Liverpool mainstay James Milner and manager Jurgen Klopp faced the camera after Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League run ended at Anfield.
The Reds controlled play for most of a 3-2 extra-time loss to Atletico Madrid in the second leg of their UCL Round of 16 tie, but fell apart after an Adrian mistake set up the first of three late goals for Diego Simeone’s side.
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“They got the first goal, took the stuffing out of us and obviously we were chasing the game after that point,” Milner said (full video here via BeIn). “I thought it was a great performance from the start. We created a lot of chances against a very tough team. We probably should’ve taken a few more of them. But obviously 2-0 we had done a good job at that point. It’s the cost of not getting an away goal, really.”
Klopp was ready to put as positive a spin as he could on the loss, and he wasn’t wrong in most of what he proffered the cameras.
The Reds out-attempted Atleti 34-10 and had 71 percent possession, but Jan Oblak made nine saves and Liverpool finished very poorly in what could’ve been a cakewalk.
They fell 4-2 on aggregate.
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“Super proud of the boys because for 95 minutes we played a sensational game,” Klopp said. “Our big mistake was to score the second goal five minutes to late. Clearly better side, dominated a side which is packed with world-class players. They defend in a way that was difficult to break down but we did it constantly. We did it constantly.”
Klopp neglected to blame Adrian for his game-changing error filling in for Alisson Becker, mentioning that the Spaniard had “saved us” plenty of times in the past.
Instead, he turned his attention to how hard Atleti had to work to dethrone the reigning UCL champs.
“I really feel proud and I should be. I told them already they should be really proud. We know in some moments we needed luck or a really good hand like against Napoli. We didn’t have that tonight, but really thank you to everybody tonight for the journey. The crowd tonight, wow. You see what you need to beat us here. You need a lot of luck and some help from us.”
UPDATE: Klopp took some shots at Atleti in separate interviews.
First, he proffered:
“I don’t understand with the quality they have the football they play. They could play proper football but they stand deep and have counter-attacks.”
Then, in his press conference with assembled media later in the evening, he continued.
“I’m an under-average loser,” he said. “If I said all the things I have in my mind, I would look like the worst loser in the world so it’s best I stop here.”
He was then asked to follow up those thoughts. He did.
“The way they play I just don’t get it, but the win is right,” he said. “Don’t lose respect with the questions you ask further because you should know already. If not then you didn’t see the game.”
Klopp doesn't blame Adrian for Liverpool's #UCL exit despite the goalkeeper's "wrong decision" that allowed Atletico to score their 1st goal.#UCL #beINUCL #LIVATL pic.twitter.com/mEWdLXJG0w
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) March 11, 2020