Liverpool paid the ultimate price for a dreadful performance in Madrid, according to Jurgen Klopp, as they tumbled out of the Champions League on Wednesday night.
Though Liverpool created a number of excellent chances, particularly in a brisk opening 20 minutes, Real Madrid – the competition’s grandmasters – were too streetwise and ground out a 0-0 draw at Anfield to set up a semi-final showdown with Chelsea.
Liverpool could take positives from their performance, as they looked more energetic and intense than has been the case during 2021, and it left Klopp bemoan the careless way they slumped to a 3-1 first leg defeat in Madrid as the reason their ambitions in the tournament are over.
Klopp said: ‘We didn’t lose the game (here). We lost it in Madrid. With two good performances we would have had a better chance, I would say. Even if we played there 0-0 we would probably still play as we didn’t score.
‘It was uncomfortable for Madrid. We were good. We were aggressive, we played some really good stuff, had massive chances in the beginning of the game. If we used one of them, it opens up. They had already struggles, it would have increased that.
‘But if and when isn’t interesting because we didn’t score and then with the experience of Real Madrid, they played it down.’
A statistic to show where Liverpool have struggled in the second half of the season shows they have had 139 shots at Anfield in 2021 but only managed to score three goals.
They fizzled out after missing good opportunities in the first period from Mo Salah and Gini Wijnaldum.
The onus is no on Liverpool to qualify for next season’s tournament and Klopp is determined there will not be a hangover during the final seven games. He says they still have much to play for and wants a perfect end to the campaign in terms of results.
Klopp said: ‘It is a little bit ourselves this year – without the finishing because we had ridiculous games here we should have won, not tonight but in the Premier League where we just didn’t finish, many times Mo Salah finish this type of things.
‘We had many situations and we could have created more because the football we made was better.
'We love this competition and it is for different reasons very important for this club. Now we can now concentrate only – unfortunately – on the Premier League but we will.
‘On Monday night Leeds is the next challenge, who are leading on all physical stats in the Premier League. Against Leeds we will have to run our socks off.
'I am naturally confident but that doesn’t mean we will end up (in the Champions League). We don’t have to talk too much about it.
‘If we want that we should play really good football which we did tonight. If we want to go through, we should finish the situations off on top of it. We have to keep going.’