Atletico 1-0 Liverpool: Reds need another Anfield turnaround

Champions League Last 16 1st Leg
Tuesday 18 February 2020 - 8:00 pm
Estadio Metropolitano, Madrid
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⚽️ Ñíguez5'
41' Mane
46'↔️ Mane off, Origi on
Lemar off, Llorente on ↔️46'
59' Gomez
Morata off, Vitolo on ↔️70'
72'↔️ Salah off, Oxlade-Chamberlain on
Correa off, Costa on ↔️77'
80'↔️ Henderson off, Milner on
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Liverpool's away day woes in the Champions League continued - with another defeat on foreign soil.

A scrappy goal from Atletico within the first five minutes gave them the perfect platform to then deploy their extreme defensive game, something the reds were unable to penetrate.

And Atletico utilised their counter-attacks to maximum effect, but for Morata's instability they could have took a greater first leg lead.

Strong team

Klopp selected what many see as Liverpool's strongest XI for the first time this season.  The front three were restored whilst Fabinho, Henderson and Wijnaldum were lined up in midfield.

Atletico had welcomed their team coach to the stadium with a wall of flares, and they had brought their voices as the atmosphere pulsated inside Estadio Metropolitano, the scene of Liverpool's sixth European Cup win last June.

The home side started on the front foot, and were fortunate to be awarded a corner after an incorrect throw in ruling seconds before.  The corner was sent straight into the danger zone, it took a touch off the boot of Fabinho and from six yards Saul Niguez had the simplest of tap-ins.

As it happened: Atletico 1-0 LFC

Possession quickly swung Liverpool's way who dominated large parts of not just the rest of the first half, but most of the game.

Trent Alexander-Arnold was wasteful with a couple of crosses, whilst the home sides play acting ramped up.  Mo Salah stole the ball off a defender who reacted as if he had been shot.  The referee bought it and another chance was squandered.

The reds did put the ball in the net after a poor clearance by Jan Oblak, but Salah and Firmino's interchange in the build up had been offside.

At half time Klopp took off Sadio Mane.  Not through any injury concerns, but more that the players yellow card could turn red.  It appeared to be a Atletico tactic to try and get our star man removed from the pitch.

Salah and Henderson both had chances to equalise in the second half - Salah's header sent wide of the post as the reds managed zero shots on target from their 8 chances.

Atletico's unbeaten home record in this competition remains - Liverpool's poor away performances in the Champions League continues.

Klopp after the game said,

“Yes, there were things we could have done better and things that could have made our life easier. Atlético very obviously were here to squeeze a result out of this game and against that our pressing was exceptional, our buildup was outstanding, our counter-press was exceptional.

“The intensity was exactly how it should be. We had not enough clear-cut chances, that is how it is. We had chances but not enough. We had games in atmospheres like this where we lost focus a little bit and they could score a second one. It didn’t really look like that tonight. I say to all the Atlético fans who are lucky enough to get a ticket for the second leg: welcome to Anfield.”

No away goal increases the danger for Liverpool who are going to need to figure out a way through this Spanish defence in a few weeks time.

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