Jamie Carragher told CBS Sports on Paramount+ (06/04/21 at 10:00 pm) that Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita was ‘nowhere near’ Real Madrid duo Luka Modric and Toni Kroos on Tuesday.
Liverpool suffered a 3-1 first-leg defeat against the Spanish giants, with Keita starting the game and then being subbed off by Jurgen Klopp before the half-time break.
It was pretty clear that Klopp’s decision to start the £48 million man (BBC Sport) backfired, with Thiago Alcantara coming on and making a difference of some sort during the second period.
Carragher shared that Liverpool’s first-half display was ‘one of the worst’ he has seen during Klopp’s tenure.
“That first-half performance I think is one of the worst I have seen under Jurgen Klopp in six years,” said Carragher. “There was nothing there going forward. No intensity. Given chances up. Lucky it was only 2-0.
“What I saw in the second half is what I thought I would see for 90 minutes where it was almost a 50-50 game. Real Madrid were still good in the second half. But Liverpool made a game of it.
“The first half was not acceptable. It was nowhere near good enough. They were miles off it. We talk about the team and the midfield that he picked.
“Naby Keita went into midfield to put pressure on Kroos and Modric and he was nowhere near them. And ends up getting brought off just before half-time.”
Before the game, there was a lot of talk about whether Klopp would push to play his front four, but that will be needed at Anfield next week.
Whether that’s from the get-go, or at some period during the second half, either way, it’s going to be needed.
If Liverpool are knocked out here then they will fret at the possibility of not playing Champions League football next season because their current Premier League form doesn’t suggest that they will finish in the top four.