The former Reds star believes Jurgen Klopp’s side would be preparing for a quarter-final clash had their Spanish custodian not faced Atletico Madrid
Adrian must be considered responsible for Liverpool’s Champions League exit, says Steve Nicol, with the Spaniard’s performance against Atletico Madrid showing why the Reds invested £65 million ($82m) in Alisson.
Jurgen Klopp saw his side crash out of Europe on home soil as a 3-2 extra-time defeat at the hands of La Liga heavyweights brought a reign as kings of the continent for those on Merseyside to a close.
Everything had been going to plan for Liverpool when Roberto Firmino put them 2-0 up on the night, but a poor clearance from Adrian saw the tie turned on its head as Marcos Llorente was teed up to snatch a priceless away goal.
Klopp was reluctant to point a finger of blame at his back-up goalkeeper afterwards, with Alisson currently sidelined through injury, while Adrian is considered to have been unfortunate in the eyes of some.
Nicol, though, says his error has the Reds narrowing their focus on the Premier League title and explains why an ambitious outfit were prepared to invest so heavily in a reliable last line of defence.
The former Liverpool defender told ESPN FC: “Do you know what? If anybody ever questions why you spend £65 million on a goalkeeper, you just saw it.
“Liverpool were 2-0 up in the tie in extra-time. They’re through, if they don’t lose a goal, they’re through.
“So yes, they could have finished it off earlier, but the fact is they lost the game because of the goalie.
“They’re through at 2-0, we keep going back to the same thing, they’re through at 2-0.
“Without the goalkeeper giving the first goal away, Liverpool go through.
“Atletico Madrid, other than the first minute of the game, never looked like scoring, never got near the goal, absolutely nowhere near it, complete and utter dominance, complete and utter total control [but] because one guy then gets involved and makes a mess of it, that’s why they’re out.
“You cannot look at it any other way. We can complain about missed chances – the fact is they were through with a clean sheet and the goalkeeper for the second time in three years has blown it for them.”
Liverpool saw their Champions League dreams slip through the hands of Loris Karius back in the 2018 final, with the German’s forgettable showing in a 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid ultimately leading Klopp into the market for Alisson.