The only hit in the match was Saul’s work from the very beginning of the match, and then Diego Simeone proved that he was an exceptional tactician and master of this type of victory. The hosts were able to “stifle” the game Liverpool and to minimize the dangers at the door of Jan Cloud.
For 90 minutes, Liverpool failed to deliver a single shot at the door Atletico. Manet was replaced by Origi at the break, and Salah subsequently gave way to Oxlade-Chamberlain, a change that was indicative of the disappointing offensive play of the Reds.
It did not look any better in a defense situation where even the great and steadfast leader Virgil van Dyke cracked and made some atypical mistakes. Although the Merseyside had the advantage of owning the ball, Atletico was the more dangerous team on the pitch and naturally congratulated itself on the success before the Anfield rematch on March 11.
Already in the fourth minute of the match the hosts took the lead. After centering the corner, the ball landed at the last moment at the feet of Fabinho, who had no time to react. The Brazilian sent the ball to Saul’s leg, sending it into Alison’s net at 1-0.
In the next few minutes, Liverpool pressed their opponent and tightened their hoops around the penalty area of the mattresses. However, this also left more blank spaces in the defensive, which allowed Atletico to come up with some good attacks against Alison’s door.
In the 26th minute Virgil van Dyke made a mistake in the defense and gave the ball to Alvaro Morata. The Spanish ram found itself in a great strike position, but Alison Becker showed coolness and saved. In the attack Mohamed Salah sent the ball to the net of the Mattresses, but an ambush flag was raised for Roberto Firmino.
The second part started with one change in the two formulations. Sadio Manet was replaced by Divok Origi until Marcos Yorente appeared for the hosts, replacing Toma Lemar. The Merseyside started the half-time with atypical errors that led to some good Atletico positions. However, the “mattresses” did not use them.
In the 53rd minute Joe Gomez stepped forward and surprised Atletico’s defense with a center position. The submission turned out to be very good, finding Mohammed Salah in a clean position in the penalty box. However, the Egyptian’s blow to the head flew slightly away from the target.
In the middle of the second part Atletico could have reached the second goal, but Alvaro Morata failed. After a swift counterattack, the ball was passed to the Spaniard, who was in a clean shooting position in the penalty area. The attacker, however, slipped and failed to strike.
A little later Liverpool wasted another good opportunity for a goal. Divok Origi managed to keep the ball in the penalty area and then “drop” it to captain Jordan Henderson. The Reds’ midfielder was able to strike from the air, but the ball went slightly off the crossbar.
Before the meeting:
Winner of last year ‘s trophy Champions League returns to the stadium where he won the prize. However, Wanda Metropolitan can prove too hostile to Jurgen Klop’s ambitious team, as Atletico he has repeatedly proved that he can compete with the best clubs in the world.
Liverpool have reached the elimination phase after winning their group at Napoli’s company. The Mattresses finished second in their group, leaving Juventus ahead of them. And while last year the Merseyside won the race, Atletico was eliminated in the 1/8-finals by the Italian champion.
At Liverpool headquarters, almost all infirmary players have healed their injuries, with Klop not relying solely on Gertan Shakiri. The hosts have more serious problems with the staff. Diego Simeone cannot use injured Kieran Tripier and Hector Erera, while offensive trio Diego Costa, Joao Felix and Alvaro Morata are in question.
Atletico Madrid: Cloud, Lodi, Felipe, Savich, Versailles, Parti, Saul, Koke, Lomar, Korea, Morata
Liverpool: Alison, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dyke, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Weinaldum, Manet, Salah, Firmino