Former Real Madrid forward Jorge Valdano said on Monday night that he would swap Vinicius Junior for Kylian Mbappe, if given the chance.
On Tuesday night, the Brazilian gave his response, scoring two goals in what might be a career-changing performance against Liverpool in the Champions League.
Vinicius was a nightmare for Trent Alexander-Arnold all night long at Valdebebas. As usual, the youngster looked dangerous in and around the penalty area. This time, though, he found a finishing touch to beat compatriot Alisson twice and hand Los Blancos a commanding lead going into the second leg.
Although Mohamed Salah did breach Real Madrid’s defence in the second half, Nacho and Eder Militao were superb. Real Madrid didn’t miss either Sergio Ramos or Raphael Varane, with their second-string centre-back partnership doing more than enough to stake their claims for a starting spot when the first choice pairing returns.
Toni Kroos gave a lesson in precision, composure, technique and tempo at Valdebebas, pulling the strings in midfield. It was his pass that set Vinicius on his way for the opener and his ball that Alexander-Arnold headed towards Marco Asensio for the second goal.
After goals against Atalanta, Celta Vigo and Eibar, Asensio made it four in four against Liverpool. The Spaniard’s hot streak continued with a calm flick over Alisson and finish for Real Madrid’s second goal. Maybe he should’ve done better with a counter attack in the 63rd minute, though.
Liverpool did not have their best evening at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, which Jurgen Klopp belittled before the game. It wasn’t even half time before the German made his first substitution, sending Thiago on to try and get a grip on the game.
It can’t quite compare with Lorus Karius but Alexander-Arnold’s mistake gifted Real Madrid a second goal in the first half. Liverpool looked shaky at the back all evening and looked far from the team that has been champions of Europe and England in recent years.