Liverpool’s defence of their Champions League crown came to an end last night at Anfield. Jordan Henderson described the bitter disappointment he and his teammates were feeling after a great performance on the night from The Reds.
A Gini Wijnaldum header before half-time gave Liverpool the lead on the night and levelled the tie on aggregate. Extra-time was needed then and Roberto Firmino popped up to put Jürgen Klopp’s side in front after 94 minutes. Then, two strikes from Atlético Madrid’s super-sub, Marcos Llorente, pulled the game back to 2-2 meaning Liverpool would need to win 4-2 to qualify.
The Anfield crowd did its part but no matter what Liverpool threw at Atléti in the second period of extra-time, Jan Oblak and co were equal to it. Álvaro Morata then scored a breakaway goal right at the death for Diego Simeone’s side to win 3-2 on the night and 4-2 on aggregate.
Speaking to BT Sport after the game, Henderson couldn’t hide either his despair at Liverpool’s exit from the competition nor his pride in his team’s performance.
“Obviously we’re really disappointed. I thought the performance overall was very good, the intensity and everything we spoke about before the game. We put everything into the game and we’re bitterly disappointed.
“We’ll be disappointed with the goals we’ve conceded, but if we look at the performance then large parts of the game we’ll be pleased with – but we’re just obviously disappointed with the goals we’ve conceded.
“With the position we were in and to concede the goals we did isn’t like us, so it’s very disappointing but we’ve got to take it on the chin.
“He [Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak] made some great saves but we created so many chances to score and obviously just couldn’t find the third [goal] to kill the game off.
“But listen, the lads gave everything. As we always do, we left everything on the field but unfortunately, we just couldn’t get the result we wanted.”
Liverpool must refocus now and get over the line for their 19th league title by getting two more wins on the board as soon as possible. That task starts with a trip to what will most likely be an empty Goodison Park for the Merseyside derby on Monday night.
“Tonight and tomorrow it’ll not feel nice but we’ve got to use it and react in the right way and finish off the season well.
“We’ve got the derby next, which is a big game for us. That’s what the focus has got to turn to very quickly because that’s a big game and [we’ll] just keep taking it game by game until the end of the season. We want to finish it strongly.”
All games between now and the end of the season are likely to be played behind closed doors due to the spread of the Coronavirus.
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