Jurgen Klopp explained how his side would need “a little bit of luck” to prevail in Saturday’s clash, but unfortunately they didn’t get the rub of the green in Kyiv.
If Salah had not been struck down by Sergio Ramos’ cynical challenge, Liverpool would likely be celebrating a sixth European Cup triumph; such are the fine margins on the big stage.
But what did journalists and statisticians make of the Reds’ performances in defeat?
(NB. Lallana is included over Salah having played the majority of the game.)
Unsurprisingly, Karius averaged a miserably low rating (2.7), with it proving impossible to overlook the impact of his dismal showing on the result.
The Independent‘s Samuel Lovett was the most critical, describing the goalkeeper as “a calamity,” though also adding that “it’s important now he gets the necessary support he’ll need moving forward.”
Ahead of Karius, however, both Lovren (7.2) and Andy Robertson (7.1) were deemed particularly impressive, while Van Dijk (6.7) was also rated highly despite the loss.
No player stood out more than Mane (7.8), however, with the Senegalese stepping up in Salah’s absence and receiving a plethora of eight-out-of-10 ratings.
“Liverpool‘s best player,” evaluated Anfield Index’s Oliver Emmerson, adding that he “did everything you could have asked.”
Salah’s direct replacement, Adam Lallana (5.3), did not perform to standard, however, with the midfielder’s lack of pace, match fitness and cutting edge clear.
Statistically, Mane (8.37) also shone, with the 26-year-old firing more shots on goal (three), completing more dribbles (four) and making more successful tackles (six) than any other Liverpool player.
Producing arguably his best performance since joining the club Lovren’s efforts were, to an extent, reflected in his statistics (6.87), but Robertson (7.07) ran Mane closest.
It is scant consolation that Mane was able to take charge given Karius failed to keep it together between the sticks, but his influence is an encouraging sign for the future.
On the whole, Liverpool should consider this a setback, not a roadblock, as they continue their fine progress under Klopp both in Europe and on the domestic stage.