Liverpool are licking their wounds after a frustrating 5-2 defeat to Real Madrid at Anfield left them with only a minuscule hope of making it through to the Champions League quarter-finals. Having led 2-0, Vinicius Junior’s goal turned the match, but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp also picked out another Real Madrid player that stood out to him.
Klopp was pleased with the first half, but told Marca that Eder Militao’s header shortly after half-time sunk his side.
“We’ve talked about this. The 2-3 was the key moment, the one that changed the whole game. The 2-2 didn’t change that much, but that goal at the start of the second half didn’t allow us to react. You never want to concede goals , but the first half was a great display from both teams. The fans were happy, but in the second it was much more difficult.”
As much as Liverpool struggled to defend Real Madrid, their ofensive threat also diminished. According to Klopp, that was in part down to Nacho Fernandez.
“Nacho came on and played very well. Alaba is a great player, sure, but Nacho… How many years has he been at Madrid, he had offensive moments but in defence he was very secure. In the second half we didn’t compete as much.”
Mohamed Salah struggled to impose himself against Nacho, after a good opening 15 minutes against David Alaba.
Nacho might be at left-back for the foreseeable too, with Ferland Mendy out injured and the extent of Alaba’s unknown. Real Madrid face Atletico Madrid on Saturday, before a clash with Barcelona next Thursday.
The veteran has admitted that he struggled mentally with being left out at the start of the season, but he has once again been a reliable soldier for Carlo Ancelotti in 2023.