Liverpool face their toughest test of this season’s Champions League group stage so far as they travel to the Spanish capital to take on Atletico Madrid tonight.
The Reds, Champions League winners in 2019 and finalists 12 months before that, have got their campaign off to a perfect start with back-to-back victories over AC Milan and Porto, steamrollering the latter in their own back yard.
They will be expecting a sterner examination against Diego Simeone’s side, however, as they return to the Wanda Metropolitano, where they beat Tottenham to become European champions two years ago.
The LaLiga champions knocked Liverpool out of the tournament in the final days before the coronavirus shutdown in the spring of 2020 but trail Jurgen Klopp’s side by two points at the top of Group B after being held at home by Porto on the opening match day.
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3 mins: It’s a three-man central midfield in a 5-3-2 for Atletico, with Carrasco and Trippier running the flanks alone.
As with any Simeone side, expect them to have no problem covering their entire touchlines tonight.
1 mins: Jeers for the knee taken by Liverpool’s players and a couple of Atletico’s.
Straight on the attack are the hosts.
Kick-off! Atletico Madrid 0-0 Liverpool
We’re off! Atletico in their famous Rojiblanco kit, Liverpool in all yellow.
One final stat as the anthems blare out: Liverpool have just one win in seven in European away games on Spanish soil – with none in four in the Champions League versus Atletico. Will that end tonight?
It is a positively (and literally) bouncing atmosphere in the Spanish capital.
The teams will be out shortly.
The Liverpool boss would also have loved to be a fly on the wall when Luis Suarez was told he’d be on the bench.
Klopp jokes: “I would have paid money to be part of the meeting when Diego told him.
“Who knows why he’s not playing, it’s a strong team. They can make five subs, we can too. Hopefully we end up having to as then it will have been a good game.”
Jurgen Klopp has explained his side’s quick turnaround following the win at Watford.
He tells BT Sport: “We had absolutely no time to train; recovery Sunday then Monday we did a little bit.
“And then you bring new players in and Fabinho was already in Madrid and couldn’t train with us.
“We know exactly what we have to do, we don’t have to change and talk through different things, so that’s what we did.”
Suarez on the bench
No Luis Suarez in the Atletico starting lineup tonight as Diego Simeone opts to start with Joao Felix and Antoine Griezmann in attack.
That’ll no doubt fire the Uruguayan up for his inevitable goal off the bench later on…
Alisson back in goal
So, goalkeeper Alisson Becker returns but there is no place for Fabinho in Jurgen Klopp’s starting line-up tonight
The pair missed the weekend win over Watford after flying directly to Spain after international duty with Brazil in order to complete their quarantine period in the Spanish capital.
However, Alisson for Caoimhin Kelleher is the only change from Saturday with Fabinho on the bench.