Liverpool’s preparations for this weekend’s Premier League clash with Aston Villa did not go quite according to plan for Jurgen Klopp and his players.
The Reds were beaten 3-1 by Real Madrid in the first leg of their quarter-final tie in Spain on Tuesday night.
Vinicius Junior scored twice for the home side, with Marco Asensio also on target.
Mohamed Salah did at least get Liverpool an away goal but they still face an uphill battle if they are to progress in the competition.
Liverpool now turn their attention to their showdown against Villa at Anfield on Saturday (April 10), with the second leg against Real a few days later on Wednesday, April 14.
The Premier League offers the Reds another route back into the Champions League next season – but they currently sit seventh in the table amid a largely disappointing defence of the title they won so convincingly last term.
They are three points behind West Ham United, who occupy fourth spot – the final Champions League berth.
Meanwhile, Villa are ninth and five points behind Liverpool, with a game in hand on them.
Liverpool did later knock Villa out of the FA Cup but their 4-1 victory came against a side made up entirely of youth team players due to coronavirus restrictions.
At his post-match press conference in Madrid, Klopp was asked about the challenge of managing the chase for a top-four finish with trying to come back into the Champions League tie.
“We cannot be picky with that, we have to go for everything,” said the German.
“It’s not like we can now make the decision after that game there is no chance for us in the Champions League anymore.
“In the Premier League, we cannot change it every week – we have to fight until the end and we will.
“This is a really good result for Real Madrid and it’s not that we have any kind of advantage but with each day and each minute that will go over until the next game the 3-1 will not be that good anymore for Real Madrid and not that bad anymore for us because there is, of course, a chance.
“But, we have to play much better football.
“For example, a few years ago when we played against Barcelona and lost 3-0, we played a super game. That’s a massive difference and (against Real Madrid) we didn’t but we can play much better and we can be much more uncomfortable to play against than we were and that’s what we have to make sure next week.
“Now we have to recover first and then concentrate on Aston Villa, which is for us a very important game, not only because of the results we had recently or in this season against them.”
Klopp was far from happy with Liverpool’s performance against Real and felt his team made life too easy for their opponents.
“First and foremost, I think we didn’t deserve to win,” he added.
“We didn’t play good enough for that and that’s maybe my first concern (and) what I think about.
“Especially in the first half, we didn’t play good enough football. We pressed them kind of OK, they were under pressure, they had to shoot a lot of long balls without a proper target, we won these balls but we gave these balls pretty much with the second pass away again. That didn’t help.
“A game is a summary of momentum if you want, and when we had this good momentum and we won the ball, we changed that immediately by giving the ball away. “Football is a game where mistakes are completely normal, but you have to make the mistakes in the right spaces. If you do that, you can win the ball back by counter-pressing and stuff like this.
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“But when you, in completely unexpected situations, pass the ball to the feet of the opponent, that’s then tricky.
“So, we conceded the first goal, obviously served the second on a plate, but that was not the real problem of the game.
“Second half, we did better, we played better football, we tried to create. It’s then obviously very difficult against a really passionate and deep-defending Real Madrid side with the counter-attacking threat they are.
“But we score our goal, which is obviously the positive – the positive – of the night and that’s how it is. Did we deserve more than the 3-1? I’m not sure, to be honest.”