Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool’s Champions League knockout has given them a “huge task” to salvage their Premier League season and the Anfield manager said three games in one week against Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal will make or their hopes will fade.
Karim Benzema’s second-half goal, his 13th goal in his last eight Champions League knockout games, was enough to secure a 1-0 win in the round of 16 second leg for Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu and a total of 6. -2 overall victory.
– Ogden: Madrid beat Liverpool and consolidate the status of UCL favorites
Liverpool’s early exit from the competition means they can no longer win trophies this season and, currently sitting sixth in the Premier League, their only chance to salvage some form of campaign success lies in sealing a top four finish. and qualifying for the Champions League next season.
With fourth-placed Tottenham six points clear of Liverpool, and Newcastle United two points ahead of the 2022 Champions League runners-up with one game less, Klopp admitted his players must now focus on finishing fourth.
“We want to be in the Champions League every year and it’s a huge task for us (to finish fourth) and we know it,” Klopp said. “After the international break, we have a good week ahead of us: City, Chelsea and Arsenal. That will probably define what we get out of the season.”
“People might say we lost it at Bournemouth (with a 1-0 defeat) but that’s a make-or-break week and hopefully the lads come back healthy and early enough from international duty and we can give it a try.
“Our job is to squeeze absolutely everything we can out of the season. It’s been strange so far. But losing at Bournemouth has put us under pressure because, with three more points, other teams could really feel our breath.”
Having said before the match that Liverpool had only a one per cent chance of turning around their three-goal deficit in the first leg, Klopp admitted that his team failed to achieve the level required to pull off an unexpected result.
“To come here with a three goal difference, you need a special performance and we didn’t show a special performance,” he said. “It was a good performance, but Real were the team in control. Ali (Becker) made two sensational saves to keep us in the game, but Madrid were the better team and the right team went through to the next round.”
“With the history we have in the competition, we should start every season with the idea of winning it. We’ve reached the final a couple of times, three times in the last few years, and if you want to win the competition you have to be exceptional and we weren’t. tonight.
“Whoever wants to win it has to beat Real Madrid, Manchester City, Napoli, who beat us and is a very good team, and Bayern Munich. But Real Madrid, with its history, is a very strong team and they can do it”.