Virgil van Dijk admitted that Liverpool were to blame for their mistakes in the Champions League defeat to Real Madrid, but stated that they could not count on them to act like “robots”.
Liverpool squandered a two-goal lead at Anfield, falling to a 5-2 defeat in the first leg of the last leg against the hosts.
Amid a difficult season for Jurgen Klopp’s team, their loss against Madrid led to a punishing rematch from last year’s final that ended 1-0 to the Creamy in Paris.
Van Dijk didn’t dispute another questionable game, but stressful mistakes by a centre-back are to be expected when the players are only human.
“[Across] there are quality players in the entire Champions League in all teams,” he told reporters. “They can punish you and they can punish you for the mistakes you make.
“That’s what they did in the second half and it’s pretty clear. [There were] Mistakes we shouldn’t make, but that happens in football.
“We are not robots, sometimes mistakes happen. This is true. The only thing we can do is learn from this and focus on the next one to make sure this doesn’t happen. [again]”.
2-0 – Liverpool became the first team in UEFA Champions League history to take a 2-0 lead before losing by three goals. Dangerous.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 21, 2023
After goals from Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah gave them two goals in the first 15 minutes, Liverpool appeared to be on their way to an unforgettable triumph at Anfield.
However, their defensive weaknesses came to the fore as Vinicius Junior finished the game superbly and then seized on Alisson’s mistake to restore parity.
Eder Militao gave Madrid the lead early in the second half before Karim Benzema’s brace left the hosts with a mountain ahead of the second leg next month.
Klopp was less than impressed with the cheap concessions but felt his side’s first-half performance was among the best of the campaign.
“We gave away all five goals,” he said at the post-match press conference.
“All five. We could do better there [but] in our situation that we are in, it is really important that we see positive steps.
“I think that the first half, apart from two goals conceded, was the best we played. [across] the whole season.
“The second half was obviously the game Real Madrid wanted to play and that’s how we came up with the result.”