Liverpool vs Atlético: preview, team news, confirmed line-ups
Liverpool and Atlético Madrid lock horns at Anfield for the second leg of the Champions League last 16 tie, with the visitors going into the game with a 1-0 advantage.
“The world’s best at deep defending”. That’s how Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp described Atlético Madrid ahead of his side’s must-win Champions League clash tomorrow evening.
Klopp is under no illusions about the task in hand and will have been relieved to see his side pick up three points in last weekend’s 2-1 win over Bournemouth after an uncharacteristically shaky run of form. The European Champions could seal a historic first Premier League title with victory at Goodison Park next Monday, but had been on a run of three defeats in four games since losing 1-0 in the first leg in Madrid.
Their visitors come into the game unbeaten in their last six outings and know that simply avoiding defeat at Anfield will see them through to the quarter-finals. The return of João Félix from injury will add to their threat on the counter-attack with both he and Álvaro Morata scoring in their recent 2-2 draw against high-flying Sevilla.
Also back Thomas Partey, the Ghanaian defensive-midfielder who impressed against Liverpool in the first leg but was suspended against Sevilla. Partey’s energy will be vital if his side are to avoid being overran by a three-man midfield that includes captain Jordan Henderson, who Klopp today confirmed was available for selection after recovering from a hamstring injury. At left-back, Andy Robertson returns having shaken off a slight hamstring strain that kept him out of the Bournemouth game. The Scot, along with Trent Alexander-Arnold on the opposite side, will look to overlap Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané to create overloads in the final third.
Both Salah and Mané were back on the scoresheet against Bournemouth and will want to test an Atleti defence who did not concede a single shot on target during the first leg. Visiting boss Diego Simeone usually favours a narrow 4-4-2 formation so Liverpool’s ability to exploit the wide areas will be crucial.
Before this season the most recent tie between the two sides came in the Europa League semi-final in 2010 when, as was the case three weeks ago, Atleti secured a 1-0 home victory in the first leg. The return leg at Anfield saw Liverpool win 2-1 on the night, but Diego Forlán’s goal sent the Spanish club through to the final on away goals.
Liverpool confirmed XI vs Atlético Madrid
Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Atlético Madrid confirmed XI vs Liverpool
Oblak, Trippier, Savic, Felipe, Lodi, Correa, Thomas, Saúl, Koke, João Félix, Costa
Liverpool vs Atlético: Injuries and Suspensions
The only injury frustration for Klopp is goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who will miss out after injuring his hip in training last week with Adrián set to deputise. Diego Simeone, meanwhile, will be without midfielder Thomas Lemar, who has missed the last three LaLiga fixtures with a muscle issue. Neither side has any suspended players for the clash at Anfield.
Liverpool vs Atlético: What the managers said
Jürgen Klopp: "We cannot be scared to go out. If we are afraid we cannot play with freedom. There will be opportunities for us and we have to make sure we take them...Not a lot of [Atlético Madrid’s players] have played before in a stadium like Anfield, in an atmosphere like we can create. That’s something that we want to use, and hopefully we can”.
Diego Simeone (on Anfield): "I didn't play there as a player or a manager. I didn't have the chance to play in that marvellous stadium, to see the people switched on, where they've had historic results, have turned games... It's a wonderful stadium, no doubt."
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