The defending champions crashed out of the Champions League in cruel fashion as Atletico Madrid snatched a 3-2 victory at Anfield – 4-2 on aggregate – to book a place in the quarterfinals.
Jurgen Klopp’s men played some of their best football they played in recent months, peppering Jan Oblak’s goal with shots after shots. The Slovenian goalkeeper showed exactly why he is widely regarded as one of the world’s best during the 120 minutes of football, while Adrian’s performance on the opposite end underlined the reasons why Liverpool had break their piggybanks to secure the services of Alisson Becker.
Atletico Madrid soaked up the pressure expertly and somehow went ahead in extra-time after two goals in nine minutes from Marcos Llorente – against the run of play, as they have done time and time under Diego Simeone – before Alvaro Morata added more salt to the wound with the third goal.
A heart-breaking night to endure for the Liverpool players who clearly gave their all, but ultimately a lack of quality between the posts and unconvincing finishing meant that they will now shift their entire attention to the Premier League – despite the ending long been a forgone conclusion.
The Spanish keeper showed exactly how much of a miss Alisson is tonight, enduring a torrid 120 minutes albeit under difficult conditions. He has been superb for most part of his time at Liverpool since his arrival, but perhaps the game against Bournemouth was a sign of things to come, with Adrian already displaying similar signs of shakiness in that game.
His mistake tonight came just three minutes after Roberto Firmino netted the goal which everyone thought would see them advance, but the comedy of errors clearly knocked the wind out of their sails, and gave the rest of the team a mountain to climb.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7/10
Liverpool’s main attacking threat of the game came down on the right hand side, with Alexander-Arnold constantly involved. He linked up neatly with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mo Salah, and managed to swing in a couple of his trademark crosses too. The young right back defended admirably as well, with his desire and passion shining throughout the evening.
Andy Robertson: 7/10
The Scot was bombing down the left flank in his usual busy fashion, and almost had a goal to his name on his birthday. Robertson was extremely unlucky to see his header crash against the post with Oblak clearly beaten, which could have resulted in an entirely different outcome of the match.
Joe Gomez: 7/10
Gomez kept Joao Felix and Diego Costa quiet for most parts of the game, with Atletico hardly posing a threat during normal time. The England defender had a fine game despite conceding three goals, and Gareth Southgate will be pleased.
Virgil van Dijk: 8/10
Like his defensive partner, van Dijk had little much to do at the back as Simeone’s side found themselves in their own half for large parts of the game. The Dutch giant was his usual calm self when he was called upon, sweeping up expertly each time he sensed danger. Deployed as an auxiliary forward in the second half of extra-time, but failed to really impose himself.
Gini Wijnaldum: 9/10
Wijnaldum enjoys playing in the big games. The Dutch midfielder was back to his very best against Atletico Madrid, putting in an individual shift that he can be really proud of. Showed off his aerial prowess once again with a masterful header to net the opening goal, before storming down the right wing in extra time to set up Firmino’s goal. Brilliant individual performance, and how he must be gutted by the final result.
Jordan Henderson: 7/10
Back to the starting line-up after recovering from his injury, the captain showed exactly what the team has been missing in his absence. Linked the defence to attack capably throughout the night, offering the mobility and pace that perhaps Fabinho lacks at times.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 9/10
One of his best performances in a Liverpool shirt, the Ox was unlucky to be hauled off. He was a menace from the first whistle, utilising his blistering pace and strength to wreak havoc down the right side.
Renan Lodi and Saul Niguez struggled with him throughout the game, with Simeone even having to deploy Koke to deal with him in the second half. The England midfielder clearly has the quality, and now has to display the type of consistency that will establish him as a key part of the team moving forward.
Sadio Mane: 7/10
A couple of bicycle-kicks that flew over the ball summed up the night for the Senegalese forward, whom we must have wished he had displayed some of his world-class finishing tonight instead. A handful for Kieran Trippier for huge parts of the game, but by his very high standards, he would be rueing the missed opportunities to have gotten on the scoresheet.
Roberto Firmino: 7/10
Quiet for a large chunk of the game, the Brazilian forward has not been at his best in recent games and it showed tonight. He did slowly grow into the tempo of the game as it went on, displaying the sort of touches that we have grown accustomed to. Broke his Anfield duck early in extra time, and we can only hope that it will be a sign of things to come for the Brazilian forward.
Mo Salah: 8/10
The Egyptian King was at his mesmerizing best, causing all sorts of problem down the right wing. He displayed energy, strength and desire throughout the game, never letting his head drop in an impressive individual display. Salah was unlucky not to score as well, after setting himself up on his favourite left foot after all the hard work he had done on several occasions.
James Milner: 6/10
Last weekend’s hero came on in the 82nd minute and it did not take long for the Englishman to make his presence felt. He was flying into 50-50s in usual Milner fashion, and almost registered an assist too after skipping past Trippier.
Came on to try and provide the spark for what will be the most incredible of comebacks, but the Brazilian could only do so much with a quarter of an hour remaining.
Divock Origi: 5/10
Fans must be hoping for some Origi magic once again when he was brought on, but the Belgian failed to contribute to the game and scuffed his only opportunity well-wide.
Takumi Minamino: 5/10
The Japanese international came on for the last five minutes for his Champions League debut, but by then it was too little too late for the Reds.
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