Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool deserve to be in the Champions League quarter-finals despite some “slapstick” finishing as they were beaten by Inter Milan in the second leg of their last-16 tie at Anfield.
An outstanding finish by Lautaro Martinez was not enough for the Italian champions as the late goals by Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah in the first leg in Milan three weeks ago proved decisive.
“The art of football is to lose the right games,” said manager Klopp after Liverpool’s seven-match winning run in Europe this season came to a disappointing end.
“I still hate it, but if there was any game we could have afforded to lose it was this one because the main target of this competition is to get through.
“It’s not that I am over the moon – I’m really happy we went through, because when we saw the draw it was ‘OK, that’s a tough one’. But we went through over two legs and I think we deserved it.
“It’s a big ‘if’ but if we had used our chances from set-pieces and other situations – it was a bit slapstick how we missed the chances – in the end we could still have won the game.
“But the only thing I’m interested in is that it is fair we are through.”
Martinez gave Alisson no chance with an arrowed finish from 20 yards in the 61st minute.
But Inter’s hopes of forcing extra time with a second goal faded when former Arsenal and Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez was sent off just two minutes later for a second yellow card.
Liverpool hit the woodwork three times in a bad-tempered game which, in addition to Sanchez’s red card, saw six other players booked.
Bayern hit 7 past Salzburg
Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick inside the opening 23 minutes as Bayern Munich thrashed Red Bull Salzburg 7-1 to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.
The Poland captain, on his 100th start in the competition, confidently stroked home two penalties inside 21 minutes, after twice being recklessly brought down by Salzburg defender Maximilian Wober, the second confirmed after a VAR review.
The first spot-kick, swept into the bottom-left corner, was Lewandowski’s 40th goal of the season in all competitions.
He added his third after chasing down an attempted clearance from visiting goalkeeper Philipp Kohn to tap in from close range.
It is the first time a Champions League hat-trick has been completed as early as the 23rd minute, although it is not the quickest treble in the competition, with that record held by Bafetimbi Gomis following his three goals in eight minutes for Lyon in a 7-1 win over Dinamo Zagreb in 2011.
Serge Gnabry added a fourth with a low shot that squirmed under Kohn, while Thomas Muller thumped in a fifth after the break. Muller finished off a well-worked move for number six before Leroy Sane thumped home late on. (BBC)