Liverpool’s defence of their Champions League crown ended at the round of 16 stage as they were beaten 4-2 on aggregate by Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.
The Merseyside outfit were clearly the dominant outfit through the course of the double-legged tie but Atletico produced a solid defensive display and scored with four of their eight attempts on target.
As a result, the Reds have bowed out of the FA Cup and Champions League in the space of just one week but they are still on course to win their Premier League title with a maximum of six points required from their next nine matches.
Three things we learned from Liverpool’s Champions League exit:
Liverpool’s away form: The Reds were able to accumulate six points from their away games in the Champions League group stage but they were particularly disappointing in their key encounter at Napoli, where they succumbed to a 2-0 defeat. Against Atletico, the club suffered a similar fate with a slender 1-0 loss and surprisingly failed to muster a single shot on target. That eventually came to haunt them in the home leg at Anfield where Atletico sustained the pressure with crucial away goals in added extra-time. The Spanish outfit, however, required a top-class performance from Jan Oblak between the sticks as he made nine saves on the road.
The need for a better back-up goalkeeper: Klopp’s side faced elimination from the FA Cup and Champions League within a space of seven days and in both occasions, Adrian featured in goal. Adrian was impressive for the Reds during the first half of the season when he deputised for the injured Alisson but of late, he has been susceptible to errors. On Wednesday, he was largely responsible for the opening goal scored by Atletico after his pass was gifted straight to Joao Felix, who laid the ball to Marcos Llorente to find the back of the net. He was thereafter easily beaten at the near post for Atletico’s remaining goals in the 3-2 defeat, and surely the Reds ought to pursue a better shot-stopper to deputise for Alisson next term.
The necessity for another elite forward: Liverpool possess an elite frontline of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane but there have always been question marks over the attacking depth. Against Atletico, Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino were the forward options called upon from the forward but neither have the same pedigree as the above-mentioned trio. Origi, of course, built his reputation after scoring key goals against Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur last term but he was not able to repeat the performance this term. The Reds may struggle to convince a potentially world-class forward to join them without the assurance of regular playing time but Klopp needs to find a solution for next season.
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