Thibaut Courtois delivers dig at Liverpool in painful reality check after Real Madrid rout

Thibaut Courtois delivers dig at Liverpool in painful reality check after Real Madrid rout

Thibaut Courtois says “vulnerable” Liverpool are not the side they were a year ago as the Real Madrid goalkeeper stuck the boot in following last night’s Champions League hammering.

Two of the most successful clubs in the competition’s history met in the first leg of their last-16 tie at Anfield, in a repeat of last season’s final.

Liverpool briefly looked on course to avenge their 1-0 defeat in Paris after racing into a 2-0 lead - helped by a Courtois howler - but Vinicius Jr.’s superb strike on 21 minutes kickstarted a remarkable comeback as both the Brazilian and Karim Benzema scored twice in a 5-2 victory for the Spaniards.

“We knew we could hurt them and Vini’s first goal gave us breathing space,” Courtois said. “We had some counter-attacks and we know that we could cause them problems, that’s how we won the game today.

“Madrid are always going to fight until the end. [But] Liverpool are not the team of last year, to be honest. They are more vulnerable.”

Even with the away goals rule a thing of the past, Liverpool face the daunting task of having to win by three clear goals just to force extra time when they travel to the Bernabeu in three weeks’ time.

Jurgen Klopp’s side had looked to be returning to form just in time for the Champions League’s return, with encouraging victories over Everton and Newcastle heading into last night’s game, but after their bright start, wilted in alarming fashion.

“I think Carlo [Ancelotti] thinks the tie is over - and I think it as well in the moment,” Klopp said. "But in three weeks - that is how it is in these moments - the closer you get to the game, the bigger our chances become and the less likely that the tie is over.

"But tonight with a 5-2 when you see the game, they are pretty good in counter-attacking... we have to score there three goals and take some risks. That could be a bit tricky.

"If that's possible or not right now I don't know but that's what we will try and from there we will see."