Liverpool midfielder agrees Reds lost Champions League tie in "really intense" first half
Gini Wijnaldum knows that Liverpool’s defeat in Madrid on Tuesday was down mainly to a below-par first-half performance from The Reds.
A dire showing from Jürgen Klopp’s men in the opening half of Tuesday night’s game against Real Madrid saw Liverpool go in 2-0 down at the break. Mohamed Salah pulled one back in the second half but Klopp’s side ended up losing 3-1 on the night.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com after the match, Wijnaldum was asked if the damage had been done in that first half:
“Yes, for sure.
“You saw how we gave the goals away and how we played when we had the ball – it was not good enough.
“When we recovered the ball we gave it away too quickly and that’s why we had to run a lot and that’s why the first half was really intense, really heavy and hard.
“I think that was more because of the way we were playing. That killed our first half.
“On the weekend when we had the ball we were really good, played good football, and when we lost the ball our counter-pressing was good.
“Today, in a lot of moments the counter-press was good but when we had the ball we didn’t keep it long enough to come in the game.
“That brought them in the game because they recovered the ball really quick and that’s how they created chances.”
On the difficulty Liverpool now face in overturning a two-goal deficit in the second leg, Wijnaldum said:
“It’s always good to have an away goal. Unfortunately, they scored one after we scored.
“So I have to say it would have been easier if it was 2-1 or we scored [to make it] 2-2. Now we have to score two and make sure we don’t concede.
“It’s not impossible, [like] we’ve shown in previous years, but it’s difficult.”
Liverpool must now focus on the visit of Aston Villa to Anfield this Saturday as they look to end their six-game losing streak at home. Real Madrid then arrive on Merseyside for the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final next Wednesday.
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