Former Liverpool star Michael Owen had made a big claim following the Reds’ exit from the Champions League last night following a 3-2 (AET) defeat to Atletico Madrid.
Jurgen Klopp’s team came into the tie trailing by one goal following Saul Niguez’s winning-strike at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium three weeks ago.
Georginio Wijnaldum scored another vital European Cup goal for the Reds after heading home from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross before half-time.
Liverpool had chances to wrap up the match in normal time but were consistently thwarted by the impenetrable Jan Oblak.
The Reds finally had the ascendancy four minutes into extra-time after Roberto Firmino bagged his first Anfield goal of the season after netting in from the rebound after his header struck the post.
However, with just 25 minutes of extra time to go, Diego Simeone’s side bounced back to turn the tie on its head. Substitute Marcos Llorente had previously scored just three career goals – but he netted a brace. The first coming after a catastrophic error from goalkeeper Adrian.
The second was an excellent snapshot from 20 yards out, leaving the Spaniard with no chance. Liverpool hit the bar through Andy Robertson and had plenty of chances, but Alvaro Morata ended any doubt with moments left – squeezing the ball through.
But despite this dramatic defeat and Liverpool defence of their European Cup brought to an abrupt end, Owen still claims that Liverpool are the best team across the continent.
Speaking to BT Sport, he said: “Yes, they’ve been beaten over two legs but they are still the best team in Europe and they were absolutely outstanding for 90 minutes.
“As Rio [Ferdinand] said, the difference between the two sides was the goalkeepers.”
What RTK has to say
Although this crushing blow won’t define our season, fixating on how we are perceived by supporters outside of Liverpool shouldn’t be of importance to Kopites.
Owen probably should have remained impartial following the defeat and maybe emotion got the better of him.
Whether we are considered the best team in Europe or not by the majority is absolutely irrelevant.
Liverpool have become serial winners in the past 18 months and all that matters to them is winning trophies.
The Reds may be out of Europe but they went out in a blaze of glory having given everything for the cause.
Klopp and the team are about to deliver the prize that has been coveted more than anything for the past 30 years.
It’s not quite all doom and gloom for the Red half of Merseyside.