Jurgen Klopp says his Liverpool team ‘made it too easy’ for Real Madrid in their 3-1 quarter-final defeat.
The Reds had a poor night in Madrid, gifting Marco Asensio a goal and offering little going forward.
They went behind in the 27th minute as Vinicius Junior got in between the centre-backs following a great Toni Kroos pass.
Vinicius confidently beat Alisson with a nice finish that stunned Klopp’s side.
Real doubled their lead nine minutes later as Trent Alexander-Arnold headed into the path of Asensio. The Spaniard lobbed Alisson and finished off the chance from close range.
After the interval, Liverpool came out fighting in a brief spell of positivity.
They got a goal back as Mo Salah thumped home past Thibaut Courtois.
But Vinicius got his second, and Real’s third, following a quick move.
A throw-in eventually came to Luka Modric, who crossed in for Vinicius. The forward hit a first-time effort which Alisson couldn’t keep out.
Reacting to the poor performance, Klopp told BT Sport (via BBC Sport): “If you want to go to the semi-final, you have to earn the right to do so. We didn’t do that tonight, especially in the first half.
“The only good thing I can say, apart from the goal, is it’s only the first half of the tie. We just didn’t play good enough football to cause Real Madrid more problems.
“We made it too easy for them. These mistakes can happen. We didn’t deserve a lot more but that one goal and the second half was OK. It gives us a lifeline.”
Klopp made a surprise call by replacing Thiago Alcantara with Naby Keita in the starting eleven.
The German boss said he ‘couldn’t ignore’ Keita’s performances in training, but the midfielder had a night to forget.
He gave the ball away on numerous occasions and was subbed before half time.
When asked about the substitution, Klopp added: “It’s not a big story. I don’t like it. He wasn’t the only one. It was tactical. I could have done a few more changes in that moment.”
Speaking about what they need to go through in the second leg, Klopp said: “Intensity with the ball especially. You cannot defend the speed of Real Madrid when you give them the ball at the wrong moments.
“If you lose the ball in the right moment it’s OK. We lost the ball, so many easy passes. You have really quick and world class players in one on ones. We have to be better in possession.”