Former Chelsea midfielder Damien Duff believes that Liverpool’s “horrific” display against Real Madrid was their worst of the season so far.
The Reds have it all to do in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final after a 3-1 defeat. Vinicius Junior scored twice on Tuesday, with Marco Asensio netting in between. However, Madrid often made Jurgen Klopp’s side pay from mistakes from Trent Alexander-Arnold, among others.
Vinicius’ first came as he got between defenders Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak to latch onto Toni Kroos’ sublime pass.
But Alexander-Arnold’s miscued header then allowed Asensio to chip Alisson Becker and finish. Karim Benzema then fired wide after shaky Kabak play.
Despite Liverpool getting one back just after half time, though, the Reds did not follow Vinicius as his simple run led to a fine finish past Alisson.
Speaking to RTE Sport after the match, Duff ripped Liverpool apart for their display.
“They were awful,” he said. “Like I said at half-time, it was the worst I’d seen Liverpool play this season and it has been a bad season.
“Would I give them a chance? Yes, I would if they were going back to a full Anfield and they were playing at full tilt, like they did against Barcelona a couple of years ago.
“But going off tonight, no way. You’d say it’s tie over.”
Duff added that Liverpool’s players looked like they lacked preparation heading into the game.
Indeed, Naby Keita, who Klopp said he could not avoid after sensational training performances, came off before half time in a tactical move.
‘Horrific’ Liverpool taken to cleaners
“I’m very black and white with football. You’ve a good chance of winning a match when you bring quality, energy, desire and emotion and they lacked the four of them things tonight,” Duff added.
“Granted it was at a training ground. It didn’t feel like a quarter-final. Real Madrid were the better team.
“It’s like Liverpool turned up for a training match on a Monday morning, a few lads have hangovers, a few lads ate too much breakfast, a few didn’t do their pre-activation, a few didn’t get their massage.
“They were horrific. They were so, so bad. I don’t know how they come back from that, I honestly don’t.”
Liverpool’s away goal means they can go through if they win 2-0 at Anfield.
They have recovered from worse positions – the 3-0 deficit to Barcelona – however they were helped massively by the Anfield faithful that night.
What’s more, Liverpool’s then-unbeaten run at home has vanished and been replaced with six defeats this term.