Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota battled against Real Madrid last night, according to Jurgen Klopp, who spoke to Liverpool’s official website
Liverpool were eliminated from the Champions League in the last-16 stage after falling to Real Madrid 6-2 on aggregate.
The Reds had a lot to do at the Bernabeu after falling to Carlo Ancelotti’s men 5-2 at Anfield last month.
Although creating some solid chances, Klopp’s players were unable to trouble a tenacious Madrid defense on the night.
Liverpool had their chances, but they were also lucky that Madrid were inefficient in front of goal on the night.
Even Klopp admits that Jota and Nunez struggled against the European champions.
Klopp on Nunez and Jota displays According to Liverpool’s official website, Klopp stated that both Jota and Nunez were not at their best last night in Madrid.
“With Diogo, it was evident that he should not play for an extended period of time because he is still recovering from a long, lengthy injury,” he explained. “You could see the game getting harder and harder for him, minor fouls there, one, two, three, he is not a player that is normally fouling so perhaps he comes a bit late. So he’s not a risk, and we have choices on the bench.
“Yes, Darwin looked like he was not on the absolute top level as well and then we need to defend that side as well because conceding a goal is not helpful in that situation. Yes, we can change that, which is why we did it. True, we wanted to mix it up a little.”
In the 57th minute, Klopp substituted Harvey Elliott and Roberto Firmino for Jota and Nunez.
It’s fair to say that Jota appeared sluggish after only recently returning from a lengthy layoff.
Yet Nunez appeared to be Liverpool’s best threat on the night, and it seemed unfair that he was brought out before the likes of Cody Gakpo.
The 23-year-old has put in some good performances recently and appears to be settling into Klopp’s side, even if the German believes he wasn’t at his best last night.
Liverpool will now be fighting to stay in the tournament next season, and they will have to finish in the top four.
Klopp will be hoping that Jota is back to full match sharpness after his injury, and Nunez will be aiming to build on his encouraging form.