Owen makes blinkered Liverpool claim after Champions League exit

Date published: Thursday 12th March 2020 10:13

Michael Owen claims Liverpool are still “the best team in Europe” and that teams remaining in the Champions League will be breathing a “huge sigh of relief” after they were knocked out by Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

Liverpool’s reign as European champions came to an end as a 3-2 home defeat saw them exit 4-2 on aggregate after extra time.

In a tale of two goalkeepers, the LaLiga side’s Jan Oblak showed why he is one of the world’s best by single-handedly holding the visitors at bay in the second half as shots rained down on his goal with the tie level on aggregate at 1-1 after Georginio Wijnaldum’s opener.

OPINION: Champions League winners and losers

By contrast Adrian, the goalkeeper who did not have a club in the summer and who was standing in for the injured Alisson Becker, had a shocking nine minutes in extra time with his error leading to Marcos Llorente’s goal after Roberto Firmino’s first at Anfield since April had put Liverpool ahead in the tie for the first time.

Not that Jurgen Klopp was blaming him afterwards.

The Spaniard then seemed slow to react to Alonso’s long-range effort, which left Klopp’s side needing two goals in the final 15 minutes.

For once Anfield could not deliver one of its famous comebacks as Klopp lost his first two-legged tie as Liverpool manager at the 11th attempt, as well as his first European tie at home, despite having 35 shots, with Alvaro Morata adding a third in the 120th minute.

A somewhat bitter Klopp was left to admit he was a “really bad loser” after criticising Diego Simeone’s style of football.

But former Liverpool striker Owen had some words of comfort for the Reds after the game by claiming they are still the “best team in Europe”.

Owen told BT Sport following the match: “There’s no question whatsoever that every single big team around Europe has just breathed a huge sigh of relief, Liverpool are out, and I’ve got no doubts that they are the best team in Europe at the moment.

“Yes, they’ve been beaten over two legs but they are still the best team in Europe and they were absolutely outstanding for 90 minutes.”

Owen also claimed the result would have been completely different had Alisson, rather than Adrian been goal, with the Brazilian ruled out before hand through injury.

“If Alisson plays, Liverpool win,” he added. “As Rio [Ferdinand] said, the difference between the two sides was the goalkeepers.”

 

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