Simeone: "There is no revenge in football, our last visit to Anfield is history"
Atlético's coach praised Jürgen Klopp - "a magnificent coach who has done well wherever he has been" but insists there will be no handshakes after tomorrow's game.
Diego Pablo Simeone attended the media after guiding his Atlético squad through training in Majadahonda before they fly out to Liverpool. The Rojiblancos have several key absentees for tomorrow's Champions League clash at Anfield - Griezmann and Savic are out through suspension, Marcos Llorente and Thomas Lemar are both injured. Geoffrey Kondogbia who has been nursing a groin strain has been left out. El Cholo has just 16 first team players available and has poached four players from the reserves to make the trip - Iturbe, Fran García, Javi Serrano and Carlos Martín. Nevertheless, the coach is in no doubt that the team he puts out on Wednesday night will compete man for man with Liverpool.
Griezmann won't play tomorrow but João Félix will, how can you explain his recent return to form?
Griezmann won't play tomorrow because he is suspended, João has been working well, improving his positional play where the team need him to be and we hope he has a good game tomorrow.
What do you think of Klopp, do you think you have similar personalities and do you get on well with him?
As I explained after the game and I will say again now, I don't shake hands after the game because emotions are usually different for both coaches. In England, it is seen as being gentlemanly, but that's an idea which I personally don't share because I don't like falseness and I follow my own feelings. I can't comment on Klopp as a person as I don't know him. But I do admire the magnificent coach this he is, I admire the great work he has done at all the clubs he's worked at, but I don't usually voice an opinion about how other teams play - never, because I have my own codes of conduct and we the coaches, between us, have to respect that that's the way it is.
Have you been surprised how De Paul has blossomed? Does he remind you of Verón?
Rodrigo has been growing a lot since his time at Valencia. At Udinese he came on a great deal and being with the national team has been brilliant for his development. He's at Atlético now and we need him to be the player he is with the national team. He had a fantastic game the other day and I was lucky enough to play in midfield with Verón and he has the same vision which few players have. That allows us to instigate the sort of quick-moving counter attacks which he has inside his head. I hope he continues to grow, he still has a lot to improve. Rodrigo wants to improve and that's the thing I like most about him.
Will tomorrow's match be like a game of chess with Klopp?
Yes, I think both of us have a lot of influence on what happens out on the field, although in games of this level and quality, drive and ambition is what determines the direction in which the game takes and how it develops. I remember during the game at the Metropolitano, Klopp taking Henderson off and bringing Fabinho on at half-time and changing the formation was a move that indicated that they were overrun by us in the first half. We always try to make improvements to the team from the bench - in spite of the talent that might be out on the pitch.
How much will tomorrow's game hinge on Atleti making the next round?
The three games we have left to play will be decisive for all four teams in the group. There are still a lot of possible combinations of results, football can change from one moment to the next - that's the danger and the team in first place could suddenly end up third or fourth. We'll have to wait and see. Nothing is guaranteed either tomorrow or after that or in the final groups game. and every team has to compete as the best as they can in these last three games, because three points will have the same importance.
Do you think Liverpool will be up for this considering how recent matches between you turned out?
The way I see it, both clubs play at great stadiums, with great fans - both are big clubs who always want to keep growing and getting better. It's going to be a great game, as it always is, but in football, there is no revenge, that game at Anfield is over, it's history. Now we are trying to advance to the next round and that game will never come back. That game is one for Atlético fans to remember and tomorrow's game is a new chapter.
How are the injured players?
We'll be without Lemar, Llorente, Savic, Griezmann - those players won't be taking part but we will compete for sure, you can be certain of that.