Nobody really expected Liverpool to overcome a three-goal deficit on the road against Real Madrid. Hoped, perhaps. But didn’t expect. However, most expected more than was put on display in Wednesday’s largely dull 1-0 defeat that saw the Reds only kept in it by the goalkeeping heroics of Alisson.
Now, the question is what comes next, with recent momentum in the league undone by a dire defeat to then last place Bournemouth last weekend followed up by Wednesday’s lethargic effort in Europe.
“We know what we’re capable of at our best,” said veteran James Milner. “Unfortunately, over the two legs and at times this season we’ve been at our best in spells but not enough and not consistent enough. Like I said, against a team as good as them and experienced as them you have to be on it for the whole two legs.
“That’s disappointing. We have to pick ourselves up, learn from it, and see where we can get better. It’s down to us that we have to finish the season very strongly. We’ve obviously got an international break now. Is it a good thing, is it a bad thing? Only time will tell.”
A postponed match against Fulham means the Reds don’t play again until April 1st when they head on the road against Manchester City in the early Saturday kickoff, a timeslot that has been far from kind to them this season. Then they face Chelsea and finally Arsenal over a difficult three-game stretch.
Having slipped up against Bournemouth, they have little room for error left in a top four race they appeared out of a month ago only to drag themselves back into it in a two steps forward, one step back kind of February and March. From here out, if they’re to have a chance, there’s no more room for steps back.
“Three big games when we come back,” Milner added. “They’re all big games now. We have to go into each game and hopefully keep performing the way we want to and be a bit more solid. It’d be nice to get a few more players back as well and hopefully can finish the season strongly.”