The Uruguayan has been one of Los Blancos’ most influential players this season and spoke to the press about Carlo Ancelotti’s half-time advice to kick-start his interview.

“What Ancelotti said to us at half-time is important. He said a lot of things in a few words. He backed us at the right time and it helped us to get back on our feet. He told us that we could win, that we had to go out focused,” Valverde said.

Having a manager capable of motivating the team even in the deepest of troughs is a blessing that cannot be described. Valverde ran the media through the emotions of the team in the first half and the period that followed, saying:

“We made mistakes and they scored two goals. That desire to keep a clean sheet and play a good game came crashing down, but we were able to fight back and show a lot of pride. The coach was very calm at half-time. He told us that we’d win, that we’d keep looking for the spaces, that we’d find them because we have the squad to do that.”

The midfielder then shed some light on Ancelotti’s tactics on the night and what was expected of him in what was a new position. He also ran through the changes he made to his game in the second half when the system worked better, as he said:

“We started with Camavinga and me playing deeper to try to get the ball out and Modrić further up the pitch near Vini, Benzema, and Rodrygo. But we couldn’t get it working, we made mistakes and in the end, we changed. I tried to play a bit further up to help press and win the ball back up top.”

Every team needs a spark to light up the morale and get them going. Valverde revealed that against Liverpool, it was a combination of luck and quality that did the trick.

“A nice piece of play by Vini really boosted our spirits. We then got lucky with the second goal. Following that, playing more calmly and more simply, we created more chances,” he stated.

Like a true professional, the Uruguayan concluded his interview by asking his team not to get ahead of themselves. He insisted that the tie was far from over with another leg to come.

“You have to enjoy these moments, it’s not every day that you can win like this in a stadium like this and against such a historic team. We have to value everyone’s hard work and of course, keep working with humility because there’s still the second leg to come.”

Source: Real Madrid official website

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Real Madrid News

Opponent watch: Chelsea defender injured during international break, doubt for Real Madrid clash



Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

In less than 20 days, Real Madrid will square off against Chelsea in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final encounter at the Santiago Bernabeu. And ahead of the game, the Premier League club might have been dealt an injury setback.

According to Mundo Deportivo, Chelsea right-back Reece James has sustained an injury while away on national team duty with England and could now be a doubt for the match against Real Madrid.

James is a key member of the Chelsea squad but has had multiple injury problems in the recent past. Indeed, the 23-year-old has played just 12 Premier League matches this term, having had to deal with two knee injuries and a hamstring problem.

James played just five minutes for England during their 2-1 win over Italy earlier this week but has seemingly picked up some discomfort in his thigh during that game.

As a result, he was released from the national team camp earlier today and the young right-back is already on his way back to London.

The official report from the England national team indicated that the Chelsea ace had sustained a minor hamstring injury and was returning to his club as a precaution. However, Mundo Deportivo is stating that his availability for the game against Real Madrid is unclear at this point.

Los Blancos drew Chelsea for the quarter-finals and will host the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu on April 12 before playing the second leg at Stamford Bridge a week later.

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