The Dutchman’s regrets are all for the first leg as he retains faith for the top four race.
That’s what we have to do: stay confident and just work hard to still try to bring this season to a good end.”
There were a lot of positives to take from Liverpool’s performance in the second leg, many of which speak well on the side’s ability to play to a specific game plan as a unit — but the lack of goals is an issue.
“Everything was there, a good performance, the way we played on the pitch: position play, counter-press, everything was there. We created chances but one thing was not there and that was the goals.”
Wijnaldum especially regrets his side’s inability to take the good chances they created early on, which would have changed the complexion of the game at Anfield.
“I think also for us it would give, of course, more confidence. More confidence than we already had at the moment and for them it would have been really difficult then because they know that we only needed one goal to win the game.
“Unfortunately, that did not happen. I still have to say that we did quite well during the game but, unfortunately, we couldn’t score the chances we created.”
Like Klopp, however, Wijnaldum knows that the game was lost in the away leg performance.
“I think the biggest regret we have right now [is] that we gave away the first leg. The goals we gave away there, that makes it even harder to do the job today.
“But that’s the Champions League, you play against good teams and when you play the way we were playing there you get punished – and that’s what happened to us.”
The Dutch midfielder is correct, and his side have a lot of positives to walk away with amidst the disappointment of going out of a competition they have been competitive in for the past four seasons.
Should the Reds want to continue this pattern (and attract the type of talent that competing in the Champions League brings), they have an uphill battle in the league to fight — and one which requires slip-ups by the teams around them.
Liverpool need to regain their shooting boots, but retaining the level of team form put on display against Madrid would be a good first step towards this goal.