Jurgen Klopp admitted he couldn’t even get angry as Liverpool exited the Champions League in tame fashion with a 6-2 aggregate loss to Real Madrid.
- Reds beaten 1-0, 6-2 on aggregate
- Exit at last-16 stage for first time since 2020
- Face battle qualify for next season
WHAT HAPPENED? Karim Benzema’s 78th-minute strike completed a comfortable 6-2 aggregate success for Real at the Santiago Bernabeu, as a timid, tentative Liverpool were unable to produce one of their famous European comebacks in the Spanish capital.
WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking in his post-match press conference, Klopp said: “We came here with the backpack we had with the three-goals difference [from the first leg] so you need a special performance and we didn’t show a special performance tonight. In moments it was a good performance but Real Madrid were the team in control for most of the game. They had the better chances. If you want to get through, you need to be outstanding. If you want to win the game, you need to be really good, and Madrid was the better team and that’s why the right team went through to the next round.
“I was not angry after the game, I was disappointed. I would be angry if we would have played better and it was close and they won because of a penalty which isn’t a penalty or things like that, but in the end that all didn’t happen. Real Madrid was just the better side. I’m long enough in the business to respect that.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The Reds now face an uphill battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League, currently sitting six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham and facing away trips to Manchester City and Chelsea, plus a home meeting with Premier League leaders Arsenal, in their next three games.
Klopp said: “It is the competition and we want to be a part of it every year, and that’s now a massive task for us. We all know that. When we come back from the international break we have a proper football week ahead of us, I would say, with three games – City, Chelsea and Arsenal. They will probably define where we get out of it. People might say we lost it at Bournemouth but I think this week is a pretty decisive one. We have to hope now the boys come back healthy and early enough and in the right shape and we will try it.”
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT FOR LIVERPOOL? The Reds are now not in action until April 1, when they travel to Manchester City in the Premier League.