Danny Ward was left with mixed emotions after Liverpool’s defeat against Atletico Madrid at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday evening.
The Welsh goalkeeper made his first start for Liverpool since May 2016 after Jürgen Klopp named him in his starting XI to face Atletico Madrid.
Despite a top class save in the first half to deny Angel Correa from point blank range, the goalie conceded from the rebound as Keida Bare reacted first in the box to nod home the loose ball.
Roberto Firmino levelled the scores late in the second half from the penalty spot after Divock Origi theatrically won the Reds a spot kick.
With the scores tied at full time, the game went to penalties which Atletico subsequently won 5-4. Ward reflected on how the satisfaction of his return in a Liverpool shirt was spoiled to an extent.
“I think it went quite well,” Ward told Liverpoolfc.com, when asked about his first appearance of pre-season.
“I’ve had a couple of knocks here and there through pre-season which has been frustrating, but I’m happy to finally be out there.
“They were just little knocks, ones that are really annoying, but at this part of the season it’s all about preparation and making sure you’re right so it was enjoyable.”
On Keidi Bare’s opening goal, Ward commented: “In that situation, I think you’re left a bit helpless.
“We’re looking for that to fall to one of our boys or into a bit of space, but unfortunately it’s fallen straight to their player.”
Liverpool fans were hoping that Ward’s prowess as a penalty-saving-keeper would come to their aid last night but acknowledged the skill of Atletico’s spot kick takers.
“The pressure’s on them to put it in the back of the net so hat’s off to them, they put them away [with] good penalties. I can’t have any complaints, really,” he admitted.
“You can’t have them all as a ’keeper, you’ve just got to pick a way to dive and I think the luck was on their side today.
“At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if it’s 90 minutes or 120 minutes, you want to win the game regardless of whether it’s pre-season or in whatever competition. Obviously, it’s disappointing, but we’ll learn from it.”
Liverpool have one more pre-season game to play and although Simon Mignolet is expected to return between the sticks ahead of the Reds’ Premier League opener on August 12th, Ward will have enjoyed his run out at the Allianz.
The new season will start at Vicarage road for Liverpool with Watford expecting the Reds in nine day’s time.