Liverpool’s defeat to Real Madrid came as a shock since most people probably expected a really competitive game.
Liverpool’s injuries are well known but Madrid was missing Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Eden Hazard, and captain Sergio Ramos. It seemed like everything was in Liverpool’s hands to win the first leg but Madrid outplayed them.
However, it would be a big mistake to count out this Liverpool side because all they need is a 2-0 win. That is easier said than done of course, but it is very possible.
What’s Wrong For Liverpool in the First Leg?
Yes, Madrid was the better team. Although, it was individual mistakes that really cost them the game.
Vinicius Junior played a great game and Trent Alexander-Arnold struggled with him a lot on the right. However, Alexander-Arnold should not be making the mistake he did that led to Madrid’s second goal.
He had a terrible game, which was unexpected after his great performance in Liverpool’s last game against Arsenal. However, bad game or not, a mistake like that shouldn’t be happening.
Vinicius Junior’s second goal was also very avoidable. Liverpool allowed Madrid too much time on the ball, especially Georginio Wijnaldum who was very passive during Madrid’s attack.
The actually shot should have been a comfortable save for Allison, one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
Yes, Madrid played better than Liverpool, but two goals from very avoidable and unusual mistakes show that the game could have been much closer than it was despite how poor Liverpool was.
This should give Liverpool fans hope that if they up their performance in the second leg, they should have a great chance of go to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
What Should Klopp Do Differently for the Second Leg?
He needs to start Thiago Alcantara. Madrid’s midfield dominated large parts of the game and that can’t happen again if Liverpool wants to advance.
Although Naby Keita was subbed out in the first half, this doesn’t reflect the game Kieta was having. He looked good early, but Klopp needed to bring Thiago in to attempt to regain some control in the midfield.
It was a necessary change, and you can’t take off Wijnaldum because his defensive impact is too important. Unfortunately, for Liverpool he didn’t play at the level he usually does.
Keita will be an important substitute in the second leg, but Thiago is one of the best midfielders in the world and needs to start the game.
Another change that will help the midfield is starting Roberto Firmino. Firmino gets into great positions to help the Liverpool midfield keep and move the ball.
It will be a difficult decision to drop one of the front three, especially because of how great Diogo Jota has been this season. However, one of the best things about Jota is his impact coming off the bench.
The Reds have a big game on Saturday against Aston Villa. Although Villa is without Jack Grealish, they can’t afford to rest players as three points this weekend are crucial to their top-four hopes.
Madrid also can’t afford to rest players as they have the El Classico next. Three points against Barcelona would be crucial for their hopes to win the La Liga.
Despite Madrid’s 3-1 advantage, it shouldn’t be put past Liverpool to be able to turn this tie around if they can keep the mistakes to a minimum.
If you enjoyed this article remember to follow me on Twitter @TZvobgo for more Premier League discussion.
Come discuss this and much more on the Overtime Heroics Forum!
main image credit