A Merseyside legend has confessed that the Spanish ensemble”deserved” their first-leg win over the Premier League leaders in Europe’s elite competition.
Liverpool’s lack of creativity in midfield remains a “problem” for Jurgen Klopp, who watched his side suffer a narrow 1-0 defeat against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night.
Atletico took the lead after only four minutes of this last-16 first-leg tie at Wanda Metropolitano, as Saul Niguez steered the ball into the net from close range after a corner that caused havoc at the Reds’ playground.
Alvaro Morata missed an excellent opportunity to double the home side’s account midway through the first half, as Liverpool struggled to exert their normal dominance while outrunning at the center of the park.
It was a similar story in the next period, with Morata blowing another golden chance after being teed up perfectly in the box, but the Reds did come close to scoring themselves through Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson.
Carragher was left-handed Liverpool’s unimaginative approach in the last third, an issue he considers Klopp has neglected to address in recent years.
“Well, it was a very frustrating night for Liverpool. We understood how Atletico would play, Jurgen Klopp understood,” the ex-Liverpool protector told Viasport post-match.
“But the major thing you don’t wish to do in games like this would be to concede the first goal — and so very early from a set-piece.
“Sometimes it happens, a little bit of luck and it rebounds and they go 1-0 up. Liverpool didn’t get overly frustrated, but they could not create anything, they do not have actual creativity, certainly in midfield. That has always been an issue.”
Carragher went on to acknowledge that Atletico were good value for their victory, but he expects a strong response from Liverpool in the second leg at Anfield.
“However, I think tonight you need to say Atletico defended very well and the important thing for Liverpool wasn’t to lose their discipline and find a red card or move down to ten men, and to be sure that the game stayed at 1-0 rather than 2-0,” he added.
“At 1-0 I think Liverpool have an excellent chance of going through. When it had gone 2-0 I think Liverpool would have been almost out.
“So at 1-0 Atletico deserved it, they had the better chances, but Liverpool is going to be a good deal better at Anfield.”
Liverpool will now turn their focus to a home fixture against West Ham on Monday, which comes five times until they take on a trip to Vicarage Road to confront Watford.