Liverpool can put demons to rest against Atletico Madrid in Champions League

It was almost two years ago when Liverpool were beaten home and away by Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid side as defending European champions.

After dominating domestically and running away with the Premier League title in the 2019/20 season, they were expected to make a run at winning the Champions League in consecutive seasons.

However when they were paired up with Atletico Madrid in a two-legged last 16 affair, they found out just how tough the Spaniards can be to beat.

Saul Niguez’s goal gave Atleti a 1-0 lead heading into the tie at Anfield, before a thrilling encounter in the final game in front of fans for over a year.

Gini Wijnaldum’s goal in the 43rd minute meant extra-time was upon us and then Roberto Firmino gave the Reds a lead. Three minutes later though Marcos Llorente got Atleti back into the game, before he scored a second to silence Anfield.

Alvaro Morata then wrapped the game up in stoppage time to make it home and away wins against the reigning European champions.

Liverpool’s season after that stalled, literally and form-wise, as the pandemic took over the main storyline of the year and Jurgen Klopp’s side were eventually crowned champions without really needing to restart at all.

Last season became a write-off for the defending champions as they suffered immensely with injuries and poor form, crashing out of Europe at the quarter-final stage to Atletico’s local rivals Real Madrid.

But now, Klopp’s team are back with a vengeance.

So far this season they’re essentially at full fitness and it’s showing. They have won eight out of 11 games so far in all competitions and have lost none, scoring 33 goals and conceding just nine.

Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Watford and Liverpool at Vicarage Road on October 16, 2021 in Watford, England.

Mo Salah is in the form of his life, scoring seven goals and registering four assists in his eight appearances so far while Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino are also chipping in with their fair share.

Defensively Virgil Van Dijk has returned from his ACL injury in great form, while Joel Matip has also returned from injury and continued his excellent partnership with the Dutchman.

Now paired up in a Champions League group together this season, Liverpool have the chance to avenge those defeats. They’ve won two out of two so far and with Atletico being held to a draw against FC Porto, a win means they would be five points clear at the top of the supposed group of death after just three games.

They’re on course for yet another brilliant campaign and what better way than to beat the reigning, defending La Liga champions to get their revenge and continue their brilliant European run.


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