Even the most optimistic Liverpool supporters will find it difficult to imagine that this struggling squad can win by a four-goal margin at the Santiago Bernabéu in three weeks, despite the fact that the last-16 match is still only halfway complete.
But Liverpool had such a strong night to start.
For the first time since December, Liverpool entered this game with back-to-back victories in the Premier League. Because of Darwin Nez’s exquisite flick and Thibaut Courtois’ awful slip-up, which let Mo Salah pounce, Liverpool jumped out to an early two-goal lead.
Yet, as has happened countless times this season, things quickly fell apart.
Before halftime, Vincius Jr. scored twice, the second coming as a result of a terrible Alisson blunder. The first goal was a beautiful finish into the bottom corner.
In the second half, Real Madrid came out swinging, seizing the lead through Éder Militio’s header inside the first two minutes, before Karim Benzema’s brace put an end to the game.
Since the start of the season after the World Cup, these kinds of surrenders have dogged Liverpool, with such failures coming against Brentford, Brighton, and Wolves in the Premier League.
Again, Klopp appeared helpless as his team crumbled, managing only a sardonic, helpless smile as the cameras panned to him after Real Madrid’s fifth goal.
After the game, Klopp told BT Sport, “The opening was great; it was us in a nutshell, it was beautiful.” “That was precisely how we wanted to play; we gave them issues everywhere and really got into the game early on.
“Aside from the [Real] goals, I thought the first half as a whole was good. With the first goal, we were a little too slack higher up the field and weren’t chasing them where we needed to. When you are complacent on this team, you will suffer the consequences.
“The second objective is slapstick; it shouldn’t happen, but it could. We can swap [substitutes] five times and maintain the rhythm, but beyond that, the initial situation very much remains the same. It doesn’t help that the score is 3-2 when playing a squad that excels at counterattacks.
It’s conceivable, but you need to regain the momentum, and with the score of 3-2, that was exactly the reverse. You need to play the same game for the full 95 minutes as we did in the first half. They gained self-assurance and scored outstanding goals.
It’s a peculiar one. Despite the fact that we lost 5-2, as we already know, I can learn a lot from this.
Despite the fact that February is just halfway gone, Liverpool’s season is already essentially over. The team is currently in ninth place in the Premier League, out of the League Cup and FA Cup, and all but eliminated from the Champions League.
Finishing fourth in the Premier League and earning a spot in the Champions League for the following season would be the only way left for the squad to save the season. Liverpool is in fourth place, seven points behind Tottenham, but they have two games in hand, so it’s not an insurmountable challenge.
A squad that was unquestionably among the greatest in the world last season and that had a real opportunity to win an unheard-of quadruple has experienced a dramatic decline.
Liverpool eventually won the FA Cup and League Cup after pursuing trophies on all four fronts, however they narrowly lost the Premier League to Manchester City by a point and the Champions League final to Real Madrid by a score of 1-0.