One way or another, it always ends Madrid for Liverpool. four of the last five Champions League Campaigns against Real, Atlético, Real and Real have come to an end. They won the competition in the year they didn’t face a club from the Spanish capital.

So, in the most unpredictable seasons for Liverpool, this was the most predictable of exits. Just because Vinicius Junior tormented Trent Alexander-Arnold, or Kerim Benzema He has maintained his status as an enemy of Liverpool, with a legitimate aim against them, or at least vengeful means, Carlo Ancelotti He continues to take the mark of friendly revenge for Istanbul. But first, because Real Madrid Won 5-2 at Anfield. A 1-0 win in Spain brought the overall score to 6-2 and Liverpool suffered their biggest loss in Europe since facing Spartak Moscow thirty years ago.

A second foot felt a formality. This was not surprising as Liverpool needed arguably the biggest result in their history. They had previously smashed a three-goal lead against a Spanish superpower in the Champions League, but it was Barcelona at Anfield in 2019 when the team was at the peak of their strength. There was no 2023 version of Gini Wijnaldum or Divock Origi, there was no one who made his name in history, just a struggling team, a misfired offense in front of the goal, a goalkeeper making a defiant effort that still earned them 13 points.pearl defeat of the campaign.

Yet because it was Liverpool, because he was Jurgen Klopp, there was a tempting possibility that it could be the night they did something special. Klopp has always used faith as a weapon. He is an expert at turning an unattractive situation into an opportunity.

One percent chance, had found logical the previous day, was still a chance. But not, maybe against Real. Falling 2-0 down in 14 minutes at Anfield did not deter them. They certainly didn’t start with a three-goal advantage in their own backyard. The team that was least likely to panic did not. Luka Modric navigated through the match, and in three months he may have won the European Cup as many times as Liverpool – six times. Real bolstered the drama by scoring 5 goals in 46 minutes at Anfield and kicked it out of the rematch.

Maybe Liverpool, a team that has shrunk in a frustrating season, didn’t have enough faith, but it wasn’t a belief they needed as much as a miracle. Eighteen years ago they played against an Ancelotti team in the final. Since then, spectacular comebacks have become more common in the Champions League qualifying stages. Liverpool, Tottenham, Barcelona and Rome have all put them on the stage in an unexpected, glorious way. Still, Liverpool’s task was to get the final comeback against their ultimate comeback kings. Set lost at Bournemouth He had to attack the Bernabeu. They didn’t. They couldn’t. They got the same score.

Liverpool failed to work a miracle


It was not due to the manager’s lack of courage. Four strikers started for a team that needed at least three goals. They had few threats, however, and the chances fell to the wrong three; Mohamed Salah looked the sharpest and created a few opportunities, but Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota missed them by missing his shot in a season where he wasn’t able to score. Yet the fire came to the bunker, and Klopp took Liverpool’s only reserve. There was no such explosiveness on the forward line.

To make room for Jota, Klopp replaced two 37-year-old midfielders with a 37-year-old midfielder. And so, 20 years, four months and five days after his Premier League debut, James Milner captained Liverpool at the Bernabeu against Modric, Toni Kroos and Eduardo Camavinga in a midfielder where Liverpool were outnumbered. Milner couldn’t last this long without taking on a few thankless assignments, but that gave soccer geriatrics a hospital pass.

His was a valiant effort. When he ran away after 72 minutes of donkey work, however, his presence reflected twin issues. Injuries – with Jordan Henderson, Stefan Bajcetic and Thiago Alcantara completely absent – ​​and a midfielder at the heart of Liverpool’s problems. Still older than Milner, the timeless Modric remains a phenomenon, but Liverpool could do with their own Camavinga, an ambitious signature that represents the future.

As throughout the season, Liverpool’s best player tonight was the man who made matters worse. If the first match had been shaped as a competition between Alisson and Thibaut Courtois vying for the title of best goalkeeper in the world. instead he made amateurish mistakes. Few at Anfield believed that the Brazilian had a reputation to rebuild, but the spectacular saves from Vinicius Junior and Camavinga were a testament to his quality.

Still, Liverpool’s Champions League campaign began with Alisson’s damage limitation exercise against Napoli and ended with another against Real. And it ends with a team that hasn’t made it to the top four all season, unsure if they’ll be able to return to the competition next year. There may be at least a way to avoid being knocked out by the Madrid giants, but that would be scant consolation.