Real Madrid vs. Liverpool: 4 burning questions after a 3-1 victory

Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior
Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid knew they needed to put in a complete performance to beat Liverpool at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, and with Barcelona coming this weekend before next week’s second leg, the pressure was on Real to deliver at home.

And they did just that.

Los Blancos were missing their own center back duo, in addition to right back Dani Carvajal, but their defense held up against Liverpool’s vaunted attack. Meanwhile, the Reds were torn apart by Vinicius Junior and a well-executed Zinedine Zidane gameplan.

Here are four burning questions in the aftermath of Real’s tremendous victory.

Was this Vinicius Junior’s big arrival?

Vinicius Junior was the best player on the pitch by some distance. The Brazilian left winger dominated from the start of the match until he was taken off for fellow youngster Rodrygo Goes. From the get-go, he was getting behind the defense and giving right back Trent Alexander-Arnold fits off the ball.

In the 27th minute, Vinicius scored the match’s first goal, beating Alexander-Arnold and Nathaniel Phillips over the top by getting in between them. Toni Kroos’ pass was perfectly placed, and Vini’s touch off his shoulder was arguably just as good. And his finish was pinpoint, as he showed great composure in nestling the ball into the bottom corner.

Vinicius scored again in the 65th minute, with another composed finish after a pass from Luka Modric. His goal returned a two-goal lead to Real Madrid after Mohamed Salah had slipped one past Thibaut Courtois minutes earlier.

Even after his brace, Vini was still getting into great positions. He could have scored if Marco Asensio had found him with a pass on a counterattack, and he could have assisted if Asensio showed more composure in holding off his man.

Nevertheless, Vini was untouchable. After a great performance against Atalanta, Vinicius stepped up with an even more complete display against Liverpool, adding a finishing touch to his electric dribbling and nonstop motor.

It seems like Vinicius, who has always played well on big stages, has arrived as a true Champions League star. And it feels like destiny.