clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

"Devastated" Liverpool Will Regroup in Time to Face Manchester City on Sunday

New, comments

Liverpool's exit from the Europa League came under dramatic and disappointing circumstances, but Simon Mignolet and Martin Skrtel are bullish on the squad's chances at bouncing back quickly against Manchester City on Sunday.

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Regardless of whether or not they're actually all that dramatic, it seems a matter of habit that losses in penalty shootouts are described as "heartbreaking." It makes sense considering the context; one doesn't participate in a penalty shootout unless something significant is at stake, meaning that there's either progress in a cup competition or a trophy on the line. To not advance or miss out on pyrotechnics and club-colored confetti by such narrow margins is of course disappointing, but there's something about penalty shootouts--and maybe more accurately, the emotions with which the losing side are left to confront--that brings out the heavy hyperbole.

Considering that, it's no surprise to hear members of Liverpool's squad and their manager use this type of language in the wake of their loss at the Ataturk. For 70-plus minutes they looked poised to move on to the round of 16 despite tired legs and a set of questionable decisions by Brendan Rodgers, but a wonderful goal from substitue Tolgay Arslan leveled the tie in the 72nd, and after extra time failed to produce a winner, they went to penalties.

The penalties themselves were anything but disappointing, as both sides comfortably converted their spot kicks through nine chances total despite the pressure. For Liverpool it was Rickie Lambert blasting through Cenk Gonen, Adam Lallana sending Gonen the wrong way, Emre Can coolly slotting in the bottom corner, and Joe Allen--seriously, Joe Allen, pressure-cooker penalty-taker--leveling the shootout at four-all with a perfectly-placed effort. After Arslan found the net again, putting Besiktas up 5-4, Liverpool had no response, as Dejan Lovren pushed his spot-kick over the bar and Rodgers' side out of Europe.

For Lovren it did seem a devastating reality, as he's suffered through a nightmare season on Merseyside and was finally set for some redemption at the site of one of the club's greatest ever European moments. That it wasn't only compounds his indvidual misery, but for the squad as a whole, there was not a clear sense that this was the type of loss that could derail a season.

Both Simon Mignolet and Martin Skrtel made comments that underlined their disappointment, with the Belgian goalkeeper--who was again excellent and kept Liverpool in the lead with a string of good saves--describing the result as "devastating" and Skrtel making mention of the disappointment they feel.

Both were also quick to point out their confidence in the squad's ability to regroup in time for Sunday's crucial Premier League encounter against Manchester City, with Skrtel stating that Liverpool are "disappointed now, but I think we have to forget about this quickly because in two days' time we have a big game and we have to be focused on that one." Mignolet echoed that sentiment, noting that "it's another big game and we need to try to get back to winning ways. We have to focus on the job in hand."

At this point, short rest and injury worries are far more concerning than any residual emotional impact from dropping out of the Europa League. Mildly disappointing, sure, but no need for hyperbole or hype. Liverpool were, ultimately, not good enough to advance, and they'll have to learn some hard lessons by a season fraught with failure on the continent. Getting themselves back into position to apply those lessons is now the priority, and despite the quick turnaround time, they have a chance to edge themselves closer to that position.