‘Liverpool’s Champions League exit does not take gloss off outstanding season’

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Liverpool’s season is suddenly under a strange sort of scrutiny after they were bundled out of the Champions League by Diego Simeone and his Atletico Madrid streetfighters’ smash-and-grab raid.

In the space of a week, the Reds have gone out of the FA Cup at Chelsea and now their European crown has been knocked off their heads in the Anfield arena that has been a fortress under manager Jurgen Klopp. This was a chastening, painful night. Liverpool laid siege to Atletico’s goal but failed to land the knockout blow – and they then paid the price as deputy goalkeeper Adrian’s error put the skids under them after they finally held the lead in a tie that lived on a knife edge.

Give Atletico an inch and a mile is the least they take. Simeone’s men were ruthless once they had a sniff of victory, leaving Liverpool to swallow their second big disappointment in just a few days. It revived a few whispers that their season may end as something of an anti-climax as what looked like an assault on several fronts is now down to completing the formalities of their first league title in 30 years.

In reality, Liverpool were outstanding until Adrian, deputising for the injured Alisson, opened the door for Atletico when his error led to substitute Marcos Llorente’s vital away goal.

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