Jamie Carragher hit out at former side Liverpool after a “shambolic” Champions League showing as a rampant Real Madrid fought back to “destroy” the Reds.
Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah, the latter capitalising on an inexplicable Thibaut Courtois error, fired Jurgen Klopp’s side into a 2-0 lead inside 15 minutes at Anfield in the first leg of their last-16 clash.
But Carlo Ancelotti’s defending European champions responded in ruthless fashion, with a Vinicius Junior first-half double restoring parity before Eder Militao nodded Madrid in front in the second period.
A Karim Benzema brace secured a 5-2 lead to defend at Santiago Bernabeu on March 15, with Liverpool the first team in Champions League history to take a 2-0 lead and lose by a three-goal margin.
It marked the first time in Europe that Liverpool have conceded five goals at home as well and Carragher was left in disbelief as he launched a scathing assessment.
The former Liverpool captain said on CBS Sports: “First of all what a performance by Real Madrid to come to Anfield and do that.
“I’ve never seen a team come to Anfield, on a European night that I can remember, and perform and destroy Liverpool like that.
“That was shambolic from Liverpool, embarrassing, we’ve made excuses for them all season.
“We’ve said reasons why they’re not doing as well as they have done in previous seasons, but that was a disgrace in that second half.”
5 – Real Madrid are the first team Opta has on record (since 2003-04) to score five goals in a UEFA Champions League match despite having fewer than 10 shots in the match (9). Clinical. pic.twitter.com/v9ZsfkBHhs
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 21, 2023
Klopp’s charges, on the back of two straight wins, had the chance to salvage the tie with the game finely poised at 2-2 at half-time.
But Liverpool, who sit eighth in the Premier League after an otherwise poor start to 2023, crumbled under the pressure – much to the disgust of Carragher.
He added: “To not even have a chance, to show any real fight after the goals go in and to lose that second half 3-0, when you’re attacking The Kop and it’s 2-2 in the tie, absolutely shambolic from Liverpool.
“What I’m talking about in terms of shambolic, is defensively shambolic all season.
“It was nonsense that Liverpool were back after the last two games, they played against an Everton team who produced one of the worst performances in a derby, they did nothing.
“At Newcastle, Newcastle had 10 men and created chances, if they had 11 they would have got back in the game I’m convinced.
“That is because Liverpool right now, all season in fact, have been an absolute shambles defensively. This team had a great defensive record last season.
“The midfield doesn’t have the energy any more, the attacking players don’t press or have the cohesion they had before.
“This Liverpool defence, who we’ve been told for years have the best players in the world, can’t cope. For years, they’ve had a front six in front of them who worked harder and smarter than any other team in football, but now they’re gone they’ve absolutely fallen apart.”
Tonight was special. pic.twitter.com/NwlDGNhEZV
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) February 21, 2023
Carragher was unable to mount any kind of defence for Liverpool or Klopp, with the Reds’ performance against Madrid embodying a season of underperformance and failure.
He continued: “I keep making excuses, because as Liverpool fans we adore this manager and the team as they’ve done so much in the last few years, but they are eighth in the Premier League and just been battered 5-2, I know by Real Madrid.
“But these two teams were in the final last year, it’s not acceptable to watch this season, we keep giving reasons and excuses, but it’s nowhere near good enough.
“What makes me laugh is Virgil van Dijk said I wouldn’t get in their back four a few months ago – I think I’d take his place at the moment.”
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