NEWS STORY. 21/02/2023
Real Madrid overcame Liverpool at Anfield in the Champions League round of 16 first leg. One of the game's star performers with two goals, Benzema gave his thoughts on the win: "It was an important night for us. I would like to dedicate this match to our honorary president, Amancio, this win is for him. It was a match full of character and goals, we love the Champions League. It was very good, we started a little bit badly, we know that Liverpool and their fans create a lot of pressure, but after the first 20 minutes we saw Real Madrid".
"Football is always tough. They started the game better than us, 2-0 up after 14 minutes. We had to do better and we kept going until the end. One goal can change a game and that's what happened today. Many things can change in football, though. We're in good shape and we're going to have another fantastic game at the Bernabéu".
"Thanks to the Liverpool fans. And especially thanks to our fans because, as I always say, they are our 12th man".
Figures for the season
" I've not played much so far, but the important thing is that I'm contributing to the team with goals and assists, as I did today. I'm coming off the back of a season where I played a lot of games. I was injured after the World Cup and it's difficult to reach the top level. But I'm feeling gradually better, today I put in a good performance and I'm going to keep going".
Valverde: "Vini's performance lifted us"
"What Ancelotti said to us at half-time is important. He said a lot of things in a few words. He backed us at the right time and it helped us to get back on our feet. He told us that we could win, that we had to go out focused".
"We made mistakes and they scored two goals. That desire to keep a clean sheet and play a good game came crashing down, but we were able to fight back and show a lot of pride. The coach was very calm at half-time. He told us that we'd win, that we'd keep looking for the spaces, that we'd find them because we have the squad to do that".
"We started with Camavinga and I playing deeper to try to get the ball out and Modrić further up the pitch near Vini, Benzema and Rodrygo. But we couldn't get it working, we made mistakes and in the end we changed. I tried to play a bit further up to help press and win the ball back up top. A nice piece of play by Vini really boosted our spirits. We then got lucky with the second goal. Following that, playing more calmly and more simply, we created more chances.
"You have to enjoy these moments, it's not every day that you can win like this in a stadium like this and against such a historic team. We have to value everyone's hard work and of course keep working with humility because there's still the second leg to come".
Courtois: "Vini Jr.'s first goal gave us some breathing space"
"First of all, we'd like to dedicate the victory to Amancio, we've lost a legend. I was a little unlucky, but that's OK. It was a bit of a difficult pass from Carvajal, I controlled it well and I tried to pass it, but I saw Salah stood still. It bounced on my knee and well, it's bad luck. But we knew we could hurt them and Vini's first goal gave us breathing space. The same thing happened to Alisson and we went in at half-time level. We had some counter attacks and we know that we could cause them problems and that's how we won the game today".
"We always have the ability to react. Looking for something good in the midst of a bad situation, maybe that goal helped us to respond. My team-mates also told me not to worry. Everyone knows we have plenty to play with and plenty of goals, and that's how it worked out".
"It's always a pleasure to play here, especially in the Champions League. It's the first time I've played here in the Champions League, I've played here in the league but it's different. There was a good atmosphere today and they know how to appreciate what Modrić and Benzema are doing and that's why they applaud them. That's the nice thing, they know how to appreciate good football".
Real Madrid favourites
"Madrid are always going to fight until the end. Liverpool are not the team of last year, they are more vulnerable at the back and we saw that today. But we haven't qualified yet and anything can happen with the new rule, it happened last year with Chelsea. We're not going to sit back, there are some very important games coming up and we have to carry on with the pace. There are still a lot of top teams in contention, but Madrid will always be one of the favourites".