Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema believes his side fed off the Anfield crowd in their incredible comeback win over Liverpool on Tuesday, February 21.
Los Blancos fell behind by two goals inside the opening 15 minutes of the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round-of-16 tie against the Reds. Darwin Nunez opened the scoring with a cheeky backheel in the fourth minute, while Mohamed Salah netted 10 minutes later following Thibaut Courtois' error.
However, they drew level before half-time through Vinicius Junior's brace, which included a stunning curler and an error from Alisson Becker. Eder Militao gave Real Madrid the lead in the 47th minute before Benzema struck twice (55', 67') to seal a phenomenal 5-2 victory.
Speaking after the match to BBC Sport, the Frenchman acknowledged his side's poor start to the contest. However, he believes they found their true selves after Liverpool dominated the opening 15 minutes. Benzema said (as quoted by the Liverpool Echo):
“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.”
Benzema also stated that Real Madrid are keen to defend their Champions League crown, having beaten Liverpool 1-0 in the final to lift the title last season:
“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.”
The two teams will meet at the Santiago Bernabeu for the second leg on March 15.
Real Madrid break multiple records in brilliant victory over Liverpool at Anfield
Los Blancos became the first visiting team ever to score five goals at Anfield in European competitions. They also became the first team ever to win by a three-goal margin after facing a two-goal deficit in the UEFA Champions League.
On a more personal note, Real Madrid talisman Karim Benzema became only the second player to score in 18 consecutive Champions League seasons. Paris Saint-Germain superstar Lionel Messi is the only other player to have accomplished this feat.
The win also meant the Spanish giants are now unbeaten in their last five matches against Liverpool with four wins and a draw. The aggregate score from those meetings reads a resounding 12-3 in Los Blancos' favor.