A Merseyside legend has admitted the Spanish outfit “deserved” their first leg win over the Premier League leaders in Europe’s elite competition
Atletico took the lead after just four minutes of the last-16 first-leg tie at Wanda Metropolitano, as Saul Niguez steered the ball into the net from close range following a corner which caused havoc in the Reds’ penalty area.
Alvaro Morata missed a great chance to double the home side’s account midway through the first half, as Liverpool struggled to exert their usual dominance while being outrun in the middle of the park.
It was a similar story in the second period, with Morata squandering another golden opportunity after being teed up perfectly in the box, but the Reds did come close to scoring themselves through Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson.
Carragher was left bemoaning Liverpool’s unimaginative approach in the final third, an issue which he believes Klopp has failed to address in recent years.
“Well, it was a really frustrating night for Liverpool. We knew how Atletico would play, Jurgen Klopp knew,” the ex-Liverpool defender told Viasport post-match.
“But the big thing you don’t want to do in games like this is to concede the first goal – and so very early from a set-piece.
“Sometimes it happens, a little bit of luck and it rebounds and they go 1-0 up. Liverpool didn’t get too frustrated but they couldn’t create anything, they don’t have real creativity, certainly in midfield. That’s always been a problem.”
Carragher went on to admit that Atletico were good value for their victory, but he expects a strong response from Liverpool in the second leg at Anfield.
“But I think tonight you have to say Atletico defended really well and the important thing for Liverpool was not to lose their discipline, and get a red card or go down to 10 men, and to make sure the game stayed at 1-0 and not 2-0,” he added.
“At 1-0 I still think Liverpool have a great opportunity of going through. If it had gone 2-0 I think Liverpool would have been nearly out.
“So at 1-0 Atletico deserved it, they had the better chances, but Liverpool will be a lot better at Anfield.”
Liverpool will now turn their attention to a home fixture against West Ham on Monday, which comes five days before they take in a trip to Vicarage Road to face Watford.