Liverpool vs Atlético Madrid
| Wednesday, March 11th |
Champions League | Anfield
8PM BST / 3PM EST
Amid concerns about how, exactly, UEFA propose to close out the competition as stadiums around the continent are closed and domestic competitions are suspended, the Champions League returns, and Liverpool need a win if they wish to continue the defence of their title.
As Liverpool have struggled since their defeat at the Wanda Metropolitano, suffering two losses and winning once, Atléti have not exactly been on fire themselves, drawing twice and winning once, conceding four goals along the way. In a season where the leading clubs are barely managing two points per game, it is arguable that Diego Simeone’s men have missed a golden opportunity to pick up their first La Liga title since 2014 by producing such a mediocre season themselves.
The Champions League, then, is the only competition left to win — although qualification for next year could be under threat — and Simeone will undoubtedly be putting his eggs in the European basket for the remained of the season.
Since last time out, João Félix has returned from injury, scoring at the weekend, and may be set to start, although Ángel Correa provides more pace for a side that will be looking to defend and counter. former Liverpool target Thomas Lemar missed out with a muscle injury, while Kieran Trippier is set to return, surely relishing the idea of once again coming up against a tormentor he thought he had left behind in Sadio Mané,
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Adrián; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Keïta; Mané, Firmino, Salah
James Milner’s goalline clearance aside, Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Bournemouth at the weekend was a comfortable one, and the Reds played the second half largely at half speed. As such, the players should be ready to pour all their energy into what is unquestionably the most significant fixture currently on their schedule.
Alisson misses out again, paving the way for the punchy ways of Adrián, while the favoured back four should remain intact, as Andrew Robertson returns from an ankle problem to take his place at left-back.
In midfield there are a number of conundrums. Jordan Henderson is reportedly fit to play, but having missed four games with a hamstring injury, may not be in prime condition. Fabinho has looked rusty since his reintroduction and may not currently be the right man to shut down the visitors’ counter attacks. Furthermore, some attacking verve may be required to break down the Spanish double-decker bus parked at Anfield tomorrow night, but there are doubts about Naby Keïta’s readiness.
Up top, though, there are no questions, and while Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané both scored at the weekend, Roberto Firmino has been getting in excellent positions all seasons, and could be set to kill two birds with one stone, opening his account for the year both in the Champions League and at Anfield.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “We have to produce a performance on the pitch that has to be exceptional, absolutely, in all departments because playing against a deep-defending side is one thing but with the counter-attacking threat they are on the other side, that makes it even more difficult.”
Diego Simeone: “It will be a tough opponent with lots of ways of hurting you in attack. Experiences in life always help you but you have to make sure you don’t repeat mistakes.”
The Officials (NED)
Referee: Danny Makkelie
Assistant referees: Mario Diks, Hessel Steegstra
Fourth official: Allard Lindhout
VAR: Jochem Kamphuis, Kevin Blom
Kickoff is set for 8PM GMT/3PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.