There may not be an ongoing Champions League by this time next week. The Premier League season, too, could well end up suspended. Increasingly, it appears as though that’s the likeliest outcome no matter that the league itself will be desperate to avoid it.
For now, though, while we wait for the proverbial other shoe to drop, we’re left to sort through a season that for now at least is ongoing—and Liverpool’s departure from the Champions League, in large part thanks to the away goal rules and extra time.
“What I have to say, and will be saying at the next UEFA coaches’ meeting, is what I think is unfair,” was the somewhat surprising reaction from Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone when asked about the advantage his side gained from playing extra time at Anfield.
“Today we had 30 minutes of extra time to score. Liverpool never had that. We had 30 more minutes to score an away goal. The rule favoured us today but it might go against us in the future. Liverpool had 30 minutes fewer to score an away goal. That’s wrong.”
It’s a quirk of the current away goal rule that most clubs would much rather get the second leg—or, in essence, the second half—in front of their own fans but that if that second leg goes to extra time the home team is suddenly at a significant disadvantage.
For now, though, that disadvantage is the reality. As is the reality of Liverpool having otherwise played well enough that they only have their own poor finishing to blame—not to mention an uninspiring first leg performance—for not winning the tie in regulation.