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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Felix Keith

Jurgen Klopp's worrying Champions League hoodoo rears its head again after latest exit

Jurgen Klopp may well be sick of the sight of Real Madrid following Liverpool’s humbling exit in the Champions League on Wednesday night.

Liverpool were comfortably dispatched 1-0 by Carlo Ancelotti’s side, who progressed to the quarter-finals 6-2 on aggregate. The away side had their chances in Madrid, but Karim Benzema’s tap-in ended up being the only goal of the game which makes Liverpool’s pursuit of a top-four finish all the more important.

Klopp knew all too well about the strengths of the side he was facing in the last 16, having been beaten by them in last year’s final. And his and Liverpool’s history with Madrid goes even further than that.

Klopp took over as Liverpool manager back in October 2015 and has now managed them in the Champions League for six seasons. He has won the competition once, in 2019, and been knocked out on five occasions.

A whopping four of those exits have now come at the hands of Real Madrid. They were beaten 1-0 in the final in Paris last year, lost 3-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals in 2020/21 and were defeated 3-1 in the 2018 final.

And the other Champions League knockout defeat? That came against Real’s rivals Atletico Madrid, who beat Liverpool 4-2 on aggregate in the last 16 in 2019/20. Liverpool have an impressive record in Europe’s top competition in general, but it appears that the city of Madrid is their kryptonite.

Jurgen Klopp has a poor record against Real Madrid (Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

HAVE YOUR SAY! What did you make of Liverpool's performance against Real Madrid? Comment below.

Throughout his career as a manager, with Mainz, Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool, Klopp has faced Real Madrid 12 times. He has won just three of those matches, drawing two and losing seven. Atleti have been much less frequent opponents, with two wins and two defeats.

And yet Klopp does have some very fond memories of Madrid: Liverpool’s 2–0 win over Tottenham in the 2019 final came in the Spanish capital, at Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Klopp’s most recent defeat to Real was a painful one and underlined the gap between Liverpool and the top sides in Europe at present. The Liverpool boss said he wasn’t angry with the result, as Real were much the better side over both legs.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool were beaten by Real Madrid in the 2018 Champions League final (Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

“We came here with the backpack we had with the three goals difference,” he said. “You need a special performance and we didn't show a special performance tonight. It was, in moments, a good performance, but Real Madrid was, for the whole game, the team in control of the game.

“They had the better chances, Ali had to make two sensational saves to keep us in the game and that's the reason. Again, if you want to go through you need to be outstanding; if you want to win the game, you need to be really good. In the end, Madrid were the better team and that's why the right team went through to the next round.”

He added: “I was not angry after the game, but I was disappointed. I would be angry if we would have played better and it was close and then they win because of a penalty which was not a penalty or stuff like this. But in the end that all didn't happen. Real Madrid were just the better side and I am long enough in the business to respect that.”

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