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Klopp’s premonition comes true as toothless Reds crash out of Champions League

It was as though Jurgen Klopp foretold this disaster, his fears about Liverpool’s lack of killer instinct realised as they crashed out of the Champions League.

He had said only last weekend they needed 10 chances to score a single goal, perhaps issuing a premonition of his team’s struggles against the experience of Real Madrid.

They created enough to progress to the semi final – many, many opprtunities, and surely should have finished two of them to deliver the victory required to overturn the 3-1 first leg deficit.

But they were undone by some panicked finishing, and an obvious lack of belief in front of goal. Now the focus must turn to their attacking players, where for so much of this demented Liverpool season it has been on a feeble defence.

The back line was solid enough, Alisson only called into action once, with a fine double save, but the forwards were not up to the task. The question is now one of short term blip, or long term malaise?

Jurgen Klopp’s side were sent crashing out

The miss came as early as the second minute as the home side started on fire. It was a sweeping move, Mane feeding Salah, but his first time shot was too close to Madrid keeper Courtois.

He should have done better, but with 28 goals this season he is not the biggest culprit. It was a moment though, which seemed pivotal in the tie, a chance to remind Madrid of that famous night two years ago here, when Barcelona unravelled, and have never been the same side since.

Worst followed though, Mane’s baffling barren spell, where he had scored just three goals in almost four months, continuing.

He did create chances though, for Firmino early on, when the Brazilian didn’t react quickly enough, and then for James Milner, whose delicious curling shot was tipped away from the top corner brilliantly by Thibaut Courtois.

Liverpool were unable to take their chances at Anfield
Liverpool were unable to take their chances at Anfield

The worst miss of a dominant first half for the home side though, came just before the interval, when Gini Wijnaldum was fed by Alexander-Arnold and was unmarked just 12 yards out, but he blazed over, perhaps dazzled as his eyes lit up.

Madrid produced little bar one chance for Bezema, whose deflected shot hit the post, and a double moment when Alisson saved well from Vinicius Jr and Kroos. They were calculating though, experienced, and cynical when they had to be.

Yet within the space of three minutes after the restart, Liverpool again produced the chances to put them ahead in the tie. If only there was any hint of the killer instinct of the past few years.

First Firmino found himself in front of goal, but produced a tame shot straight at Courtois, and then he headed wide after another searching cross from the excellent Alexander-Arnold. A third effort soon after from the Brazilian flashed over the bar. Jota came on and had one fine chance, but his shot was brilliantly denied.

From there, Madrid were ice-cool, the frozen white iceberg that lay in wait for Klopp’s side, sinking Liverpool’s European hopes. It was perhaps fitting, given it was on this very day the Titanic listed and sank, back in 1912.

Klopp will hope the rest of his side’s season will not go down the same way, as they struggle now to secure a Champions League spot for next season.




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