Pretoria News

Klopp: We lost in Madrid

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LIVERPOOL failed to overturn their first-leg collapse against Real Madrid, with a 0-0 draw at Anfield on Wednesday ensuring their exit from the Champions League, and manager Jurgen Klopp had no doubt where the blame lay.

The deficit from the 3-1 defeat in Madrid could have been wiped out in the opening 20 minutes with the chances Klopp’s side created. Their first-leg performanc­e gave them too much to do at Anfield, and their poor finishing wrecked any chance of a turnaround.

“You always need the key moments. We didn’t lose the tie tonight, we lost in Madrid. It was uncomforta­ble for Madrid. We were good, aggressive, had chances,” he said.

“We didn’t score, and then the experience of Real Madrid played the tie (out),” he said. Mohamed Salah missed early chances, and the attacking trident he forms with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane looked nothing like the deadly forward line of the past two seasons.

“We know how often Mo Salah finishes these things with closed eyes,” said Klopp.

“Not here. Tonight, it was absolutely okay, but we are out.”

Midfielder James Milner felt the team had approached the game in the right spirit, but agreed their finishing had let them down. “The performanc­e, intensity and desire was good. But you can’t not take the chances we had, and that was the difference,” he said.

“We were obviously the better team. We did enough to win the game.

“We wanted to come out of the blocks and set that tempo. If we had played that first leg with the same intensity, it would have been very different. Ultimately, we weren’t good enough over two games,” he said.

It has been a season of underachie­vement for Liverpool, sixth in the Premier League, and it could get worse if they fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League, an outcome which would have financial repercussi­ons.

“We love this competitio­n, and for other reasons, it is very important we are back in it. “We can now concentrat­e on the Premier League, and we will,” said Klopp. |

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