For the first time in their history, Liverpool conceded five in a European home game. The scousers will face a tough time in their return game against Real Madrid, who are now unbeaten in seven games between them.
Comebacks aren’t an alien thing in the Champions League, and Real Madrid have lost European home games by three-goal margins twice before - 4-1 against Ajax and 3-0 against CSKA Moskva, both in 2018/19. Something that Liverpool can take heart from.
The first leg saw the Reds lead the game within a mere four minutes as Darwin Nunez cheekily flicked it past Thibaut Courtois. They added to their lead when Mo Salah took advantage of a mistake by Courtois and smashed it into the net. But La Casa Blanca roared back in a menacing fashion, with the likes of Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema scoring two each and Eder Militao heading one in past Alisson Becker.
Madrid's ability to recover from two goals down to win by three has never happened in the Champions League before, but Carlo Ancelotti won't want a repeat at the Bernabéu. After the rollercoaster first leg, the Italian admitted he was still cautious of Liverpool's ability to pressure Madrid's lead. 'Steady as you go and 100 per cent focus' will be his pre-match orders.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was exhilarated after his side’s 7-0 victory over Manchester United. Cody Gakpo, Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez scored twice and Roberto Firmino’s late strike signed off the rampant win.
It is evident that Liverpool are in fabulous form, and though they are the underdogs here, it just makes them more vicious and lethal. The Reds are no strangers to comebacks. The fans remain optimistic they can turn the tide in their favour and proceed to the quarterfinals of Europe’s elite competition.
They, however, failed to impress against AFC Bournemouth, who find themselves in the bottom five of the Premier League table. A bottom feeder stunning the giants of Anfield 1-0 is a definite blow to their morale and it may have an effect on their confidence against Madrid.
But Klopp is taking his steps one at a time. It shows that they are grounded and not intimidated by the Spanish giants.
Liverpool have the attack to achieve the seemingly impossible. Gakpo, Nunez and Salah have slid back into form and Firmino is back from a calf injury.
Also, while Ibrahima Konaté strengthens the defence as centre-back, Trent Alexander-Arnold is expected to effectively switch between attack and defence.
But, with Thiago Alcantara injured, the Reds’ chink in their armour remains the midfield. Despite their blusterous defence and lethal attack, the absence of a playmaker like him will hurt. Fabinho has been inconsistent in the previous matches. But Klopp still has some tactical bullets left. Stefan Bajcectic, 17, has lived up to Liverpool standards every time he has come off the bench.
No doubt, it is an uphill battle for the Reds. However, there was renewed optimism on the back of their victory over United. The shock defeat to Bournemouth may add fuel to the fire. Liverpool will certainly fancy their chances. Don’t write them off just yet, as stranger things have happened in football.