Klopp’s second-half roll of the dice fails to see Liverpool past Real Madrid

Date published: Wednesday 14th April 2021 9:54 - Matthew Briggs

Milner TEAMtalk

Liverpool exited the Champions League at the quarter-final stage after drawing 0-0 with Real Madrid at Anfield on Wednesday night, losing 3-1 on aggregate. 

Klopp picked a conservative line-up with James Milner starting in place of Thiago in midfield, before he rolled the dice on the hour mark and brought on Thiago and Diogo Jota. But they could not get the goals they needed despite creating several good chances and dominating possession.

Sadio Mane returned to the starting line-up as Klopp made one change from Saturday’s win over Aston Villa.

Jota dropped to the bench as they sought to overturn a 3-1 deficit. Real also made one change with Federico Valverde replacing the injured Lucas Vazquez.

Liverpool tore into Real from the off and should have been ahead after just two minutes. Mohamed Salah was through on goal but hit his shot straight at Thibaut Courtois.

Real Madrid’s first chance came soon after but Luka Modric’s 20-yard shot was deflected wide.

Mo Salah TEAMtalk

Then on 11 minutes Courtois made a brilliant save from James Milner. The midfielder hit a curling effort from outside the box which looked to be heading for the top corner before Courtois’ intervention.

Madrid though came closer on 20 minutes when Karim Benzema hit the post.

He sent Liverpool defenders one way and then the other with a mazy run, but his effort was deflected against the post by Ozan Kabak.

Just before the break Liverpool wasted to guilt-edged chances. Firstly Salah swept a shot wide after Georginio Wijnaldum had found Mane in the box.

Then Alexander-Arnold powered forward down the right and laid the ball off to Wijnaldum, who had a  good first touch before firing his shot high over the crossbar.

With 60 minutes gone Klopp decided to go for it with Thiago replacing Milner and Kabak coming off for Jota.

Alisson had to be alert soon after, making a smart save after Valverde had picked out Vinicius through the middle. Alisson came rushing off his line to smother it and then stopped Toni Kroos from getting on the follow-up.

Alexander-Arnold then threaded it into Salah, but he took too many touches and Nacho got across to block his shot.

Real almost put the tie to bed on 81 minutes. Alvaro Odriozola whipped a brilliant cross into the box from the right and Benzema, unmarked sent his header into the ground and onto the roof of the net.

Klopp then threw on Xherdan Shaqiri for Firmino, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced Mane, as Liverpool looked for a late miracle.

Salah had another chance from a tight angle, but Courtois was there as Madrid marched on.

READ MORE: Liverpool star admits to big drop in form as ‘angry’ side to Klopp revealed

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