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How Liverpool can reach Champions League last 16 with two games spare

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Liverpool’s 3-2 victory over Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night opened up a five-point lead at the top of Group B, with only one win required to reach the last 16.

The Reds fought hard for the three points in Madrid, with Mohamed Salah‘s second-half spot-kick sealing the win after the two sides went into the break at 2-2.

It was a deserved result for Liverpool that extends their unbeaten run to 21 games, and preserves their perfect start to this season’s Champions League.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side have now beaten all three of AC Milan, Porto and Atletico, and are the only side in Group B to record a positive goal difference at this stage.

Furthermore, they are now one victory away from clinching a place in the knockout stages, with Atletico the visitors at Anfield next time out on November 3.

Credit: UEFA.com

Liverpool sit top of Group B with nine points from three games, with second-placed Atletico and third-placed Porto both five points behind having taken four so far.

Milan are at the bottom of the group, losing all three of their group fixtures including the 3-2 defeat at Anfield on September 15.

This means that another win over Atletico would ensure Liverpool’s place in the last 16, with a tally of 12 points enough to guarantee progress as no two other sides can pick up more.

PORTO, PORTUGAL - Tuesday, September 28, 2021: A FC Porto supporter before the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 2 game between FC Porto and Liverpool FC at the Estádio do Dragão. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Porto kept their hopes of progress alive with a 1-0 victory over Milan on Tuesday night, with Luis Diaz the scorer in a well-contested game that saw the Portuguese side dominate in terms of shots on goal.

Former Reds midfielder Marko Grujic came off the bench late on, helping Porto shore up their defence and hold on for the win.

After Tuesday night’s fixtures, no side in this season’s Champions League currently holds a stronger lead at the top of their group than Liverpool – though Bayern Munich, Salzburg and Juventus could extend their own on Wednesday.

As it stands, PSG and Man City are favourites to advance from Group A, Ajax and Dortmund are likely to progress from Group C and any of Sheriff Tiraspol, Real Madrid or Inter Milan could make it out of Group D.

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