Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes Carlo Ancelotti believes their Champions League round of 16 tie is over after Real Madrid thrashed the Reds 5-2 at Anfield in Tuesday’s opener.
The Reds squandered a two-goal lead after opening shots from Darvin Nunez and Mohamed Salah, who suffered a heavy defeat that will see them climb the mountain in the second leg in Madrid on March 15.
The defeat marked the first time the Reds have conceded four or more goals at home in European competition.
Ancelotti insisted that the draw was still alive after the game despite the deficit, while Klopp remained hopeful but admitted it would be difficult to turn things around.
“I think Carlo thinks the draw is over and I think so too at the moment,” Klopp told reporters. “But after three weeks… the closer you get to the game, the better our chances become and the less likely it is that the tie is over.
“Today at 5-2 they are pretty good on the counter and we need to score three goals there and take some risks, so it can be a little difficult.
“We are going there, I can already say that now, and we will try to win the game. Whether this is possible or not, I don’t know right now, but we will try to do it, and we’ll see from there.”
4 – Liverpool conceded four goals for the first time in a European home game. I’m shocked.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 21, 2023
Liverpool became the first team in Champions League history to lose by three goals after 2-0.
Klopp acknowledged that Eder Militao’s free header from Luka Modric’s set-piece just after half-time at 3-2 had changed the course of the game.
“I really thought the 3-2 had a huge impact,” he said. “2-1 and 2-2 is not that much… my personal opinion was: ‘The first goal, okay, bad defense, but also good, the second one was a farce, but deal with it.’
“Then the third goal right after the break, we didn’t handle it very well. We don’t want to concede goals, but I think if we just think about the first half, everyone got the impression: “Wow, that was a really good first half” even when we conceded two.
“I really thought our people saw it that way, they excelled tonight in a tough game. In the first half it wasn’t that hard to be positive, but in the second half when it was hard to be positive, they were positive and I’m grateful for that.”
Defender Joe Gomez was substituted in the 73rd minute due to apparent injury concerns, although Klopp was not clear about his status.
“He showed a small sign, but then we just made a decision,” Klopp said. “Now we’ll see, and tomorrow it will be checked.”
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 21, 2023