Liverpool against Roma was, without doubt, a spectacle.
The Reds won the tie with the odd goal in 13 and the two teams produced the highest goal scoring Champions League semi-final of all time.
But after the excitement ebbs, Klopp will have to have a serious look at his team.
While the first leg demonstrated so many positives throughout the team, the second leg was a relative shambles.
Ignoring that fact that the refereeing was a shit show, Liverpool again looked suspect defensively. And while the Anfield club can be forgiven for the result, it is the performance that needs real scrutiny.
Liverpool twice squandered the lead when they should’ve looked to push on and this, if repeated against Madrid, will result in agony in Kiev.
The semi-final performance is the narrative that has permeated through Liverpool’s exciting campaign.
Leads against Newcastle, Everton and Watford, to name a few, were tossed away despite good performances. Looking a little further away from home, you only have to think of the Sevilla away fixture to appreciate just how incapably Liverpool balance the tantalising with the terrible.
At Roma, the Milner own-goal, while unfortunate, encaptured Liverpool’s defensive fragility. Everyone was in the right place, but a poor clearance resulted in an own-goal so tragically comedic, it wouldn’t have looked out of place on a League of Gentlemen sketch.
Liverpool have always struggled with the classic number 9. And Dzeko is just that. Big, strong, intelligent and so gifted with the ball, the Bosnian was a near unpreventable problem for the Reds, and he proved just that.
Now imagine Ronaldo.
Their’s an aura of inevitability at the Portuguese winger-turned-striker scoring, particularly when you consider just how much Lovren seems to struggle against these sort of players. Lovren, so often reliable for 89 minutes, always has the capacity for what can only be described as a brain fart.
The Croat is the antithesis of Liverpool’s latest addition at the back, Van Dijk, whose composure on the ball and cool head under pressure has been a revelation at a time where Liverpool’s defence has rarely looked more vulnerable. That, coupled with the recent performance of Andy Robertson had taken some of the scrutiny from Klopp’s team, but once again questions are being asked of the Liverpool defence.
Despite the Reds being so good going forward that they border on being eroticism in human form, the defence have got issues and unfortunately for the big German in the dugout, until the summer they’re not issues that can be rectified with cash.
At the beginning of the season, Klopp acknowledged a problem with Liverpool’s attacking which frequently meant that when they lost the ball, the two centre backs were exposed to counters and overloads. Keeping a midfielder and one fullback back at all times rectified that – to an extent.
No team’s perfect at the back, particularly one that expends so much energy going forward.
Klopp now has two options against Real Madrid, he could simply play more defensively. But that’s not his style and rightly so. Liverpool lack the mentality, the men and the focus to keep a clean sheet by shutting up shop.
What’s far more appealing is, much like Liverpool back in 2013/14, Klopp needs to simply accept that his system means that his defence will rarely keep a clean sheet. The attitude that Liverpool should take it ‘yeah, you might score 3, but we’ll score 4.’
And when you look at Real’s defensive fragility, coupled with Mane, Firmino and that Egyptian fella, who’s to say that Liverpool can’t do just that and bring number 6 home?