The Reds eliminated from the Champions League after failing to put Real Madrid under substantial strain on Wednesday night.
Liverpool’s defeat at Anfield had left them requiring another miracle European comeback to reach the final eight, but it did not happen at the Bernabeu, with the defending champions extending their lead with Benzema’s close-range shot (78).
Darwin Nunez came closest for Jurgen Klopp’s side in an intriguing first half, but he was twice denied by Thibaut Courtois, but Liverpool were thankful to their own goalkeeper, Alisson, for keeping Madrid at away with a series of saves before their goal.
Madrid, who defeated The Reds by the same scoreline in last year’s final, will now attempt to win the cup for the 15th time, leaving Klopp’s side with a top-four finish in the Premier League as their only remaining goal in a painfully disappointing season.
Liverpool’s next Premier League match comes on Saturday, April 1, after the international break, when they face Manchester City at 12.30pm.
Due to the Cottagers’ FA Cup participation, their scheduled match against Fulham this weekend is therefore reset.
The Reds and their losing points
Klopp cast caution to the wind with his starting lineup, which included an extra striker in Diogo Jota, so it was unsurprising that Real Madrid found room to attack early on.
The opening chance belonged to Liverpool, with Courtois save Nunez after Mohamed Salah had beaten Antonio Rudiger, but a slew of Madrid chances followed.
The combination that terrorized Liverpool in the first leg, Benzema and Vinicius Junior, threatened an early goal when the latter’s cut-back narrowly escaped his teammate, and the visitors needed their goalie to rescue them shortly after.
Alisson’s point-blank save from Vinicius was superb, and he saved Liverpool again when he acrobatically deflected Eduardo Camavinga’s long-range attempt onto the crossbar.
Luka Modric blasted another strong long-range shot barely wide, but Liverpool quickly grew into the game, with Nunez and Cody Gakpo both missing headed chances before the former drew a fantastic one-handed save from Courtois with a curling attempt.