Awful Karius, Outstanding Mane – The best and the worst rated Liverpool players vs Real Madrid

Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1 to win the Champions League for a third successive season, thanks to a sensational two-goal substitute appearance from Gareth Bale.

The Welshman did not start the final but beat Loris Karius with an overhead kick before beating the goalkeeper from 40 yards out as the Liverpool stopper had a night to forget.

Liverpool started on the front foot but were soon dealt a huge blow when Mohamed Salah went off injured in the 29th minute. The Egyptian international looked in pain after hurting his shoulder while battling for the ball with Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos. Salah tried to continue but couldn’t bear the pain before leaving the pitch in tears, being replaced by Adam Lallana.

Closely following the Egyptian was Real’s right-back Dani Carvajal, who was forced to depart through injury. He clutched his hamstring and hobbled off the pitch in tears.

After the game settled down, Madrid had the ball in the back of the net through Karim Benzema, only for the linesman’s flag to deny the Frenchman. Both the teams went back into the tunnel with the scoreline 0-0 at half-time.

Three minutes into the second-half, Isco struck the crossbar but the breakthrough came in the 51st minute in a bizarre fashion. After collecting the ball, Karius attempted to release the ball only for Benzema to quickly stretch a leg out and poke the ball in the empty net.

However, it didn’t take time for Liverpool to equalise. From a corner kick, Dejan Lovren headed the ball into the path of Sadio Mane, who poked the ball past Keylor Navas.

Following the leveller, Zidane took off Isco and introduced Bale and the Welshman wasted no time in making his presence felt. Bale hit a speculative effort from close range, before Karius spilled the forward’s goal-bound punch into his own net, which sealed a memorable victory for Madrid and their 13th European success.

Liverpool player ratings

Loris Karius – 2/10

An excellent save from Ronaldo at close range was his highlight of an otherwise forgettable night for the young German. Karius’ blunder for the first goal was the defining moment for the Reds, before he made an all-time howler by getting a weak fist on Bale’s long-range effort. The defeat in the Champions League final against Madrid will haunt Karius for a long time!

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8/10

The young Alexander-Arnold showed no signs of nerves as he attacked with a lot of energy and defended with equal gusto. He tested Keylor Navas with a low drive. Kept Ronaldo and Marcelo at bay for much of the entire game.

Dejan Lovren – 8/10

Lovren was excellent on the night, keeping Benzema and Ronaldo out of the picture. He overpowered Ramos to win the header and guide the ball into Mane’s path for the equaliser. The Croat worked extremely hard and must be proud of his individual display.

Virgil van Dijk – 7/10

Just like his partner Lovren, Van Dijk was composed at the back. However, he lacked the confidence in his passing. The Dutchman could do nothing about the goals Liverpool conceded.

Andrew Robertson – 8/10

Full of energy, Robertson was a great outlet going forward. He was sound defensively too, with a goal-saving tackle on Ronaldo in the second-half being the highlight of his entire game.

Jordan Henderson – 7/10

Henderson dictated the tempo of the game in the first twenty minutes with his sleek passing. He kept possession very well and kept things simple. Faded a bit after the interval as Real pressed but a performance that indeed deserves praise.

James Milner – 5/10

Milner started in Liverpool’s midfield but couldn’t influence the game at all. Showed great energy and character to fight back when the Reds chased the game. He made way for Emre Can late in the game.

Gini Wijnaldum – 6/10

Started very well as he pressed high up the pitch and unsettled the Madrid players. His influence dipped in the second-half and became a mere passenger when his team chased the game.

Mohamed Salah – 5/10

Mohamed Salah started brightly until his season ended when he entangled himself with Ramos and fell on his shoulder. It was indeed a pathetic ending for a player who has been Liverpool’s best throughout the season.

Sadio Mane – 8/10

Liverpool’s most influential attacker, Mane kept Real defenders on their toes with his pace and trickery. He scored the equaliser through Lovren’s header before hitting the post with a left-foot drive.

Roberto Firmino – 5/10

It was clearly not Firmino’s night but he worked his socks off throughout the game. The Brazilian rarely threatened the opposition and often cut an isolated figure.

Substitutes

Adam Lallana – 5/10

Lallana replaced Salah in the first half and understandably took time to get into the rhythm of the game. However, he offered nothing of note.

Emre Can – N/A

Came on for Milner late in the game.

Written by Rohan Sengupta

Hi, I am Rohan Sengupta from one of the busiest cities in India, Mumbai. A Journalism graduate with a keen interest in sports, football is something I simply cannot live without and writing, discussing and analyzing the game is what I do 24*7.
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