Jordan Henderson: Liverpool will finish season strongly
Captain Jordan Henderson said Liverpool deserved to make it to the quarter-finals, but insisted they will use the pain of their Champions League elimination by Atletico Madrid yesterday morning (Singapore time) to finish the season strongly.
Holders Liverpool crashed out in the last 16 despite leading 2-0, after Atletico scored three goals in extra-time for a shock 3-2 victory at Anfield that sent them through 4-2 on aggregate.
Henderson backed the Reds to respond in Tuesday morning's Merseyside Derby against Everton in the English Premier League and take a big step towards winning their first league title in 30 years.
Liverpool need just two more wins to seal the title.
"I thought overall our performance was good, our intensity was good... We deserved to go through based on the whole performance, so we are obviously very disappointed," Henderson told BT Sport.
"We've got the derby next, which is a big game for us. That's what the focus has got to turn to very quickly... and we'll just keep taking it game by game until the end of the season.
"We want to finish it strongly."
His manager Juergen Klopp took aim at Atletico's defensive approach, as Liverpool had 71 per cent possession and 34 shots to the La Liga side's 10.
He said: "I don't understand with the quality they have, the football they play. They could play proper football but they stand deep and have counter-attacks.
"We accept it, of course, but it doesn't feel right tonight.
"I realise I am a really bad loser, especially when the boys put such an effort in against world-class players on the other side who defend with two rows of four."
Atletico coach Diego Simeone responded to the comments, saying: "We play to win, with the arms that we have.
"Respecting our identity, the characteristics of our players and exploiting the defects of our rivals."
Atletico fullback Kieran Trippier added: "We needed to stay defensively strong and try and frustrate Liverpool as much as we could."