Liverpool supporters arrived in Madrid on Wednesday hoping for a minor miracle, instead they left with a somewhat predictable reality check.
Jurgen Klopp selected an ultra-attacking line-up for the Champions League second-leg encounter, throwing Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota, Cody Gakpo and Mohamed Salah up top in a 4-2-4 formation.
The Reds had early first half chances but could not find a breakthrough, despite trailing 5-2 from the first leg. Before the hour mark had even been reached, Klopp decided to ring the changes, but the removal of one player in particular raised some eyebrows amongst Liverpool supporters.
Bringing on Harvey Elliott and Roberto Firmino, Klopp withdrew Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez and it was the hooking of the Uruguayan that has miffed supporters on social media.
@Ishank595 wrote on Twitter: "True that there was no sense in removing Nunez especially as this is the last game for us this week. Klopp subs this season have been horrible."
@PaulJewell96 commented: "Nunez sub absolutely killed us he wasn’t even having a good game but he’s always a threat with his pace! Absolutely spineless performance by some of them players."
@lastuchihax wrote: "Turned it off, NO ONE TURNED UP TONIGHT! Klopp taking Nunez off for Elliott and Firmino? Take MILNER off. So annoyed."
@yaaboyojc didn't hold back, adding: "Klopp and his decision making once again, starting to really really doubt the man and his loyalty to Harvey Elliott and co. Keita should start over Milner and Nunez should never come off when we are desperate for a goal pathetic management."
@theflcsportsfan agreed, saying: "As soon as Nunez was taking off the threat completely went. Poor subs by Klopp."
@StephenEvans75 was on the same page. He Tweeted: "I can’t believe he’s Hooked Nunez there. In a season of bizarre Subs that’s just topped the lot."
Nunez has made 36 appearances for Liverpool since his big-money from from Benfica in the summer, scoring 14 goals in all competitions. The 23-year-old had found the net four times in his last six appearances for the Reds.
A 1-0 defeat to the European Champions has seen the Reds exit the Champions League this evening at the Round of 16 stage 6-2 on aggregate. They will need need to hope that they can recover to finish fourth in the Premier League this season in order to have another crack at Europe's greatest prize in the new campaign.
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