Your Liverpool morning digest as the Reds are embarrassed by Real Madrid, plus a change may be made ahead of the summer transfer window.
Here is your Liverpool morning digest for Thursday, February 23.
Liverpool’s summer transfer shopping list just has added a new position
If Jurgen Klopp thought it was “proper torture” watching back to last season’s Champions League final defeat, then the Liverpool boss hopefully steeled himself appropriately before setting down to review the latest setback against Real Madrid, writes Ian Doyle.
The reverberations from the Reds’ demoralizing 5-2 defeat to the Spanish outfit will be felt long after the inevitable formalities of the second leg of their round of 16 ties are completed at the Bernabeu in three weeks.
Indeed, Klopp didn’t need a replay to determine just why Liverpool slumped to a record home loss in European competition, swiftly determining his team had gifted Real the goals that made them the first visiting team other than Arsenal to score more than four times in a match at Anfield in almost 70 years.
But as he ran through an uncomfortable rerun of a dismal evening, the Reds boss will be pondering the precise reasons for his team’s rearguard crumbling in such a shocking fashion.
Similar to many of the issues that have become glaringly apparent for Liverpool during a difficult campaign, there isn’t one easy, convenient, straightforward answer.
Just look at the five goals conceded. There was the individual, slack defending from Joe Gomez who turned his back on Vinicius Jr for the visitors’ first goal. There was a goalkeeping error in Alisson Becker striking a clearance that hit the same player and looped into the goal for Real’s equalizer. There was a collective failure to mark properly at set pieces for the third. There was the hesitation inside the area that allowed Karim Benzema to get his deflected shot away for the fourth. And there was the poor touch from Fabinho at a Liverpool attacking throw-in and subsequent wayward positioning that allowed the Spaniards to race away for the fifth.
Real Madrid has embarrassed inefficient Liverpool in more ways than one
From the Liverpool side that was humbled 5-2 by Real Madrid at Anfield on Tuesday night, five started the first time Jurgen Klopp’s Reds fell foul to the Spanish giants in the 2018 Champions League final.
Substitutes James Milner and Roberto Firmino take such a total to seven, while Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were all contracted but sat out the trip to Kyiv through injury.
In contrast, three of Real Madrid’s starting XI at Anfield also started in Kyiv, with substitute Toni Kroos also starting the 2018 final. Meanwhile, Nacho, Marco Asensio, and Dani Ceballos were utilized as substitutes in both, Lucas Vazquez watched on from the bench for both, and unused substitute Jesus Vallejo was at the end of his first season at the Bernabeu five years ago.
Both sides have waved off key players since 2018, with Sadio Mane and Gini Wijnaldum no longer at Anfield. Meanwhile, Dejan Lovren and Loris Karius have also departed, along with the entire substitutes bench of Simon Mignolet, Nathaniel Clyne, Ragnar Klavan, Alberto Moreno, Adam Lallana, Emre Can, and Dominic Solanke.
A look at the Spanish giants and Cristiano Ronaldo, Casemiro, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Mateo Kovacic, Keylor Navas, Isco, Gareth Bale, Theo Hernandez, and Kiko Casilla have all left the Bernabeu since 2018.
Liverpool would bank just £78.3m for that departing octet, with Mane and Solanke responsible for £59m for it, as Wijnaldum, Karius, Clyne, Moreno, Lallana, and Can all departed on free transfers.