By their standards this season, Liverpool played a relatively good game against Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League quarter final last night. They were aggressive, avoided slip-ups at the back... but failed to score. Jürgen Klopp was contemplative in his post-match comments, lamenting their first-leg performance:
We started the game really well. We didn’t lose the tie tonight, we lost the game in Madrid, it was clear.
If we had gone 1-0 up it would have been a different game but because of the experience of Real Madrid and their situation we had to chase the game and they controlled the game and had counter-attacking chances themselves.
With two good performances we would have had a better chance.
Despite the result, there was still a tinge of optimism in his comments, noting the strange results that have occurred this season:
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.
It is a little bit ourselves this year 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 finished these type of things. We had many situations and we could have created more because the football we made was better.
We pined for the Premier League for a very, very long time, but the Champions League is arguably the competition for Liverpool FC. The club now realistically needs a perfect end to the season, preferably aided by some slip ups on the part of other clubs, to sneak into the top four and secure qualification for the competition next year. It’d be a massive pity not to have those European Nights with the fans (possibly?) back in attendance next season... but this injury problems all across the pitch, and this cold spell in front of goal this cursed season has felt like being on a ship that springs leaks every other day so... just hold on to your butts.