Oh, the pain! Ronaldo's Real Madrid outclass Liverpool - utterly
Liverpool went into their clash with Real Madrid with hopes of another magical night at Anfield.
There was certainly magic on the pitch, but precious little of it was wearing a red shirt: Brendan Rodgers’s side were annihilated, crushed long before half-time by the European champions in a terrifying display of dominance.
All the Reds’ could cling to by the end was the knowledge that they had stemmed the flow of goals.
Nine years ago, a Liverpool side went 3-0 down to a Carlo Ancelotti team in Istanbul and somehow prevailed.
That was never on the cards here.
Excellence vs incompetence
Their first goal was a demonstration of Real’s excellence, the next two of Liverpool’s incompetence.
Cristiano Ronaldo, mocked in some quarters for never having scored at Anfield before the game, slipped the ball to James Rodriguez.
The Colombian dinked a pass into the box and Ronaldo was there to divert the ball into the net. Two quality players making a difficult move look easy.
Seven minutes later, it really was easy.
Simon Mignolet punched a corner to the edge of his box, Liverpool struggled to clear their lines, looking lethargic and nervous, the ball fell to Toni Kroos and his slow, lofted ball was nodded up, over and into the back of the net by Karim Benzema.
If that was hard to take, the third goal was even worse.
Mignolet sped off his line to clear a loose ball, shot past it and Benzema was allowed to prod the ball into an empty net. Anfield, so full of noise as the start of the game, went very quiet.
There was no way back for Liverpool, even after the wretched Mario Balotelli was withdrawn at the break. He may have caused himself further problems by swapping shirts with Pepe as they approached the tunnel.
But that is all trivial. What counts is that Liverpool, back on the stage they believe to be theirs, were utterly outclassed.