If the West Ham game was a reflection of what we could do domestically without breaking a sweat, then tonight’s game against Atletico was a reflection of what we could do in Europe without breaking a sweat. Look at the difference in the final score, and try to tell yourself that the Europa League isn’t elite.
Both Liverpool and Atletico looked nervy at the back today – the only difference being that Atletico managed to capitalise through a very lucky goal.
Both teams started the game rather well, with the Spanish Copa del Rey finalists winning a free-kick in the first minute – but wasting their chance – and then Liverpool breaking immediately after through Lucas Leiva down the right, delivering a searching cross which no-one could get on the end of.
The Reds started dominantly, maintaining possession for most of the first 7 minutes, before eventually letting an absolute howler in.
It all seemed to happen in such slow motion. Diego Forlan completely mis-headed the ball, Reina misjudged the path of the ball, completely missing his jump, and Carragher, somehow, missed the clearance. It was definitely a sucker punch on the night.
Moments later, Yossi Benayoun almost immediately gets the ball in the Madrid net, only for it to be flagged for off-side. Something which replays show, weren’t true. The little Israeli was miles on.
The game carried on into half-time mainly as a midfield battle, with no chances of note. But in the second-half, the Reds seem to have a new mindset – a more attacking one.
For the first time all game, Liverpool put Atletico under consistent pressure. This was showing through their centre-backs too, as they seemed to be getting tired quite quickly.
Atletico though, managed to hold out for a while, and created some attacks of their own, with Simao getting a sliding-shot on target, only for Reina to make a magnificent save and palm it out for a corner.
With ten minutes to go, Liverpool won a free-kick 40-yards out. From the resulting free-kick, Kyrgiakos was being climbed all over in the Atletico box, and got booked for complaining about it. It just wasn’t going to be the Reds’ day.
The substitutes were largely uninspired, with Babel and El Zhar having next to no impact. Babel especially, giving the ball away needlessly when it would have been much easier to pass. El Zhar was completely anonymous for the 10 minutes in which he was on.
All-in-all, a dire performance from both teams. We’ll just have to slaughter them at Anfield instead.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Agger, Kuyt, Lucas, Mascherano, Benayoun (El Zhar, 83), Gerrard, Ngog (Babel, 64). Subs: Cavalieri, Aquilani, Degen, El Zhar, Ayala, Pacheco, Babel.
Atletico: De Gea, Lopez, Ujfalusi, Dominguez, Raul Garcia, Perea, Assuncao, Simao, Forlan, Jurado, Reyes. Subs: Sergio Asenjo, Juanito, Leandro Cabrera, Valera, Camacho, Eduardo Salvio, Borja.
- LFC Player StatsUpdated