By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at Anfield
Holders Liverpool are out of the Champions League after a dramatic final-16 2d leg against Atletico Madrid went into beyond regular time – and a finely balanced sport turned on a catastrophic blunder by goalkeeper Adrian.
Jurgen Klopp’s side – looking out for to take the trophy for a seventh time – view they’d overturned Atletico’s 1-0 profit from the first leg when Roberto Firmino’s first goal at Anfield this season in the foundation of the added half-hour gave them the lead in the tie.
Georginio Wijnaldum’s first-half header was once stout reward for Liverpool laying siege to the Atletico goal for quite so much of the first 90 minutes.
In the 2d half, Andrew Robertson was once then inches away from a winner only for his header to fracture against the woodwork.
And yet, as the Kop sensed yet every other memorable Champions League victory, Adrian – deputising for the injured Alisson – paid the stamp for a abominable clearance as substitute Marcos Llorente pounced with a low attain to procure Atletico’s necessary away goal.
Llorente struck every other time with yet every other calm attain in the a hundred and fifth minute and with the spirit draining out of Liverpool and their supporters, mature Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata in conjunction with insult to harm with a third in the dying seconds to send Atletico thru to the final eight.
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Alisson’s absence proves decisive
This sport was once, in many respects, a account of two goalkeepers.
The magnificent Jan Oblak formed a ambitious barrier for Atletico Madrid, his yellow shirt a colossal presence in his penalty affirm as he made 9 saves and claimed limitless crosses.
In distinction, Liverpool’s gargantuan effort was once fatally undermined by the hapless Adrian, who also made an error that contributed to their FA Cup fifth-spherical defeat by Chelsea.
The Reds had in the end established a measure of retain an eye on thru Firmino’s goal, but once Adrian had hacked out a hopeless clearance and Llorente’s shot beyond him into the gain on the Kop discontinuance, Atletico were ruthless.
Klopp looked and sounded suitably downcast final week when he announced his world-class Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson had suffered a hip harm, lustrous he would possibly presumably well secure the adaptation to a Champions League tie that was once constantly going to be determined on potentially the most animated of margins.
And so it proved, Liverpool’s morale and struggling with spirit disappearing visibly after Adrian’s mistake.
Liverpool will calm total the formalities of their first Premier League title but they pride themselves on their region as European champions and this was once a painful night time.
Atletico deserve immense credit
Atletico Madrid arrived at Anfield with the approved reminders of how the stadium’s atmosphere has broken the nerve and resilience of even the elite groups in the Champions League – as Barcelona chanced on out in final season’s semi-finals.
Diego Simeone and his gamers are made from sterner stuff than that. They would possibly presumably well were below stress for quite so much of this sport but no longer once did they buckle as they confronted up to Liverpool’s depth and got here out on high.
Atletico simply cherish defending, every goal conceded practically a personal insult to Simeone – who perceived to savor Anfield’s atmosphere – and his gamers.
After Llorente scored Atletico’s 2d, even Liverpool looked savor a side who knew there was once no methodology they would ranking two desires in such small time to growth.
The La Liga side’s methodology would possibly presumably well no longer be a thing of beauty but they’re a brilliantly drilled crew and this was once yet every other landmark triumph for the grasp coach Simeone.
Man of the match – Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)
- This was once the first time Liverpool occupy didn’t growth from a two-legged tie in European rivals below Klopp, having obtained the outdated 10.
- Liverpool occupy misplaced a home European sport for the first time below Klopp, with this their first defeat at Anfield in Europe since October 2014.
- The Reds occupy fallen in the final 16 of the Champions League for the first time since 2006.
- Atletico Madrid occupy progressed from five of their outdated six Champions League knockout ties after successful the first leg, only failing in final season’s final 16 against Juventus (2-0 first leg, 0-3 2d leg).
- Liverpool occupy misplaced each and every legs of a Champions League knockout tie for the first time for the reason that final-16 stage in 2005-06 against Benfica.
- This was once the first match in the rivals to peep four desires scored in beyond regular time.
- Llorente is simply the 2d Atletico player to achieve twice as a substitute in a Champions League sport after Sergio Aguero against Chelsea in November 2009.
- Firmino scored his first goal at Anfield in 20 games, final netting v Porto in April 2019 – 337 days previously.
- Four of Wijnaldum’s five desires in the Champions League for Liverpool occupy attain in the knockout rounds.
- Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been immediately smitten by four desires in the Champions League this season (three desires, one abet) – his joint-only tally alongside 2014-15 when he was once at Arsenal.