Liverpool had, if we’re being honest, a shocker away at Real Madrid tonight.
Jürgen Klopp’s two big selection choices – Naby Keïta over Thiago and Diogo Jota over Roberto Firmino – completely misfired. The side lacked a total ability to retain the ball in midfield, and really struggled to knit things together in the final third. 3-1 felt like, if anything, a let off that we got an away goal to take back to Anfield.
The manager was pretty honest about how it went.
“If you want to go to the semi-final, you have to earn the right to do so”, Klopp told BT Sport, as reported by BBC Sport. We didn’t do that tonight, especially in the first half. The only good thing I can say, apart from the goal, is it’s only the first half of the tie.
“We just didn’t play good enough football to cause Real Madrid more problems.
“We made it too easy for them. These mistakes can happen. We didn’t deserve a lot more but that one goal and the second half was OK. It gives us a lifeline.”
Klopp’s decision to take off Keita before the end of the first half is “not a big story. I don’t like it. He wasn’t the only one. It was tactical. I could have done a few more changes in that moment.
“[We lacked] Intensity with the ball especially. You cannot defend the speed of Real Madrid when you give them the ball at the wrong moments. If you lose ball in the right moment it’s OK. We lost the ball, so many easy passes. You have really quick and world class players in one on ones. We have to be better in possession.”
That’s an understatement. Liverpool do have that away goal to take into the second leg, but this was a rough, rough night that needs to be put past very quickly.