Jordan Henderson ‘bitterly disappointed’ with Liverpool’s Champions League exit but hails heroics of Jan Oblak

The Reds will still end the season with three trophies – if the Premier League campaign continues

Karl Matchett
Thursday 12 March 2020 15:11 GMT
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Premier League Round Up Liverpool close in on first title in 30 years

Jordan Henderson has spoken of his devastation after Liverpool‘s Champions League exit at the hands of Atletico Madrid – and more specifically, the hands of goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

The Reds dominated the last 16 second leg at Anfield and came from behind to lead on aggregate at one stage, but a culmination of missed chances and slack defending in extra time saw the holders knocked out.

Henderson returned from injury to play in midfield for Jurgen Klopp’s team, and says the players put everything into mounting a comeback.

But the way Atletico were able score three in extra time made it a tough occasion to take.

“Obviously we’re really disappointed,” he said to BT Sport after the game.

“I thought the performance overall was very good, the intensity and everything we spoke about before the game. We put everything into the game and we’re bitterly disappointed.

“We’ll be disappointed with the goals we’ve conceded, but if we look at the performance then large parts of the game we’ll be pleased with.

“With the position we were in and to concede the goals we did isn’t like us, so it’s very disappointing but we’ve got to take it on the chin.”

Liverpool took the lead through Gini Wijnaldum’s header, which sent the tie to extra time, before Roberto Firmino doubled the Reds’ lead and put them ahead.

But a brace from Marcos Llorente and a late goal from Alvaro Morata turned the tie once more, after Atleti keeper Oblak had denied the home side time and time again.

Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak punches the ball (AFP via Getty Images)
Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak punches the ball (AFP via Getty Images) (AFP/Getty)

Andy Robertson hit the crossbar, Firmino had chances, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain tested the Slovenian stopper from range and both Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane went close, as Liverpool clocked up 34 shots across the 120 minutes.

But Oblak stood firm and Reds captain Henderson praised his performance, before urging his team to recapture their positive mindset to finish off their successful league campaign.

“He [Oblak] made some great saves but we created so many chances to score and obviously just couldn’t find the third [goal] to kill the game off.

“But listen, the lads gave everything. As we always do, we left everything on the field but unfortunately we just couldn’t get the result we wanted.

“Tonight and tomorrow it’ll not feel nice but we’ve got to use it and react in the right way and finish off the season well. We’ve got the derby next, which is a big game for us.

Salah reacts as Liverpool are knocked out of Europe
Salah reacts as Liverpool are knocked out of Europe (Getty Images)

“That’s what the focus has got to turn to very quickly because that’s a big game and [we’ll] just keep taking it game by game until the end of the season. We want to finish it strongly.”

While several of Europe’s top leagues and competitions are facing postponements due to the spread of coronavirus, the Premier League is so far set to continue.

Liverpool travel to local rivals Everton on Monday night, needing just six points as it stands to secure a first top-flight league title in 30 years.

Henderson will be the man to lift the trophy when they pass the milestone, but first he’ll need to help lift his team’s spirits after losing their grip as Europe’s finest.

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