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10 key things to know ahead of Atletico Madrid vs. Liverpool

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Liverpool face a tough trip to Atletico Madrid on Tuesday evening, looking to avenge their Champions League elimination back in 2019/20.

The Reds cruised to a 5-0 win away to Watford on Saturday, but a far sterner challenge lies ahead of them in midweek.

They take on an Atletico side who have been a bogey team through the years, and a win in Spain would mean one foot in the knockout rounds for Jurgen Klopp‘s side.

Here are 10 things to know ahead of the game.

 

1. Atletico the force in Spain

Kieran Trippier and Vitolo celebrates a goal during the UEFA Champions League group D match between Atletico Madrid and Juventus at Wanda Metropolitano on September 18, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Rubén de la Fuente Pérez/NurPhoto)

If Barcelona and Real Madrid are pale imitations of what they once were, Atletico remain one of Europe’s most formidable teams.

Diego Simeone’s men deservedly won another LaLiga title last season, with former Liverpool hero Luis Suarez scoring the trophy-clinching goal on the final day against Real Valladolid.

Atletico may be fourth in the table currently, level on points with rivals Real, but they still look like title favourites, mainly because of their defensive expertise.

 

2. Unconvincing in Europe

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 11, 2020: Club Atlético de Madrid's head coach Diego Simeone during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 2nd Leg match between Liverpool FC and Club Atlético de Madrid at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

While Atletico’s pedigree is undeniable, they haven’t yet set the world alight in the Champions League this season.

A 0-0 draw at home to Porto looked set to be followed up with another stalemate away to AC Milan, only for Suarez to pop up with a last-gasp penalty.

There is certainly no reason for Liverpool to fear their midweek opponents, although the fact they haven’t yet conceded in the competition is very on-brand.

 

3. Who’s missing for Liverpool?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 21, 2021: Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Harvey Elliott remains a long-term absentee, but he isn’t Klopp’s only injury concern.

Fellow midfielders Thiago and Curtis Jones are also still sidelined, testing the depth of Liverpool’s squad ahead of Sunday’s trip to Man United.

Jones is expected to be fit for the weekend, with the decision made to omit him for Atletico and allow him to work on his recovery.

Diogo Jota is available, however, while Alisson and Fabinho are back after missing the Watford game because of international commitments.

 

4. Predicting Reds’ starting lineup

WATFORD, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 16, 2021: Liverpool's Sadio Mané celebrates with team-mates after scoring the first goal, his 100th Premier League goal, during the FA Premier League match between Watford FC and Liverpool FC at Vicarage Road. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With the aforementioned clash with United looming, Klopp may feel the need to shuffle his pack slightly on Tuesday night.

A similar team to the one we saw at Watford should take to the field, though.

Alisson will come back in for the impressive Caoimhin Kelleher and it would be a surprise if Fabinho didn’t replace James Milner, despite an excellent performance from the veteran at Vicarage Road.

Jota may be preferred to Roberto Firmino in attack, but the Brazilian will be confident after his weekend hat-trick, which could sway Klopp’s thinking.

Predicted Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Keita; Salah, Mane, Firmino

 

5. Liverpool’s bogey team

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, February 18, 2020: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson leads his side out before the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg match between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Sometimes, Liverpool come up against a team who always seem to have the beating of them.

Atletico are one of those sides, proving to be one of the very few opponents to get the better of the Reds during the Klopp era.

The 4-2 aggregate defeat in the last 16 in 2019/20 was harsh on Liverpool, but Simeone’s side dug deep at Anfield in the second leg and silenced the home crowd in extra-time.

In fact, the Reds have only tasted victory once against Atletico in their six meetings throughout history – a 2-1 win in the Europa League back in 2010.

Even that match ended in disaster, however, as Liverpool crashed out on away goals at the semi-final stage.

 

6. Special stadium for Liverpool

MADRID, SPAIN - SATURDAY, JUNE 1, 2019: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk lifts the trophy after the UEFA Champions League Final match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 2-0 to win their sixth European Cup. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Despite Liverpool’s woes against Atletico, their world-class stadium, the Wanda Metropolitano, holds a special place in our hearts.

That’s because it was the scene of the Reds’ 2019 Champions League final triumph over Tottenham for European Cup No. 6.

Those images of Klopp and his players celebrating on the turf will never be forgotten – here’s hoping we see more of that on Tuesday, albeit on a smaller scale!

The performance will need to be much-improved from that insipid showing there back in February 2020, when the Reds deservedly lost 1-0.

 

7. Klopp’s respect for Atletico

Speaking in Monday’s press conference, Klopp was quick to praise Liverpool’ opponents, even though he would never choose to adopt their style of play:

“If you win both games against Atletico then it’s pretty likely you go through! But we lost both last time.

“I’m a very positive person but not that positive that we already have them in our pocket. It’s a tough place to go.

“I couldn’t respect [their approach] more. Do I like it? Not really but that’s just me. It just has to be successful and that’s what they are. Atletico again look like the possible LaLiga champion.”

Surely Liverpool are due one against them?

 

8. Did you know?

WATFORD, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 16, 2021: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates after scoring the third goal, the second of his hat-trick, during the FA Premier League match between Watford FC and Liverpool FC at Vicarage Road. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool are in imperious form but one thing that has gone under the radar is their current unbeaten run.

In fact, the Reds’ run of 20 matches without defeat, in all competitions, is their longest with Klopp at the helm, stretching back to last season.

It started back in April when Trent Alexander-Arnold fired home a late winner against Aston Villa in front of an empty Anfield.

No Liverpool team has been unbeaten for this long since Roy Evans’ Reds back in 1996 – this side just keeps breaking records.

 

9. Klopp’s compatriot in charge

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 24, 2018: Referee Daniel Siebert during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Liverpool FC and FK Crvena zvezda (Red Star Belgrade) at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Germany referee Daniel Siebert will take charge of the much-anticipated clash and he has a little bit of history with Liverpool.

Siebert officiated the Reds’ Champions League meeting with Red Star Belgrade at Anfield in 2018/19, awarding Klopp’s men two penalties on the night.

Liverpool went on to win 4-0.

Siebert has refereed one Champions League game this season – Real’s 1-0 win away to Inter Milan last month – and oversaw Wales’ defeat to Denmark at Euro 2020.

 

10. TV info

PORTO, PORTUGAL - Tuesday, September 28, 2021: A television camera monitor during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 2 game between FC Porto and Liverpool FC at the Estádio do Dragão. Liverpool won 5-1. General (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Tuesday’s game is live on BT Sport 2 from 7.45pm (BST) and kickoff in Madrid is at 8pm.

Alternatively, our matchday live blog will be available from 7.15pm, offering you far more Liverpool-related content than the likes of Jake Humphrey and Rio Ferdinand will manage!

Joanna Durkan is in charge throughout the evening – come and keep her company.

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