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The Reds produced a brilliant defensive performance to nullify and then edge a disappointing Real Madrid.'s Sulmaan Ahmad rates the players...

Real Madrid

Casillas (7): Generally solid in coming for crosses and distributing. Saved well when he had to and was as good as powerless to stop the goal.

Ramos (7): A strong showing up and down the right-flank. Gave Riera no joy and put in some tantalising crosses as well. As the game wore on, he began to get a little more impatient, but remained solid.

Pepe (6): Very physical in a man-to-man job on Fernando Torres. He was better at some times than others.

Cannavaro (8): A fully accomplished display. Looked unflappable at the back as the last line of defence. Several clean challenges, good clearances and distribution.

Heinze (3): Very clumsy in possession and committed a pointless and reckless foul that cost his side the game. Is without question the weak link in this team.

Robben (6): Flickers of promise, but double-marked very well by Fabio Aurelio and Javier Mascherano. Can see he is still clicking through the gears after the recent niggle halted his red-hot form. Some searing shots, but ultimately still yet to get back to his best.

Lass (7): Not quite as good as he has been in recent games, but this has been the sternest test of all. Still, fought well, and generally saw more and did more with the ball than his opposite number.

Gago (7): The same said of Lass can be said by his diminutive partner in crime in central midfield. Though not at his refined, he saw plenty of the ball and did the simple things right.

Marcelo (6): Attempted to stretch the play, but was rarely given the right pass or given the space to run with the ball and cause some real problems. Had a clean strike that went straight at Pepe Reina. Slightly unlucky to be withdrawn, but a tactical switch was needed at half-time.

Higuain (6): Looked his inventive self, but was well-marked and not able to create any clear chances.

Raul (6): Ran tirelessly and had one half-chance early on. Again, given very little space in which to operate and not much service, either.


Guti (5): Came on to inject creativity and failed. A couple of decent set-pieces, but ultimately sat too deep for too long to make any difference in the danger zone.


Reina (7): Tidy in goal, saving and catching everything that came his way.

Arbeloa (7): A generally solid performance in which he was positionally precise and never caught out.

Carragher (8): Air-tight man-marker and ball-blocker extraordinaire. Nothing got through the stopper, who was skipper for the night in the absence of Gerrard. In a deep-set defence, he can at times be impossible to bypass.

Skrtel (8): Put in a physical and disciplined showing in defence, keeping it all very simple and remaining unruffled.

Aurelio (9): Man of the Match not just for marking Robben to near-perfection, but also providing a perfect cross from the free-kick that produced the winning goal.

Benayoun (8): Defensively excellent, tracking back well to assist Alvaro Arbeloa. Did little else otherwise, until popping up unmarked to head home a strong winning goal.

Mascherano (8): Did excellently to double-up with centre-backs and full-backs whenever he was needed. Read the game well and ensured Madrid had no joy.

Xabi Alonso (8): Closed down Madrid players diligently in midfield and had an audacious effort from inside his own half that Iker Casillas had to tip over. Very composed in possession.

Riera (6): Was nullified by Sergio Ramos, but did track back well to help deal with Robben.

Kuyt (6): Playing off Torres, Kuyt battled well and made life awkward for the Madrid defenders on occasion. He also regularly tracked back into midfield as the extra man.

Torres (6): Chased every lost cause, often left alone up front. Had one decent chance and made the most of it, forcing a one-handed save from Casillas. Was pulled after an hour, having picked up a knock earlier in the game.


Babel (6): Worked hard but was not able to really have any kind of impact on the game.

Gerrard (n/a).

Sulmaan Ahmad,