Liverpool were flat in their 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League final, with the media dissecting the match and the chaos that unfolded outside.
The Reds started well in Paris but failed to open the scoring, before falling off significantly as the game went on.
Vinicius Jr’s close-range finish clinched glory for Madrid in the second half and Liverpool struggled to mount any kind of response.
Here’s a look at how the media reacted to a forgettable night in Europe.
It simply wasn’t meant to be for Liverpool…
Goal‘s Neil Jones couldn’t hide his disappointment, on a “cruel” night:
“Mistreated off the pitch, they were pickpocketed on it. Vinicius Junior’s second-half strike settled this Champions League final, and ensured that for the 14th time, Real Madrid will get their hands on club football’s most famous trophy.
“At the end, Liverpool’s players sunk to the floor, broken. They’d given everything they had, but it wasn’t enough. A game too far, you might say, but were it not for the heroics of Thibaut Courtois, we’d be talking about the perfect end to a quite magnificent season for the Reds.
“Instead, their incredible journey ends here, in Paris and in disappointment. Close, but not quite close enough. The cruel world of elite-level football, summed up in a neat, 90-minute package.”
Oliver Holt of the Mail felt the Reds “met their match” in Paris:
“And so Liverpool, who had once hoped to arrive in Madrid seeking to seal an unprecedented Quadruple, ended their season with just two domestic cups to celebrate.
“The ‘mentality monsters’ met their match.”
“This defeat was so bruising for Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp could be forgiven for seeking comfort in the bottom of a glass.
“In 2018, his response to succumbing painfully to Real Madrid in a Champions League final was to become outrageously drunk at his house in the company of a German rock band. A second gruesome night at Real’s hands, captured by chaos outside the Stade de France and unbearable stress within, threatened to test his powers of abstinence to the limit.
“For once, Klopp could not furnish all the answers when it counted most. Just as Luis Diaz, arguably the revelation of Liverpool’s season, turned in his most anonymous display yet, Trent Alexander-Arnold was left hopelessly exposed at the back post by the brilliance of Vinicius Junior.
“Klopp exhorted his players with all the passion he could muster, but there comes a point against Real Madrid when the nettle must be grasped. Time and again, Liverpool spurned their invitations, as a campaign of quite staggering endurance culminated not in the rarest of trebles but in a haul of two domestic cups.”
Paul Gorst of the Liverpool Echo felt pride in defeat, following a spectacular campaign:
“The gut-wrenching feeling that no doubt swept over the entire Liverpool squad shortly after 11.30pm in Paris will have been a familiar one to many.
“For the second time of Jurgen Klopp‘s reign at Anfield, it is Real Madrid who have bested him in a Champions League final and while there was a depressing feeling of inevitability about all from their perspective, it is this one that really hurts.
“Four years ago, the overriding emotion as Liverpool stormed their way to Kyiv in swashbuckling, thrill-seeking style was one of pride when they came up short to the Spanish royals of Madrid. In truth, they were the underdogs back then.
“Why the stinging sensation of this one is more acute is down to the squad that Klopp has assembled in those intervening years, one that flew just too close to the sun as it skirted the very edges of football immortality this month.”
But the Independent‘s Miguel Delaney was unimpressed with Liverpool’s display:
“The most chaotic and unpredictable of runs ends the only way it could – with the team that almost always wins the European Cup, winning with total certainty.
“There was always a sense Real Madrid’s name was on the trophy, and it is now for a record-extending 14th time. Liverpool’s players could not fight fate, although they barely put up a struggle after the opening spell of this underwhelming 1-0 defeat.
“It was after that, and largely because of that, there only really felt one winner in Paris, too.
“Jurgen Klopp’s side gave one of their least inspiring performances of the season on the biggest night of the season, even if so much of this occasion failed to live up to its prestige.”
Many were angered by what happened outside the ground…
Jones was fuming about the scenes that unfolded involving the Liverpool fans:
“What happened outside the stadium should shame the authorities, and demands an immediate – and thorough – investigation.
“How on earth did we end up with a situation like this, with the kick off of the biggest game in club football delayed by more than half an hour, because hundreds of Liverpool fans were stuck outside, waiting behind a locked gate?
“How do we get to the point where those fans, with legitimate tickets, were then attacked with tear gas and pepper spray, and then, ridiculously but not surprisingly, held up as the cause of the issue by UEFA.
“Inside the stadium, we were told that the kick off had been delayed because fans had “arrived late”. It was crass and predictable, a blatant attempt to deflect the blame away from those who deserve it. Organisers who failed to organise, blaming ordinary supporters for their own errors.”
Gorst was left similarly enraged by the situation:
“But the real story here is how the wonderful allure of Real Madrid versus Liverpool, in Paris, for the European Cup, was reduced to something of a sideshow.
“For what looked like at least hundreds of fans who handed over fortunes to attend this event, they were locked out, pepper-sprayed and tear-gassed.
“The pre-match shambles that unfolded outside the Stade de France has cast a long, dark shadow over the events inside it on a night when the hype didn’t live up to its cinematic billing.”
Finally, This Is Anfield‘s Mark Delgado brilliantly gave his assessment of a shambolic evening:
“Pick what’s your biggest disgrace before we even got to kick-off – you’ve got a whole lot of options to choose from.
“Perhaps it’s the fact that multiple sources at the game across social media spoke of police, not stewards, checking their tickets – and others simply checking nobody at all?
“Or how about the eye-witness accounts – and accompanying video – of police pepper-spraying supporters who clearly had tickets and were simply trying to get in? Families and children were also targeted.
“Maybe it’s the numerous accredited media representatives who spoke of being forced into security enclosures and forced to delete their video and photographic evidence of said police ineptitude and brutality?
“Or, just perhaps, we want to look at the organisers of the entire shambles, UEFA, who delayed kick-off by over 30 minutes because of the scenes outside the Stade de France…and yet opted to inform those inside the ground it was because fans were ‘late’ getting to the match?”