As the tears streamed down his face, he was begging for forgiveness. The biggest night of his career had turned into a nightmare.
“I know that I messed it up with the two mistakes and let you all down. I’d just like to turn back the time but that’s not possible,” he later posted on social media.
The Champions League final is the pinnacle of club football. Shine, and your heroic deeds echo for eternity. It’s why names such as Jerzy Dudek, Djimi Traore, Vladimir Smicer and Divock Origi are now cemented in Anfield folklore.
But when it goes so painfully wrong, there is no hiding place.
From the depths of despair against Real Madrid in Kyiv, glory soon followed for Jurgen Klopp’s side, but it was achieved without Karius after Liverpool invested £65 million in Alisson less than two months after that 3-1 defeat to Gareth Bale and company.
Over three years later, the German goalkeeper continues to be defined by the events of May 26, 2018.
Medical tests carried out in the days that followed showed Karius was concussed when he inexplicably rolled the ball straight to Karim Benzema, who scored the first goal of the night, and then made a hash of Bale’s long-range strike that made it 3-1. Moments before the Benzema goal, he had been struck in the head by Sergio Ramos’s stray elbow at a corner, and the offence had gone unpunished.
Elliott travelled to London at the start of the week ahead of surgery, having suffered a fracture dislocation of his left ankle joint in Sunday’s 3-0 win over Leeds.
The teenager went under the knife on Tuesday, and the club have now confirmed the operation was successful, adding that he is “expected to return to action later this season.”
However, it is stressed that “no timescale is being placed upon his comeback,” with Liverpool‘s medical staff eager not to put pressure on Elliott to rush his rehabilitation.
“We were able to reduce the dislocation immediately on the pitch and Harvey had surgery today to repair the fracture and ligaments damaged in the incident,” club doctor Jim Moxon told LiverpoolFC.com.
“The operation was a success so his comeback starts now.
“We won’t put pressure on him by setting a specific timeframe beyond being able to say with confidence we expect him to feature again later in the season following our rehab programme.”
In a post on Instagram, Elliott wrote: “Operation was a success! Thank you so much to everyone for your amazing support.
“The road to recovery starts now. At the end of the storm there’s a golden sky.”
The Athletic‘s James Pearce has noted that players with similar injuries have faced four to six months out, which could see Elliott back mid-March at the latest.
It is likely that the 18-year-old will make his first steps back into action with the under-23s, but his impact in the early games of the season proves he is already capable of cementing himself as a first-choice starter at senior level.
Harvey Elliott is expected to return to action this season, according to Liverpool's club doctor, after the midfielder underwent a successful ankle operation on Tuesday.
Liverpool confirmed Elliott suffered a fracture dislocation of the left joint in his ankle, and he will now begin a rehabilitation programme with no timeframe being placed for his comeback.
However, club doctor Dr Jim Moxon - who attended to Elliott on the pitch along with first-team physiotherapist Chris Morgan - has said a return this season is possible.
"We were able to reduce the dislocation immediately on the pitch and Harvey had surgery today to repair the fracture and ligaments damaged in the incident. The operation was a success so his comeback starts now," Dr Moxon said.
"We won't put pressure on him by setting a specific timeframe beyond being able to say with confidence we expect him to feature again later in the season following our rehab programme."
Elliott provided his own update from his hospital bed, saying on Instagram: "Operation was a success! Thank you so much to everyone for your amazing support. The road to recovery starts now. At the end of the storm there's a golden sky."
Meanwhile, Leeds have appealed against Pascal Struijk's red card for the challenge which injured the Liverpool teenager.Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher says Pascal Struijk did not intend to injure Elliott but that a red card for the Leeds player was the right decision
The 18-year-old was stretchered off during the second half of Liverpool's 3-0 win at Leeds on Sunday, with Struijk shown a straight red card by referee Craig Pawson after a VAR intervention.
Elliott absolved Struijk of any blame, describing the incident as a "freak accident".
Liverpool boss Klopp was awaiting an update on Elliott's condition when he held his press conference ahead of Wednesday's Champions League game with AC Milan.
"I spoke to him right after the game, he was in the best possible place," said Klopp of Elliott. "He had accepted already that he would be out for a while.
"He is in London and will have the surgery today (Tuesday). That is the next step on the way back."FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Liverpool's win over Leeds in the Premier League
Elliott's team-mates were clearly disturbed by the seriousness of the injury at the time but they have all rallied round since.
"What happened with Harvey made me sad. It's difficult to deal with that when you're on the pitch," said goalkeeper Alisson Becker.
"All the players have a big role to support him, we need to do our best in this time."Carragher: All-time great Salah deserves new deal Jamie Carragher discusses Mohamed Salah's importance to Liverpool and just why the Egyptian winger deserves a new contract with The Reds
Jamie Carragher says Mohamed Salah will be in Liverpool's all-time XI and wants to see him sign a new deal at Anfield.
Salah scored his 100th Premier League goal in the 3-0 win over Leeds United on Sunday and Carragher believes that his impact at Liverpool is still underrated.Tuesday 21st September 7:00pm Kick off 7:45pm
"He is massively important and sometimes I feel sorry for Mo Salah because I think he goes under the radar in terms of Liverpool," he told Monday Night Football.
"When people talk about Liverpool winning the league, they always go back to Liverpool signing Alisson and Virgil Van Dijk. Mo Salah came in six months before [Van Dijk].
"It is the three of them but everyone mentions that it was the goalkeeper and the centre-back that took Liverpool to this next level. Mo Salah is a huge part of that.
"We should not forget as well that Salah plays from the right. Yes, he is a wide forward but he does not play through the centre. He is Johnny on the spot.
"If he goes a few games without a goal you just think there is one coming because it is Mo Salah. That is just how it is."
Harvey Elliott has undergone successful surgery on the ankle injury he sustained during Sunday’s victory at Leeds United.
The 18-year-old suffered a fracture dislocation of the left joint following a challenge in the second half of Liverpool’s 3-0 win at Elland Road.
Elliott will now begin a rehabilitation programme with the Reds’ medical team and while he is expected to return to action later this season, no timescale is being placed upon his comeback.
Club doctor, Dr Jim Moxon – who, along with first-team physiotherapist Chris Morgan, was first on the pitch to treat the midfielder – explained: “Harvey sustained a fracture dislocation of his left ankle during the game.
“We were able to reduce the dislocation immediately on the pitch and Harvey had surgery today to repair the fracture and ligaments damaged in the incident. The operation was a success so his comeback starts now.
“We won’t put pressure on him by setting a specific timeframe beyond being able to say with confidence we expect him to feature again later in the season following our rehab programme.”
Liverpool's Champions League campaign begins on Wednesday night - and preparations for the Anfield meeting with AC Milan are continuing at the AXA Training Centre.
Jürgen Klopp and his coaching team oversaw Tuesday afternoon's session in Kirkby.
See how the Reds' workout unfolded in photos below.
Photos by John and Andrew Powell (@andyphotolfc)
Imagine just for a moment that you’ve signed for Liverpool FC. Imagine your Anfield debut is a Premier League game against Arsenal. Imagine you’re brought on for the final 10 minutes to join Mo Salah and Bobby Firmino up front.
Imagine a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross being headed out to you on the edge of the box just nine minutes later. Imagine controlling the ball on your thigh and hitting it on the volley.
Imagine seeing the ball bounce a couple of times before seeing it creep in at the far post, right in front of the Kop, to complete a 3-1 win.
Imagine how that moment – scoring for Liverpool on your home debut at the Kop end – would feel.
Now imagine it again in an empty stadium. Imagine it happening with no Liverpool fans inside Anfield. Imagine your big moment being met with silence bar a few cheers from your team-mates. Imagine none of your family or friends being there to enjoy and share the moment.
That was the reality for Diogo Jota last season. He lived that moment and he’ll never get it back. The coronavirus pandemic robbed him of what would have been one of the most exhilarating experiences of his life.
Instead of receiving the adulation of 50,000+ Reds for taking just nine minutes to make an Anfield impact in a big game, he got a hug from Fabinho and Blur’s Song 2 echoing around an empty stadium over the PA system.
You’ve got to make the most out of bad situations, but I bet Jota went home that night thinking it wasn’t quite what it could have been. It wasn’t quite the Kevin Keegan moment that it should have been.
Fifty years ago last month, Keegan took just 12 minutes to score on his Anfield debut in a 3-1 win against Nottingham Forest. His goal also came at the Kop end and, in a weird parallel, was a shot that bounced a few times before creeping in at the same far post.
The big difference for Keegan was he had a moment that instantly connected him with the Kop, with Liverpool supporters.
There were 51,000 inside Anfield that day and Keegan got the full home debut experience. Jota missed out and as a result hasn’t yet got the rapport with Liverpool supporters that he should have. Because make no mistake about it, this lad is an absolute class act.
A goal every 130 minutes was equal to John Aldridge and three minutes better than Mo Salah. And their totals included penalties. Only Fred Pagman (30 goals in 39 games either side of World War I) has a better ratio.
Since signing for the Reds, Jota’s shot conversion is also the fourth-best in the Premier League from anyone to have 50+ shots on goal. Off the ball, only Sadio Mane has pressed opponents more times this season.
The first time he played through the middle was away to Atalanta in last season’s Champions League group stage. Jota netted a hat-trick in a 5-0 win, another display he isn’t half as revered for as he would have been had the travelling Kop been in Italy, or if the Anfield crowd had welcomed him back for the next home game against Leicester, in which he also scored.
Liverpool supporters have always adored goalscorers.
The Anfield crowd builds a special rapport with them, but Jota hasn’t really had that yet, with the lack of song for him – somewhat understandably, in fairness – a tell-tale sign.
So if I had one wish for Liverpool vs. AC Milan, Jota’s first Anfield European night in front of a crowd, it would be that it is his night. That he plays, he scores, he gets the winner and the Kevin Keegan moment that would go with it.
We’re not in 1971 now. Direct comparisons between Keegan and Jota as footballers have little relevance.
The No. 20 shirt is unlikely to gain the legendary status that the No. 7 did after Keegan scored 100 goals in it before handing it over to Kenny Dalglish. Teenage Scousers aren’t copying Jota’s hairdo like they did with King Kev in ’71. But as far as I’m concerned, in Jota the Reds have a striker who can make a similar impact in the 2020s.
Keegan got 11 goals in his first season with LFC. Jota got 13. Keegan got 22 goals in his second season with LFC. I could imagine Jota doubling his tally this time around if he is given the opportunity to. Which he should be.
You won’t hear me say a bad word about Firmino. Eighty-eight goals and 63 assists in just under 300 games is a superb return for a player who isn’t asked to be a traditional No. 9 by his manager.
But last season was the first in which Firmino didn’t reach double goalscoring figures, and he was outscored 13-9 by Jota despite making 18 more appearances.
However, Firmino did beat Jota 9-1 on assists with seven of the goals he created scored by Salah and Mane.
And that’s the quandary. Jota is a better goalscoring centre-forward than Firmino – the stats suggest he’s the most clinical finisher in the squad – but would playing him more often ahead of Bobby come at the expense of goals for Salah and Mane?
There’s only one way to find out. Try it.
Give him a prolonged run at centre-forward and see how it goes, because when you’ve got a striker who is essentially scoring in every other game – 11 goals in 21 starts at the time of writing – then the more time Diogo Jota spends on the pitch the better.
* Chris McLoughlin is Senior Writer for Reach Sport, publishers of the Liverpool FC Matchday Programme and monthly magazine. You can subscribe to both or order the Liverpool vs. AC Milan programme here.
Starting with the visitors, they will be without weekend goalscorer and talismanic figure Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede is only just back after a knee injury and he’s not travelling to Anfield for the game after suffering a reaction with a tight Achilles.
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— Mick Moran (@Mick_Moran_) September 14, 2021
Take your pick in the Champions League but Barca v Bayern is the obvious stand-out. Another 2-8, you reckon?!
Watch a portion of Liverpool's pre-AC Milan training session on demand now.
Jürgen Klopp’s squad stepped up their preparations for Wednesday’s Champions League contest with a workout at the AXA Training Centre on the eve of the Serie A side’s visit.
See how the Reds are building towards the Group B game in the video below.
Jurgen Klopp has described Emma Raducanu as the "talent of the century" and says he will watch more women's tennis after the 18-year-old's US Open win.
The Liverpool manager halted his preparations for his side's 3-0 win over Leeds on Sunday to join the millions watching on Saturday night as Raducanu became the first British woman to win a Grand Slam singles title since 1977 by beating Leylah Fernandez.
Teenager Raducanu is also the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title, but Klopp was most inspired by the humility of both players after the result.
"It is long ago I watched a full tennis game and I was impressed by the power, the speed and the whole game," he said.Image: Raducanu posed on the red carpet at the Met Gala in New York on Monday night
"Women's tennis is obviously in a brilliant moment. These two girls, 18 and 19, what they showed in the game was massively impressive, but then when they got the trophies during the ceremony, both girls how they spoke was really inspiring, to be honest.
"Even more so than the tennis which was inspiring enough. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the way they presented themselves. Fernandez was obviously disappointed and Emma showed great respect for her.
I will watch women's tennis much more, for sure, than I did in the last few years. Jurgen Klopp
"They knew they will face each other in the future very often and be in many more finals. I wish that for them. It was a great show of sportsmanship and elite sport and how humble you can be, so young on top of the world.
"When you are 18-years-old and win the US Open it can only come from hard work. She is for sure the talent of the century, but without hard work it is not possible to be there and doing that.
"Now she is there and you see her smiling during the game, it is the nicest thing I can imagine. I will watch women's tennis much more, for sure, than I did in the last few years."
This week, the Reds will play in front of a full Anfield for the first time in Europe since the meeting with Atletico Madrid in March 2020.
That night saw fans from both England and Spain pack out the stadium in questionable circumstances, with a rise in COVID-19 cases on Merseyside deemed to have stemmed from the decision to allow travelling Atletico supporters to attend.
Now, with restrictions eased, UEFA has granted access to AC Milan fans for the tie – though ultras group Curva Sud have vowed not to attend due to difficulties in terms of travel and “the rigid English rules around COVID-19.”
Anfield is expected to be full, or near full, regardless, with the occasion a significant one for Liverpool as they look to make a strong start to their European campaign.
On a run of four games unbeaten so far this season – with three wins and a draw, scoring nine times and conceding just once – there can be confidence among Klopp’s squad.
But how will the manager set his side up for Wednesday’s Group B opener?Team News
There was one major development in terms of injuries at the weekend, but Klopp also has a number of other doubts for the tie:Liverpool’s XI vs. AC Milan
Realistically, if no further problems arise from training or following the win at Leeds, there is only one lineup Klopp will look to.
It would mean just one change from the trip to Elland Road, that being enforced due to Elliott’s injury:
That would see Liverpool take to the field like this:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago; Salah, Mane, Jota
However, there is a small chance the manager mixes things up slightly, with the obvious point of contention being in midfield.
Thiago could drop out to accommodate one of those four after his first start of the season, but given his level of performance against Leeds and his experience, it seems likely the Spaniard will be retained.
In fact, it would be a surprise if Liverpool‘s teamsheet was anything other than the above when it is released just over an hour before kickoff.
Ibrahimovic made his first appearance since May as he came off the bench to score in Milan’s 2-0 victory over Lazio on Sunday, having recovered from a long-term knee injury.
The Swedish striker, now 39, was expected to challenge Olivier Giroud and Ante Rebic for a starting place up front for Wednesday’s clash at Anfield.
But now Ibrahimovic has been ruled out due to tightness in his Achilles, according to The Athletic‘s James Horncastle, who reports that he will remain in Milan.
He is the biggest absence from a strong Milan squad heading to Merseyside, with Klopp praising him as “one of the best players ever” in his pre-match press conference.
“He’s the man for exceptional moments in a game,” he said.
“If he’s not playing the probably Olivier Giroud is playing, or Rebic is playing, or whatever; all slightly different profile, but all really good. It will be absolutely interesting.
“But Zlatan is, for sure, one of the best players ever in this game.
“He knows that and he says that, I like that about him. That’s the confidence he brings into all the game.
“That he’s still physically that fit is absolutely incredible and just shows maybe some careers ended too early, because there was still a little bit of fuel in the tank.
“He squeezes every drop out of his body and wants to stay in the game as long as possible – and rightly so, he is absolutely capable of playing in each league in the world still.”
Milan are unlikely to be missing many other players for the tie, though midfielder Sandro Tonali watched Tuesday’s training session from the touchline having suffered with illness.
Manager Stefano Pioli is expected to deploy a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Giroud leading the line and supported by Rebic, Rafael Leao and Brahim Diaz.
Here are five key things the boss told the media and supporters in his press conference on Tuesday.1. Elliott in London for surgery
The 18-year-old sustained a dislocated ankle on Sunday and it was known that surgery would be required as part of his recovery, which Klopp confirmed is set to take place today in the capital.
“I spoke to him the night after the game, he’s in the best possible place in the moment. He accepted it already and today he is in London and will have surgery today, as far as I know,” Klopp explained.
“The first step on the way back and we all wait for news after the surgery.”
All the best, Harvey!2. A “must-watch” meeting of European royalty
“Of course, 2005 I have more in my mind than 2007…I was thinking about not watching the second half…I’m glad I didn’t switch over!
“If you would think of any European battle, then I think Liverpool vs. AC Milan is a must watch! It’s one you want to see.
“It will be a tough game for both sides.”3. “Can’t wait” for the return of Anfield nights!
The last time a European clash was played in front of Liverpool‘s home crowd was March 2020 – the final game before lockdown.
But on Wednesday, all four corners of Anfield will be in fine voice and Klopp knows how influential the crowd can be and now it’s time to start another chapter.
“It was a long time ago we had a Champions League game at home, now the opportunity to experience again the atmosphere Anfield is able to produce.
“We spoke a lot in the past, rightly so, about the European nights at Anfield and I cannot wait to experience that now! It will be great and I’m really looking forward to it!”
Is right, Jurgen!4. Praise for Zlatan, who is to miss out on Wednesday
Klopp did not know it at the time when speaking highly of the 39-year-old, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic is to miss the trip to Liverpool with tightness around his Achilles tendon.
“What a player!” Klopp said of the forward.
“Zlatan is one of the best players ever in this game. He knows that and says that, I like that about him.”
But all signs now point to Olivier Giroud in the XI following his return from coronavirus.5. Mo the player to “squeeze each day out of his career”
“I’m pretty sure the way he sees football he wants to be part of the game as long as he can. No reason why he shouldn’t be able to do that.
“It is about attitude, obviously, you want it because I’m pretty sure a couple of players finished their career because they couldn’t be that motivated anymore.
“I’m pretty sure Mo wants to squeeze each day out of his career!”