Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid was a clash of style, system and attitudes of how the game should be played. It was a dramatic last-16 second league as Atletico knocked Liverpool out of the Champions League.
Liverpool thought they had overturned Atletico’s 1-0 advantage from the first leg when Firmino’s first goal at the start of the added 30 minutes gave them the lead in the tie.
Wijnaldum’s first-half header was a full reward for Liverpool laying siege to the Atletico goal for much of the first 90 minutes.
In the second half, Andrew Robertson was inches away from a winner only for his header to crash against the woodwork.
As Klopp sensed another memorable Champion League victory, Adrian, deputizing the injured Alisson Becker paid the price.
A tale of two keepers
Jan Oblak formed a formidable barrier for Atletico Madrid. The magnificent keeper underlined his reputation as one of the world’s premier shot-stoppers. He made nine saves and claimed countless crosses.
On the other hand, Adrian simply highlighted how much Liverpool miss Alisson when he’s not there.
Liverpool had established a measure of control through Firmino’s goal until Adrian hacked out a hopeless clearance. Llorente took advantage and shot beyond him into the net at the Kop end. From there on, Atletico became ruthless.
Klopp looked and sounded suitably downcast last week when he announced his first-choice goalkeeper had suffered a hip injury. He knew Alisson could make a difference to a Champions League tie that was always going to be decided on the finest of margins.
And so, it proved Liverpool’s morae and fighting spirit disappearing after Adrian’s mistake.
“We saw all the goals we conceded, we shouldn’t concede this kind of goals.” Said Klopp.
“Any mistake or lapse in concentration can cost you.” Added Henderson.
Later in his press conference, Klopp was insistent in his defense of his goalkeeper. “We don’t blame him for a second. He has saved us in so many moments since he has been here. He has had super performances. This goal didn’t help but that’s how it is.”
“it had an impact but it was one goal. We conceded two more goals after that. We didn’t score the goals. There were plenty of reasons why we didn’t go through.”
Alisson’s absence only adds a feeling of “what if” to this frustrating exit.