Sadly, Liverpool’s players who were involved in the 2018 Champions League final won’t have particularly fond memories of the occasion in the future.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were beaten 3-1 by Real Madrid in Kiev - although the result might have been very different had Mohamed Salah not dislocated his shoulder midway through the first half.
There might also have been a different outcome had Loris Karius not messed up so spectacularly for two of Madrid’s goals.
His first mistake, which gifted Karim Benzema the opener, will be remembered as one of the worse goalkeeper gaffes ever.
The German shot-stopper inexplicably rolled the ball into the foot of Benzema, who subsequently scored the easiest and most fortuitous goal of his career.
Sadio Mane equalised shortly afterwards before Gareth Bale’s stunning overhead kick put the Spanish giants 2-1 up. Bale then made it 3-1 to Madrid with a speculative long-range effort which embarrassed the hapless Karius.
One player who could have made a big difference on the night is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was ruled out of the final after suffering a serious knee injury in the semi-finals against AS Roma.
What Oxlade-Chamberlain did after the CL final
The England international, whose injury has already prevented him from playing at this summer’s World Cup finals in Russia, has revealed that watching his teammates lose to Madrid reduced him to tears at the full-time whistle.
“The Champions League final was devastating to miss and at the final whistle when we didn’t win all this emotion came rushing over me and it’s something I’ve never really experienced before,” he told talkSPORT.
“I was out on the pitch and I’m not a crier at all, but I just knew how much everyone wanted it – the city, the fans, the club, the players – and when you get injured en route to something special you hope it ends out in the right way so it was all worthwhile.
“Seeing the boys put in the performances they did leading up to it and even in the final, I was so proud of them all. It was such a shame we couldn’t get that one over the line.”
Even though the Ox has been a Liverpool player for less than a year, watching his teammates fall at the final hurdle hit him hard.
That he wasn’t able to influence the Champions League final - the showpiece match every young footballer aspires to play in one day - made it even more difficult to accept for 24-year-old.
Oxlade-Chamberlain on missing the World Cup
On missing England’s World Cup campaign, he added: “It’s not an ideal time for me, if I’m being honest.
“It’s obviously been really tough to miss out at this time of the season, at a time when I was feeling so good and felt like I was really finding my feet at Liverpool.
“I felt I was playing some good stuff, I was playing with a lot of confidence and I was a really enjoying my football, so for it to all come crashing down in one moment, with one tackle, it’s never great – but that’s football.
“As a character I’m positive and I’m trying not to let myself get too down, obviously I’ve got a tough rehab ahead of me and moping around isn’t going to get me through that!
“I’ve been watching the World Cup, following it and supporting the boys every inch of the way.
“I must admit the first game against Tunisia was tough to watch – it’s a moment when you realise what a great opportunity you’re missing, but these things happen in life and I’m keeping positive.”
Let’s hope we see him back on the pitch early next season.
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