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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

Real Madird boss Ramos praises Liverpool defence

Real Madrid coach Juande Ramos praised Liverpool's defence for a job well done after seeing his side's Champions League hopes take a dive at the Bernabeu.

Madrid went into Wednesday night's first leg against Rafael Benitez's men having won each of their last nine Primera Liga matches and having netted 10 goals in their previous two outings.

But the Spanish giants could not find a way though a well-marshalled Liverpool backline and barely even had a chance of note as the visiting 2005 Champions League winners claimed a 1-0 victory thanks to Yossi Benayoun's late headed goal.

Ramos said: ''Liverpool have to be credited for their defensive work.

''Our intention was to score a goal at home and record a good advantage to go into the second leg, and they haven't given us any space. Liverpool were very well organised in defence tonight.

''There were hardly any chances and at the end it has been a set-piece that they took advantage of that separates the teams.''

The ex-Tottenham boss admits Liverpool's tactics came as no surprise to him.

''I think that Liverpool played how we expected,'' he added. ''They've tried to keep a clean sheet and it's us who had to take risks.

''We've tried to create chances, but they've defended well. We brought on Guti to try and open them up. The game was developing how we thought but we couldn't find the breakthrough.''

Despite suffering only his second defeat since replacing Bernd Schuster in the Bernabeu hotseat before Christmas, Ramos still felt his team could turn things around at Anfield and progress through to the quarter-finals.

''We are going to fight and work hard in the return match to see if we are capable of winning at Anfield. It's a bad result but we are confident for the return leg,'' he said.

''We are only halfway through the tie and we have the desire and hope to win at Anfield and we are going to fight with all our strength to achieve it.''

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