‘The better team went through’: Klopp gives honest verdict after Liverpool’s European exit

Jurgen Klopp before a match Credit: Alamy
Jurgen Klopp before a match Credit: Alamy

Jurgen Klopp gave a very honest assessment after Real Madrid beat Liverpool 6-2 on aggregate in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Liverpool took a 2-0 lead early on in the first leg at Anfield but then capitulated and were beaten 5-2.

They needed a miracle to overturn the deficit in the Spanish capital, but lost the second leg 1-0 thanks to a Karim Benzema goal.

Liverpool will only have the Premier League to focus on between now and the end of the season and need to secure a top-four finish if they are to compete in next season’s Champions League.

Klopp credited Madrid, who were the “better team” over both legs.

“Being 5-2 down is not a great result if you want to got through,” Klopp told BT Sport.

“You need to have a special performance and we couldn’t do that tonight. Real Madrid had the best chances, Alisson made two fantastic saves.

“The right team went through, we have to admit that. Knockout stages are like this. It’s not what we wanted but it’s what we got.

“You need moments in a game like this, if we scored in the first half it could have given us the spark but this is hypothetical. They were the better team in three halves of this tie and that’s how you go through.

“If we draw at home and play like we did tonight, we probably go out as well. We cannot come here and hope that we get something. We prepared for a special performance tonight but it didn’t happen.

“Nobody thinks ‘how could Liverpool go out’ and that’s probably the best sign that the right team went through and that’s how it is in the knockout stage.”

Former Blackburn Rovers striker Chris Sutton admitted after Wednesday’s defeat that it was always unlikely Liverpool would progress to the quarter-finals.

“It was always going to be difficult to turn this around,” he told BBC Sport.

“The one comparison I made is that in 2019, you felt they was really capable of doing it that season.

“It was quite a flat performance, I just think this season they have been so inconsistent in terms of performance levels and results.

“It is absolutely critical they make it into a top-four spot. That is what they have to think short-term.”

Liverpool face an uphill battle to finish inside the top four with Brighton enjoying a terrific season.

The Seagulls are currently six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with two games in hand, with Liverpool trailing both Newcastle United and Antonio Conte’s side.

READ MORE: Liverpool surrender to the inevitable as European masters Real Madrid run down the clock

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