Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Match Preview: Atletico v Liverpool

 



Group B leaders Liverpool travel to Atlético Madrid on Tuesday hoping for a better result than on their last visit, which led to their elimination as holders in 2019/20.

This is Liverpool's third game at the Estadio Metropolitano, the venue for their 2019 UEFA Champions League final triumph, although their defence of the trophy ended at Atlético's hands in the following season's round of 16.

The English club lead the way in Group B having won both games, beating AC Milan 3-2 at home and Porto 5-1 away. Atleti are second in the section on four points, winning 2-1 in Milan on Matchday 2 after being held 0-0 at home by Porto.

Atlético are one win short of 50 in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS

Atlético ended Liverpool's reign as UEFA Champions League holders in the 2019/20 round of 16, Saúl Ñíguez's fourth-minute goal the only one of the first leg in Madrid. Georginio Wijnaldum's 43rd-minute strike in the Anfield return sent the tie into extra time, where Roberto Firmino (94) gave Liverpool the aggregate advantage only for Marcos Llorente's double (97, 105+1) to put Atleti in control and Álvaro Morata to add late gloss in added time.

That was the teams' first meeting since the 2009/10 UEFA Europa League semi-finals, a tie Atlético won on away goals after a 2-2 aggregate draw. Diego Forlán got the only goal of the first game in Spain, Alberto Aquilani levelling the tie a minute before half-time in Liverpool. With no further goals the match also went to extra time, Yossi Benayoun putting Liverpool in front on aggregate in the 95th minute only for Forlán to supply the decisive moment seven minutes later.

Atlético went on to beat another English club, Fulham, in the final in Hamburg, Forlán getting both goals in a 2-1 win.

The sides met for the first time in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League group stage with both games ending 1-1, Simão scoring in the 83rd minute at the Vicente Calderón after Robbie Keane had given Liverpool a 14th-minute lead. At Anfield, a Steven Gerrard penalty five minutes into added time earned the home side a point, Maxi Rodríguez having put Atlético in front in the 37th minute.

Liverpool went on to top Group D with 14 points and Atlético finished as runners-up on 12.

FORM GUIDE

ATLÉTICO

Champions of Spain for the 11th time in 2020/21, Atlético finished two points ahead of Real Madrid in the final Liga standings to give them their second league championship under Diego Simeone, who also guided them to the title in 2013/14.

This is Atlético's 12th UEFA Champions League group campaign, level with Valencia; only Barcelona and Real Madrid (both 26 participations) have featured more among Spanish sides.

All but two of Atleti's previous 11 group appearances have extended into the knockout stages; this is their ninth successive group campaign.

Last season, Simeone's side finished second in their section behind holders Bayern München, picking up nine points. They were the only side to deny Bayern victory in Group A, the 1-1 draw in Madrid on Matchday 5 ending the German club's record run of UEFA Champions League victories at 15.

Atlético then lost 1-0 against Chelsea in the first leg of their round of 16 tie, a game that was played in Bucharest, before a 2-0 defeat in London.

The Madrid club have reached the quarter-finals or better in five of their last eight UEFA Champions League campaigns – all under Simeone.

Matchday 2 was only Atlético's sixth win in 16 European matches (D4 L6).

A 2-1 loss to Chelsea on Matchday 2 in 2017/18 is Atlético's only defeat in the last 30 European games in their own stadium (W22 D7).

The Rojiblancos have reached two UEFA Champions League and three UEFA Europa League finals in the last 12 seasons.

At home Atlético have lost just once in 14 visits from English clubs (W8 D5) – that 2-1 defeat against Chelsea in 2017 in their first European game at the Estadio Metropolitano.

LIVERPOOL

Liverpool are in the UEFA Champions League group stage for the 14th time; they have only failed to progress to the last 16 or further three times.

This is Liverpool's fifth successive group campaign, all under Jürgen Klopp; runners-up to Real Madrid in the 2017/18 final, they claimed their sixth European Cup at the expense of Tottenham with a 2-0 victory in the 2018/19 final, goals from Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi securing the trophy at Atlético's Metropolitano home.

Liverpool's last two UEFA Champions League campaigns have ended in defeat against clubs from Madrid. Dethroned by Atlético in the 2019/20 round of 16, they lost to Real Madrid in last season's quarter-finals (1-3 a, 0-0 h).

Klopp's side had finished first in Group D on 13 points, ahead of Atalanta, Ajax and Midtjylland, before beating Leipzig 2-0 in both legs of their round of 16 tie with both games played in Budapest.

Champions of England for the 19th time in 2019/20, their first league title since 1990, Liverpool finished third in the 2020/21 Premier League.

Liverpool have won seven of their last ten UEFA Champions League matches away from Anfield (D1 L2).

The Reds are the joint highest scorers in this season's group stage on eight goals, level with Bayern.

Liverpool have won only two of their last 14 fixtures against Spanish clubs (D3 L9) – a sequence that also includes 3-1 losses under Klopp in the 2016 UEFA Europa League final to Sevilla and the 2018 UEFA Champions League final to Real Madrid.

Last season's loss at Real Madrid made it seven games without a win away to Spanish sides (D1 L6), since Liverpool's 1-0 victory at Real Madrid in 2009, although their overall record in Spain is W7 D5 L8.

LATEST NEWS

ATLÉTICO Héctor Herrera's next UEFA Champions League appearance will be his 50th, group stage to final.

Thomas Lemar's next appearance in UEFA club competition will be his 50th.

Atlético have won three of their last four games in all competitions, the exception a 1-0 loss at Alavés on 25 September that is their sole defeat in this season's Liga (W5 D2).

Atleti were 2-0 winners at home to Barcelona 2-0 on 2 October, Luis Suárez scoring the second against his former club, meaning he has scored against all 31 Liga sides he has faced.

Atlético have conceded the opening goal in four of their last six Liga matches.

LIVERPOOL

Mohamed Salah has made 99 appearances in UEFA club competition.

Matchday 2 was Alisson Becker's 50th appearance in UEFA club competition. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will reach the same mark when he next features.

Liverpool are unbeaten in 20 games in all competitions (W14 D6), stretching back to the 3-1 loss at Real Madrid in last season's UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg.

The Merseyside club are the last undefeated side in this season's Premier League (W5 D3), although they had drawn two successive matches before Saturday's 5-0 win at Watford.

Sadio Mané opened the scoring at the weekend, his 100th Premier League goal; he is just the third player to to register a hundred or more without including a single penalty, after Les Ferdinand (149 goals) and Emile Heskey (110).

Roberto Firmino scored a hat-trick at Watford, his second in the Premier League – no Brazilian had ever previously managed multiple hat-tricks in the competition.

Salah, who got the fourth at the weekend, has scored in his last seven Liverpool games.

The Reds have scored two or more goals in ten of their 11 games in all competitions this season, the exception the 1-1 Premier League draw against Chelsea at Anfield on 28 August. They have scored 33 times this season.

Saturday's win made Liverpool the first English top-flight team to score three or more goals in seven successive away games in all competitions.

Salah's goal at Norwich on 14 August made him the first player ever to score in the opening Premier League game five seasons in a row.




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