Liverpool eased into the last-16 of the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night – a day after Manchester United’s frenetic 2-2 draw with Atalanta
Liverpool’s victory over Atletico Madrid highlighted the stark contrast between Jurgen Klopp’s side and Manchester United, according to Rio Ferdinand.
Diogo Jota put them in front after just 13 minutes with a well-taken header from Trent Alexander-Arnold’s bouncing cross.
The right-back was at it once again minutes later, blasting a low ball through the defence for Sadio Mane to finish for 2-0.
Atleti defender Felipe was sent off before the break as Diego Simeone’s side wilted and, although they spurned further chances, Liverpool never looked like surrendering their lead.
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Former United defender Ferdinand was struck by the difference between Klopp’s side and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ‘s, who needed another dramatic late Cristiano Ronaldo goal to earn a 2-2 draw with Atalanta on Tuesday.
“I think if you look at the contrast with United’s game yesterday it really just highlights the contrast of the game,” he said on BT Sport.
“This is a team who are in complete control. They’re in control of every situation going on and yes they’re on a great streak, unbeaten run, but it’s controlling games and really turning the intensity up, using the crowd and having that complete control.
“Whereas yesterday was disarray and trying to get to a point of controlling, but never getting there.”
Ronaldo’s 91st-minute volley was crucial for United, who would have ended Tuesday night third in Group F without the equaliser.
The dramatic intervention from the Portuguese star – in a similar fashion to his winners against Villarreal and in the first leg against Atalanta – saw Solskjaer’s side go top of Group F on seven points from four games, ahead of Unai Emery’s side on goal difference.
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United face Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday and Ferdinand is concerned about the quality of Pep Guardiola’s side, who geared up for the derby by beating Club Bruges 4-1 on Wednesday.
“Yes we showed great character, personality, never say die attitude, quality in terms of finishing,” he said of United.
“But as a structure the fundamentals of what we’re trying to achieve as a football club wasn’t quite there in the full package and we need that at the weekend against a team so dangerous and convincing like Man City.”
Liverpool also face a tough test on the weekend, with a trip to play West Ham on Sunday perhaps threatening their unbeaten league record.
The Reds will be hoping that West Ham’s shorter turnaround between European and domestic competition could dent the form of David Moyes’ team.
The Hammers, who beat Aston Villa 4-1 on Sunday, play Genk in Belgium this evening before travelling back to London to prepare for the visit of Liverpool.