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Jurgen Klopp would never repeat Liverpool mistake that devastated Steven Gerrard



Jurgen Klopp would never repeat Liverpool mistake that devastated Steven Gerrard

Jurgen Klopp won’t fly the white flag when Liverpool face a three-goal deficit at Real Madrid on Wednesday

Cheerful realism reigned among Liverpool supporters who flocked to Madrid on Monday afternoon.

Fans have long accepted lowered expectations as last season’s quadruple tilt gave way to a painful transition campaign.

This was underscored at the weekend when the record win over Manchester United followed their worst result of the season in a dismal 1-0 defeat at Bournemouth.

It somewhat vindicated the traveling Kop’s belief that a Champions League miracle isn’t even possible for the seasoned wizards of Jurgen Klopp’s side after the Reds finished 2-2 in the first leg of their home round against Real Madrid three weeks ago: 5 had been beaten by 16 draws.

However, the Liverpool manager won’t have given up hope for the most unlikely results when his sides perform at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night. And that stands in stark contrast to the Reds’ last visit to the home of the 14-time European champions.

The Champions League group stage clash at Real Madrid in November 2014 took on infamous status in Liverpool’s history in European competition, a night which, in hindsight, marked the beginning of the end several careers at Anfield, including that of then manager Brendan Rodgers.

Never before or since have the Reds waved the white flag, it’s such a terrifyingly obvious way that Rodgers would rather qualify for the Champions League than participate.

context is important. Liverpool had suffered a disappointing start to the season, struggling outside the top four. They had been beaten 3-0 at home by Real Madrid – their heaviest home defeat in Europe until the Spaniards’ last visit – but they still had a chance to secure qualification with fixtures at Ludogorets and Basel.

Chelsea were due to play an important match at Anfield a few days later, also at the start of the season, and Rodgers opted to favor that Premier League match by fielding an underperforming side at Real Madrid.

Rodgers correctly indicated that it was difficult to know who was the Reds’ first pick at the time, so inconsistent was their form. However, it would almost certainly have been skipper Steven Gerrard and talented youngster Raheem Sterling.

Ultimately, the Reds failed on both counts. The much changed XI performed well, but lost 1-0 and the rotation collapsed as Liverpool were beaten 2-1 by Chelsea the following weekend, losing their first four. And after drawing with Ludogorets and Basel, they were eliminated in the Europa League, where they were immediately expelled by Besiktas.

The night was a turning point for Rodgers, just six months after Liverpool’s thrilling Premier League title challenge. He was gone within a year, replaced by Klopp. Gerrard later said that his “numbness” from being placed on the bench at the Bernabeu was a factor behind his decision to leave at the end of the season, while Sterling was equally unenthusiastic about being left out and moving to the Manchester City in forced summer.

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