In the Anfield stadium, another defeat in duels with Liverpool, but with a completely different flavour. Unlike the first match, this time a different image on the pitch, as forecast, and different tactical positioning, adapted to the situation.
Jasmin Handanović again had a lot of work, but he took care of a new milestone. He also defended James Milner’s strike from the white point: ‘We showed a different image to two weeks ago. Particularly in the first half-time, when we endured the pressure. We have also been helped by numerous fans behind our goalpost, who cheered us loudly. With them, it was easier for us, we managed to defend against all attempts. Then, in the second half-time, we conceded a goal too quickly; it split us and the difference in quality, which was too large, became noticeable. This level is the one where you allow your opponent a metre of space and he then uses this immediately, he takes the opportunity to score. They maintained a high rhythm and were looking for goals. Thus, the match was difficult, and it was not easy to keep to their level.’
Marko Šuler commanded the defence, which was positioned differently this time, with three central defenders: ‘It was varied. Liverpool plays a different, unfavourable football. We tried to make changes to our play, we positioned ourselves differently and made their life miserable for some time. However, this is the level where small things make a big difference. It is a pity that the first goal changed the further course of the match. It was difficult, as there was no true opportunity during the match to feel at ease. The pressure was constant. It is a pity that we couldn’t withstand for longer, because the rivals would have become impatient and thus we could have achieved another opportunity or two. We gave our best, we must know that the team is young and changed. It is a defeat, but we’re not returning home with our heads down.’
The pugnacious performance of the team was confirmed with relentlessness on the Anfield pitch by Martin Milec: “Though we lost, the story was different than in the Ljudski Vrt. We fought until the end, approached their goal several times and had some opportunities. In the end, their quality prevailed; they won deservingly. A different position, such as I already played in the past, suited me; it was not hard for me to adapt. Overall, a wonderful experience is behind us. Some can only dream of playing in such an atmosphere, at such a stadium. It was a prize for us, but we are still disappointed that we lost. Thank you to all the fans for having turned up in such large numbers, and for your exceptional support!’