CM Toni Kroos
Man, where would we have been in this game without Toni Kroos? Somehow underappreciated by the mainstream crowd, Kroos’ masterful execution against Liverpool will likely get overlooked again by the bloviating pundits, too ignorant to understand Kroos’ vision and ability to maintain control. Liverpool’s press was great, but Kroos was even better.
The 30-year-old midfielder completed 92.7 percent of his team-high 82 passes and was inches away from an assist to Casemiro. Kroos also added three tackles, proving he can still contribute to the team in a positive manner defensively despite prior criticism and some struggles vs. Manchester City.
The 9’s continue with the 6, as Casemiro made up for any slow decisions on the ball or bizarre plays in the opposing penalty area with the kind of defensive performance that should be considered a clinic to anyone wanting to play this position.
Casemiro is the epitome of unselfishness in so many ways. The 30-year-old matched David Alaba with four tackles and three interceptions, though it felt like he had double those interventions with the amount of ground he covered and the amount of fires he put out against a brilliant Liverpool side. You cannot tell the story of this Champions League-winning season without praising Casemiro effusively.
CM Luka Modric
The basic stats will make you think that Luka Modric was invisible, but anyone who watched this game will tell you the exact opposite. Like his long-time partner Toni Kroos, Modric was indispensable in Real Madrid beating Liverpool’s press and surviving a difficult first half.
Still the world’s most complete midfielder, Lukita did so much dirty work and ball-carrying for the team, ensuring Real Madrid were never overrun despite purposefully observing massive amounts of early pressure from Jurgen Klopp’s side.