LONDON: Real Madrid strode back from an early 2-0 deficit to beat Liverpool 5-2 in a Champions League thriller at Anfield.

Darwin Nunez’s wonderfully taken goal gave the Reds the lead just minutes in, with Thibaut Courtois’s error capitalised on by Mohamed Salah ten minutes later who converted the easy opportunity presented to him.

Remarkably, Real’s two goals followed a similar pattern. Vinicius Junior’s powerful drive found the bottom corner for an eye-catching goal of their own, before he charged down Alisson’s clearance as they ball looped in for the equaliser.

Two well worked goals; two horrendous goalkeeping errors.

Éder Militão powered in a header unmarked from a corner early in the second-half, before the prolific Karim Benzema got in on the action.

The first had a hint of fortune, the second delivered with the expected class. A deflected shot wrong footed the Liverpool goalkeeper for Real’s fourth, with the striker then leaving the Reds defence looking lost as he converted the fifth.

Benzema said later: “We played with personality, we produced goals – we want this Champions League again and that produced a match which was lovely to play in and for those who were watching.

“We started a little poorly. We knew that the Anfield fans were going to put us under pressure but after those first 15 minutes we saw the true Real Madrid. Football at this level is hard. They started better than us but this was a big game and we were ready.

“When you know it’s a vital game and you’re 2-0 down you want more. A goal can change any game and that’s what happened from Vinicius Junior today. I want to thank our fans here, they were our 12th man all night. We’ll need them again in the second leg and we’ll need to produce a great match in the Bernabeu.”

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson said: “It’s hard to sum it up straight after the game. Mixed feelings. Frustration with the result.

“For large parts of the first half we performed well and were unlucky to be level at half-time. We made too many mistakes. Real Madrid punished us every time tonight.

“A lot was [down to] their quality. We didn’t help ourselves for sure. We didn’t defend it [Real’s third goal] well enough. After that there was a few balls we could do better. The game went away from us at that point.

“The last two games we kept clean sheets. It’s hard. it’s difficult to come here and speak. Yes, they have a lot of quality. When you’re not 100% defending they punish you. We caused ourselves problems at times. It’s a tough one to take in the end.

“We still played a good first half. We were on top and created some good chances. There was a good chance at 2-0, a scuffle on the line. If that goes in it’s a big moment. The second goal obviously is a mistake. The third we’ll be disappointed with. That’s when the game went away from us.”

Napoli win, too

Napoli’s fine season continued as a 2-0 win away at Eintracht Frankfurt put them in a commanding position to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

Serie A’s runaway leaders had little issues en route to their victory – ten shots on target met by the hosts’ one with a clear gap in attacking quality.

Part of Napoli’s overall xG was a penalty, although Khvicha Kvaratskhelia failed to convert his first-half spot kick.

It did not cost them though, as the in-form Victor Osimhen netted before the break to put them ahead in the tie.

Despite it being a one-goal deficit, it was already looking like a mountain for the Bundesliga club to climb, and things were made even worse when star forward Randal Kolo Muani was shown a straight red just prior to the hour mark.

Giovanni Di Lorenzo made it two shortly after, and the Italian outfit look set to take their spot in the last-eight.