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

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A place in the last 16 of the Champions League can be secured when Liverpool host Atletico Madrid at Anfield and the Reds will not be short of motivation to do so.

Jurgen Klopp‘s men allowed Brighton to claw their way back into the contest last time out to play out a frustrating 2-2 draw, dropping further points on home soil.

And a response will be at the top of the wishlist as Atletico arrive in town, and Liverpool know all too well the threat they can pose.

Here are 10 things to know ahead of the game.

 

1. 5 out 9 for Atletico

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, October 19, 2021: Club Atlético de Madrid's captain Jorge Resurrección Merodio 'Koke' celebrates his side's first goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Since the two sides last met, Atletico have picked up five points from their last nine games in LaLiga, conceding four and scoring seven in the process.

Diego Simeone’s men had to summon their comeback powers against Real Sociedad before they too let a lead slip when they travelled to Levante.

But while their recent form has been far from convincing, they head to Anfield off the back of a 3-0 win over Real Betis with Yannick Carrasco and Joao Felix on the scoresheet, and an own goal from Betis.

It saw them leapfrog their rivals into fourth place and provide a confidence booster.

 

2. How could they lineup?

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, October 19, 2021: Club Atlético de Madrid's Luis Sua?rez during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Atletico will, of course, be without Antoine Griezmann, who scored both of his side’s goals in the first meeting, due to his red card in Madrid.

Rodrigo De Paul, Carrasco, Angel Correa and Luis Suarez were all withdrawn from their last match to hint at their likely involvement, while Joao Felix only played the last 20 to ensure he is fresh for the trip to Anfield.

Another game with another reunion with a familiar face but Suarez will unlikely receive as warm of a welcome as Adam Lallana, if his appearance with Barcelona in 2019 was anything to go by.

Possible Atletico XI: Oblak; Felipe, Gimenez, Hermoso; Trippier, De Paul, Koke, Carrasco; Felix, Suarez, Correa

 

3. Any returnees for Liverpool?

Thiago and Fabinho training, Kirkby (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was positive news for Fabinho and Thiago with the pair having both emerged from their return to training without a hitch, with Klopp confirming they are “in contention” to feature.

The Brazilian is the likelier of the two to start the fixture having missed just two weeks of action as opposed to Thiago‘s six, but it was a case of “we’ll see” from the manager.

Naby Keita, meanwhile, “will be out for a while” with a hamstring injury so it’s a case of two back and one out for the Reds in midfield.

 

4. How the Reds can reach the last 16

MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, October 19, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 3 game between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Metropolitano. Liverpool won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With a victory. All three points will guarantee their place in the knockouts for the fifth time in the competition under Klopp.

It would cap Atletico’s point capacity in the group stage to 10 with two games remaining and leave the Spanish outfit to compete with Porto for the final spot.

The Portuguese side meet AC Milan in the early kickoff on Wednesday (5.45pm GMT) and that will paint a clearer picture for Group B’s trajectory.

 

5. The return of Suarez

You know the Suarez reception that was mentioned earlier, well Jordan Henderson has had his say and it was clear where the captain stood having noted the importance of the striker to his development:

“I learned a lot from him while he was here, I’m quite close to him, speak to him now and again.

“I think so [on a show of appreciation at Anfield]. I think when Luis was here he was phenomenal for a number of years. He was outstanding.

“And I think the fans know that, the fans will appreciate that and what he did at this football club.

“I don’t think Luis will be too bothered, but of course after the game it would be nice for him to get a nice reception from the crowd.”

Only time will tell, but we’re not so sure on this one. Sorry, Jordan.

 

6. It’s Ali’s time

PORTO, PORTUGAL - Tuesday, September 28, 2021: Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker 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. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have yet to keep a clean sheet against Atletico in seven meetings dating back to 2008.

The Reds have conceded 10 in that time, with Anfield accounting for half of those goals – three of which came in 2020.

With no clean sheets in the Champions League this season, Wednesday would be the perfect opportunity to get the first.

 

7. Defence the focus once more

Having let a two-goal lead slip over the weekend, Liverpool’s defence remained a talking point but for Klopp, there hasn’t been a sign of a pattern but instead more in the “details.”

And that’s where the Reds need to improve, especially against Atletico who have not had trouble finding the net in recent meetings:

“Unfortunately there is not a massive pattern now that the goals always happen in the same way. We have some things which we recognised, saw and hopefully stopped.

“But then, sometimes in football, in the next game a different problem. We see the game as a complex game, it is a complex game and that means you have to consider pretty much each part of the game.

“That means the general thing is OK, but in details, we have to improve, we know that and that is what we are absolutely working on.”

 

8. Did you know?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 30, 2021: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson (C) celebrates after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

While the draw with Brighton was disappointing, to say the least, the result did stretch the current unbeaten run to 24 games across all competitions.

It is one short of the club record of 25, set back in 1982 when Bob Paisley was at the helm, and now Klopp’s men have the opportunity to equal it and lay the foundations to break it.

This team have long talked about writing their own history and another chance to do so is before them.

 

9. Same ref but let’s hope for a different outcome!

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 11, 2020: Referee Danny Makkelle speaks with Club Atlético de Madrid's Diego Costa 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)

Danny Makkelle of the Netherlands will be the man with the whistle but the hope is the match will not unfold in a similar fashion to the last time he officiated.

Makkelle took charge of the meeting between the two teams in the final game before the pandemic forced the world to come to a stop, a match that Atletico came from behind to win 3-2 in extra time.

It was one of Liverpool’s best performances but moments of madness at the back were punished and one can only hope it does not pan out in a similar fashion on Wednesday.

 

10. How to watch live!

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, September 15, 2021: The Liverpool team bus arrives before the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 1 game between Liverpool FC and AC Milan at Anfield. (Pic by Paul Currie/Propaganda)

Wednesday’s match is live on BT Sport 2 from 7pm (GMT), with kickoff at Anfield at 8pm.

If you want some unabashedly biased Liverpool views, This Is Anfield’s matchday live blog is for you and will be in full swing from 7.15pm with Henry Jackson at the helm.

Be sure to keep him company and follow along on what is set to be an entertaining night!

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