Liverpool Legends 3 (Owen 24', Aldridge 50', Fowler 66', Gerrard 71') - 3 (Congo 80, Morientes 81', De La Red 90') Real Madrid Legends
Liverpool and Real Madrid legends shared seven goals and some wonderful football as stars of the past came together to put on a seven goal display in an entertaining 90 minutes at Anfield, raising money for the LFC Foundation.
It wasn't thrilling, nor fast-paced, but the likes of Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, Clarence Seedorf and Luis Figo did not disappoint. Steven Gerrard, the star of the show, sealed the win with a finely taken goal in front of the Kop, ignoring cries from the crowd to shoot every time he touched the ball to neatly finish below the goalkeeper.
Gerrard's former team-mate, Michael Owen, opened the scoring early in the first half, grabbing a poacher's effort in the six yard box as Gerrard found him with a clever cross from the right.
Former hero John Aldridge could have had a hat-trick but departed with a back post tap-in, Robbie Fowler had a cheeky exchange with the Kop before converting a Gerrard-won penalty and Real Madrid started trying shortly after Gerrard made it four.
That late flurry of goals from the visitors nearly threatened to spoil the party but Ian Rush's XI held on to win.
No they're not. It's full time! What a lovely time we've all had. Now - to the athlete's watering hole to enjoy a delicious cup of fresh water.
Liverpool 4 - 3 (De La Red 90') Real Madrid
De La Red! The star of such games as Pro Evo - he's scored a header at the back post! Real are back in this!
Real could level this up if things stay the same! There are a queue of players waiting to convert at the back post...
The only and only Phil Babb comes off for John Arne Riise, who played the first half. McAteer has just skinned two Real players with a clever turn but is muscled off the ball straight after.
OOOOCHA! Seedorf absolutely destroys a shot from 30 yards, it comes flying back off the crossbar and lands back at his feet! I'm not sure I've ever seen that before!
Liverpool 4 - 2 (Morientes 81') Real Madrid
Morientes! Liverpool have thrown away a comfortable lead here! A poor back pass by Phil Babb gives Morientes time and space to pick his spot inside the area and he finds the top corner.
Liverpool 4 - 1 (Congo 80') Real Madrid
And they get their goal. Salgado shoots from 25 yards, the keeper parries and Congo is there to tap into an unguarded net.
Rush and Kennedy are on now. Can Real take advantage of the elder Liverpool Legends? Does it really even matter?
Liverpool 4 (Gerrard 78') - 0 Real Madrid
And it pays off! Gerrard ghosts his way into the box, takes advantage of poor defending and with a great first touch sets himself up for the volley. He finishes superbly into the bottom corner on the volley.
Every single time Gerrard gets the ball he is being urged to shoot now.
Seedorf hits two free-kicks straight into the wall, Liverpool get the ball clear. Real Madrid have pushed higher up the pitch now and are trying to make things happen around the box.
Here's Robbie Fowler swearing at the Kop as they boo him for not letting Gerrard take the penalty.
GOOOAAALLL offside. Real have the ball in the back of the net but the linesman's flag was up.
Fowler goes off for David Thompson, Luis Garcia is replaced by Diro.
Who is Diro.
Aaaaah it turns out I mean Diao. Salif Diao, to be specific.
GERRARD HITS THE BAR! He's quite good, this boy.
The crowd roars at Gerrard to shoot as he gets within 30 yards of goal and he obliges, launching one off the bar on his right foot.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 25, 2017
Real Madrid subs
Figo off, Congo on, McManaman off, Llorente on.
Fowler makes it three!
Liverpool 3 (Fowler 66' pen)- 0 Real Madrid
Fowler finishes in the right of goal, Dudek goes the wrong way.
GERRARD GOES DOWN IN THE AREA! It's a clear dive from Gerrard who is brought down by the keeper... well it looks like it might not be a dive on second inspection actually. Either way, Liverpool have a penalty and Fowler is going to take it.
FOWLERRRRRRR off the bar! Gerrard finds Fowler in space inside the box and he smacks one at goal with his left foot but it cannons off the underside of the bar and bounces away.
Aldridge should have two goals! He's just missed an open goal at the back post!
And now he should have three! Technically two... because he wouldn't have had that chance had he scored the first one... but anyway. Aldridge pops up at the back post again but can't convert a cross on his left foot and as punishment is immediately substituted.
In case you weren't sure, he wasn't subbed as punishment.
Here was Liverpool's second goal:
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 25, 2017
Didi Hamann goes off, Gary McAllister comes on. McAllister, incidentally, is one of the only footballers/celebrities I've ever been slightly star struck by when I bumped into him in [name drops a TV station]. But that's a story for another time.
Gerrard gets a big reception from the Kop as he goes over to take a corner. He honestly looks like he'd be alright in the Premier League still.
The corner comes to nothing, Real try to counter but Liverpool defend well as Carragher intercepts a forward pass.
Liverpool 2 (Aldridge 50') - 0 Real Madrid
Gerrard attacks down the right, cuts the ball across goal and gives Aldridge a tap in. It's one of those goals that teenagers always score against you on Fifa 17 and one which the entire Liverpool team celebrate with Aldridge. That's a lovely wee moment there.
Gerrard goes for a bicycle kick inside the 18 yard box but puts it well over.
McManaman is also wearing a different shirt number in this half. He's gone from 7 to 8, which is the most interesting thing I've noted from the opening few moments of this half.
Liverpool appear to be playing three at the back now.
We have some changes! Dudek and McManaman are going to play for Real Madrid in this half, Phil Babb and Stephane Henchoz are on for Liverpool. Sander Westerweld is in goal for Liverpool, John Aldridge is also on the pitch now.
And that's all for a moderately exciting first half.
Gerrard has been Liverpool's best player by far today. He spots a chance to break at speed, nicks the ball over a tackle and suddenly it's two on two. He has Garcia ahead of him and tries to find him with a through ball but overcooks it.
Stevie G has a chance to shoot on the edge of the box shortly after as Riise tees him up... but he hits it too high.
There are training videos where Gerrard nails that shot every single time.
Savio fires wide with a powerful volley from inside the Liverpool box. That was flying at some speed.
Salgado has been absolutely everywhere today. Here he is in another photo:
Woof! What a goal that would have been! Owen has the ball just outside the D by Real's penalty area, looks up and posts Garcia in space and finds him with a delicate chipped pass. Garcia absolutely launches a volley at goal which the keeper has to palm over! That would have been amazing! But it's a corner. And now Real have the ball.
Great play from Real. Figo does a step over, feeds the ball left, a high cross is chipped to the back post and Savio chests it down and sets up Salgado for a smash at goal. Dudek saves well, low.
The game is currently being played at walking pace as Liverpool pass the ball around the final third, with nobody making any sort of off the ball run.
That's Riise and Salgado fighting for the ball. Owen has just gone round the keeper but forced wide. He chips to the edge of the box, Gerrard shoots on an awkward bounce and the goalie saves easily.
Liverpool 1 (Owen 24') - 0 Real Madrid
It's Michael Owen and it's 1-0 Liverpool. Gerrard drives forward, gets to the box and moves out wide right, pulling the defence apart and setting up the run for Owen in the six yard box between the centre-backs. Owen gets his head to the cross and scores. The crowd goes (slightly) wild(er than they were).
Seedorf is cruelly cut down by a mysterious grass ghost while trying to cut a pass across the box. The referee deems the tackle legitimate and so no penalty is given - Seedorf's wild swing at the ball results only in a goal kick for Liverpool.
Noooooooooo Roberto Carlos is coming off. On comes... I'm not sure who that is but I will investigate immediately.
Amavisca is the name of the man who replaces him. As we all know, Amavisca is a 45 year old ex-left winger who played for Real Madrid from 1994-1998.
That's the Liverpool players remembering Ronnie Moran in a minute's applause before kick-off.
Salgado has booted a shot about 30 miles wide of the post, Garcia has wasted a chance by hitting another shot way over the bar.
Owen is poaching around the penalty area looking to get on the end of anything that comes his way. He nearly gets a chance to score as Agger goes on a wonder dribble into the box (and by wonder I mean like when you somehow manage to dribble past two players at five-a-side) but is closed down quickly in the box.
And it should be 1-0. Luis Garcia blasts over from inside the box as Owen gets in at goal but has two snap shots blocked by defenders. Garcia misses what is essentially an open goal, but the ball was bouncing and it was a tough one to hit.
Real Madrid respond by getting forward. Figo cuts onto his left foot and hits a low shot towards goal but Dudek saves. And he didn't even do the jelly legs first.
Speaking of John Arne Riise:
Salgado overlaps on the right, tries to find a striker at the far post with an early cross and nearly catches Dudek completely by surprise. He scrambles back to try and tip it over the bar but can't get there... it's over for a goal kick.
McManaman yells "GO GINGER!", which is a request for John Arne Riise to make a run down the left wing. He finds him with a nice little switched pass.
And we have the first shot at goal! A short corner is whipped in at the corner of the box and is then headed wide.
And we have the second shot at goal! Figo is played in with a lovely bit of control from Seedorf, Morientes turns the defender and Figo is there about 14 yards out but blasts way over the bar.
Gerrard gets on the ball and the quiet crowd comes to life! Then he turns back and passes it inside. Liverpool look to be playing a 4-1-4-1 and I've just realised how utterly pointless it is pointing out stuff like that in a charity game. The players are just going to wander around wherever they want really. Except the centre-backs.
Michael Owen gets the ball in the box but can't quite turn his man and wins a corner.
Well, we're only 10 minutes late for kick-off but it's on! Real start the game.
Steven Gerrard looks exactly the same as he did five years ago. I'm most looking forward to seeing Roberto Carlos score from 80 yards with a free-kick.
Here come the teams
It's all laughs and jokes in the tunnel but will it be the same on the pitch? Or will a feistier, more competitive spirit rule the hearts and minds of these former superstars? The answers are about to unveiled!
Also the answers are... sort of.
Real Madrid 4-4-2
Here's their starting XI:
Contreras; Carlos, Sanz, Pavon, Salgado; De La Red, Savio, Seedorf, Figo; Karembeu, Morientes.
Weirdly, Karembeu is playing as a forward according to that list even though I'm pretty sure he was a central midfield player in his day.
Robbie Fowler in peak condition
"It's a made up position just for today. I'm going to be playing left up top... anywhere.
"I wanted to be fit for this game and look after myself but I've not really had time! It sounds ridiculous but it came up so fast.
"In my head I'm still 21. My body just isn't having it."
Christian Karambeu on Steve McManaman
"He's a great teammate but also a great man," says Karambeu, in a lovely little pre-match interview that the pair take part in. Whenever I think of McManaman, I think of this goal:
We were doing that down at the park the next day.
Ian Rush is taking this semi-seriously
"I think you've got to be confident, it's a very strong squad, they all seem fit and let's hope they produce what we know they can produce.
"We're there to entertain, we lost over there, our job is to get a result over here."
Half and half scarves
Still no word on the Real Madrid team
I really hope this means Zidane, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Di Stefano are going to play.
Patrik Berger has a golf injury
Patrik Berger has been ruled out with a "golf injury", leaving a round of golf on the 11th hole yesterday having injured his back.
HI EVERYONE! It's time for FOOTBALL! Or it will be at 3pm as the mighty Real Madrid play against the mighty Liverpool in a mighty game. Let's find out how mighty the starting XIs are:
Dudek, Kvarme, Carragher, Agger, Riise, Hamann, Gerrard, McManaman, Garcia, Fowler, Owen
Substitutes: Westerveld, Aldridge, Rush, McAteer, Babb, Henchoz, Kennedy, Smicer, Diao, Berger, McAllister, Thompson.#LFCRealLegends
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 25, 2017
It's Gerard Houlier and Rafa Benitez's teams from the early 2000s then.
What is it?
It's Liverpool legends vs Real Madrid legends, a match raising money for the LFC Foundation.
When is it?
Saturday March 25.
What time is kick-off?
It's a 3pm start at Anfield.
What TV channel is it on?
If you're in the UK or Ireland, you can watch the match on LFCTV by tuning into channel 429 on Sky or 544 on Virgin Media. The Liverpool website will also be showing the match live.
What is the team news?
Here's how Liverpool are lining up:
Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos and Emilio Butrageno will be among those featuring for Los Blancos greats.
What are they saying?
“I’m feeling very confident,” the club’s all-time record goalscorer told Liverpool FC's website.
“It was a great game over there; that was a game we lost but believe we should have won. Coming to Anfield with a full house is really exciting and all the lads are looking forward to playing.
“For us, it’s half-time – we’re 4-2 down at half-time so we’re going into the game wanting two or three goals more to win.”
What's our prediction?
It'll probably be 6-5 or Liverpool - especially with the likes of Steven Gerrard featuring.