Virgil van Dijk acknowledged the damage done to Liverpool as the Reds’ Champions League exit was confirmed by a 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid on Wednesday.
Although Jurgen Klopp’s side had a two-goal lead in their first leg at Anfield last month, Jurgen Klopp’s side lost 5-2 in a draw that was a repeat of last year’s final, which Real Madrid won in Paris 1:0.
Liverpool had their chances at the Santiago Bernabéu but failed to achieve a breakthrough and also had to thank goalkeeper Alisson for giving them a fighting chance.
But ultimately, a 78th-minute goal from Madrid star Karim Benzema gave Carlo Ancelotti’s team a 1-0 win that evening for a 6-2 aggregate score.
Speaking to BT Sport after the game, Liverpool centre-back Van Dijk said: “I think, to be honest, the first half was pretty even.
“It will always be a very difficult task to come here and change everything. But you try not to look ahead, you try to win clearly.
“During my time at Liverpool, in the games we played against Real Madrid, I never won against them, so that’s always what we wanted to do, we wanted to win.
“I think we created some dangerous chances in the first half. They also had some shots from afar and obviously with the quality they have at half-time, especially with Benzema, with Vinicius with speed and obviously with his quality. Breaks can always be dangerous.
“It was hard, but I think the damage was done to Liverpool and that’s the most hurtful thing.”
Van Dijk acknowledged that Madrid’s composure at critical moments was the deciding factor.
“I think you’re playing against a team that never gets embarrassed,” he added. “Even when you put pressure on them, even if [they] there are difficult moments, they try to stay calm and obviously they have players if you look at [Luka] Modric, Benzema – they are able to make a difference, especially when they are under pressure.
“But still I think we could have scored in the first half and it could have been a completely different game. But today, of course, it was about a small margin, and [in the] In the second half, you try your best, but you don’t succeed.”