Liverpool: Klopp accepts defeat but criticises referee
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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has played down his side’s chances of overturning their deficit against Real Madrid, highlighting the lack of fans at Anfield as a key factor. The Reds were beaten 3-1 in the Spanish capital on Tuesday to leave them at serious risk of bowing out of the Champions League.
Klopp’s men were second-best throughout the first-leg, going two goals down in the first-half after Vinicius Junior’s low drive and Marco Asensio’s close-range finish.
But they were better after half-time, with Mohamed Salah scoring what could be a crucial away goal with a finish off the crossbar.
The hosts restored their two-goal advantage though with 25 minutes to go when Vinicius scored his second after a brilliant attacking move.
Although they are now at serious risk of crashing out of the competition, the Reds are in a better position now than after the first-leg of their infamous semi-final tie against Barcelona in 2019.
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Klopp’s side found themselves 3-0 down heading into the second leg at Anfield, but miraculously turned it around to win 4-0 and progress into their second successive final.
Their manager though is sceptical that his side can recreate that comeback, despite having scored an away goal.
Instead, he believes that the lack of fans at Anfield because of the current coronavirus restrictions will have a negative effect on his team.
“There is still a chance but we have to play much better football in the second leg,” he said. “We can be much more uncomfortable to play against and that’s what we have to make sure of next week.
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“Of course, it will be completely different. Watch the Barcelona game back and 80 per cent of this game was down to the atmosphere in the stadium.
“We have to do it without that. It’s not that I sit here and think, ‘Comebacks is our thing. We do that all the time.’
“We have from time to time but we always had supporters in the stadium. We don’t have supporters this time so I don’t know if we can do it but I can promise we will give it a proper try. That’s all.”
Klopp did though insist his Liverpool side will do their upmost to turnaround the tie, but realises a better performance is needed.
“The boys really want it. Today in the first half we couldn’t for whatever reason and we didn’t,” the German added.
“That’s what we have to find out, change and go again. We will see. It must be a really tricky task at Anfield with or without supporters.
“If you want to go to the semi-finals, you have to deserve it with the performance. Tonight, we were not good enough, but the only good news is there is another game.”
The second-leg will be held at Anfield next Wednesday, with Liverpool requiring at least two goals if they are to progress into their third Champions League semi-final in four years.
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