Liverpool were hoping for payback for their Champions League final loss to Real Madrid a few years back but on Tuesday, the Premier League side once again failed to live up to the expectations vs Zidane’s men.
Real Madrid won the 3-1 thanks to some authoritative play in almost every area of the pitch and much like Liverpool’s recent games, they did not know how to respond.
The defence was particularly poor on the night as all the three goals could have been avoided if Liverpool had shown a little more awareness. But according to manager Jurgen Klopp, not only the defenders but his attackers also failed to prove their worth.
The Liverpool boss said after the match: “That’s how it is when you lose a game, you have to face all the criticism and I have no problem with that. I saw a lot of good pressing situations, to be honest.
“You know when Real Madrid is forced to play long balls onto the chests of our centre-halves without a striker around, that’s a good situation. You cannot win these balls always where you want to win it. The problem was then that we gave the ball away too easily. For a really good game you have to gain this really good feeling step by step by step and we never had that in the first half.
“It never felt really right for us, I don’t think we had a shot on target in the first half, which is not a good sign for a football game and that’s the problem that we didn’t get through. Half-time, very important, have a break, get the chance for a restart – that’s what we tried to do. We scored this one goal and we were then better in the game, much better in the game.
“We were not superior or whatever, but we were much better in the game and could have scored a second one and that would have been great for us. It wouldn’t make the first half better but it would have made the result better.
“That’s the situation now. With all the problems we had tonight, Real Madrid had to score at least one goal with us giving the goal away and the other goals were because of mistakes from us as well.
Naby Keïta wasn’t just hooked for his play in possession as many have suggested, but he also wasn’t fulfilling the defensive responsibilities required of Klopp’s right-sided 8
Often Trent would be left 2v1 with Mendy & Vinícius because Keïta wasn’t positioning himself correctly pic.twitter.com/2vVeJQE9Oi
— Premier League Panel (@PremLeaguePanel) April 7, 2021
“That’s the situation and if we don’t make these mistakes and if we play better football, both of which we can do, then it is a new game and we will see how the result will be then.”
The improvement in the second half of the match counted for very little as Real Madrid’s goalkeeper was hardly troubled. In fact, Liverpool managed only a single shot on target during the 90 minutes.
Naby Keita was handed a start so that Liverpool have more energy in the middle of the pitch but for all of the first half, Real Madrid managed to bypass Keita and play around him, forcing the manager to bring in Thiago. Thiago did help to up the tempo in the middle of the pitch but most of Liverpool’s passes went sideways which helped the Madrid defence to maintain their shape without much pressure.
This is not the first time that Liverpool have failed to break down an opponent this season and with each failure, players like Salah and Sadio Mane look even more clueless and out of ideas.
Stats courtesy Whoscored.