Atletico Madrid 2 - 3 Liverpool
Atletico: Griezmann 20’, 34’
Reds: Salah 8’, 77 (pen), Keita 13’
A bit of a surprise from Jurgen Klopp, as he runs out a completely unchanged side with the sole exception of a returning Alisson Becker. However, Klopp will have the chance to bring on up to five subs, if and when the players look a little leggy.
Any result will be big for Liverpool tonight, but they could all but wrap up their qualification efforts with all three points.
This ref is letting absolutely everything go early on. Hope we don’t see any injuries as a result. To no one’s surprise, Atletico are sitting off and playing like they were the visitors. However, the Reds appear to be hitting a brick wall every time they approach the attacking third, so it could be a very frustrating night.
GOAL! Another day, another 8th minute goal! In what very well could have been Liverpool’s first touches in the opponent’s box of the match, Mo did fantastically well to carve out a shooting chance. His shot looked for all the world like it took a touch from James Milner on the way in, but I guess they’re giving it to Mo!
GOAL!! Liverpool double their lead through an absolute worldie from Naby Keita! Atletico clear an Alexander-Arnold cross, but Keita hits the clearance as it’s coming down at the edge of the box with a first time and unstoppable volley.
Goal. Well, no one was expecting a goal-fest, but with three goals in 20 minutes, that’s exactly what we have here. Atletico score on a well-worked corner. There’s a lengthy VAR check for offside, but the goal stands.
Liverpool went pretty gung-ho after the first goal, which temporarily paid off. Until, you know, Atletico pulled one back. However, Atletico remain dangerous on the break; Alisson comes up huge on a 1-v-1 with Griezmann, allowing the yellow-clad Reds to maintain their advantage. It shows just how dangerous this Atletico side are.
Goal. Griezmann does fantastically well to send Van Dijk the wrong way, and slot past Alisson. And we’re back to level terms.
Atletico have been killing Liverpool on the counter, and mostly (spare two world-class goals) keeping the Reds at arms length. The Reds have had over 70% of the possession, but routinely hit a brick wall when they reach the attacking third, and a fair few giveaways have lead to a dangerous situation going the other way.
The ref mercifully blows his whistle for halftime. Adjustments will definitely need to be made at the half; Klopp can bring Fabinho on, which would probably be a pretty good start, considering the ease at which our midfield has been played through so far.
Despite the phenomenal early start, Liverpool are lucky to still be on level terms with the hosts. Atletico are happy to sit back and wait for mistakes, and so far Liverpool have given them plenty to pounce on.
Jurgen Klopp makes use of his first of five subs, bringing on Fabinho (thank fucking Fowler) for Naby Keita. He was probably hoping to save Fabinho’s legs a bit for United, but yeah, we had a massive Fabinho-shaped hole in midfield.
It’s not long until Alisson’s services are called upon this half. And he came up big again. This could be 4-2 to the home side, easily, without his heroics so far.
RED CARD! Griezmann challenged a Bobby Firmino header with a high boot and the ref, who hasn’t seemed interested in calling pretty much anything so far, sent the French international packing.
James Milner went into the book for a rather timid challenge on an aerial duel. Might be a good idea to get Milly off sooner rather than later, if we’re now giving out cards like candy this half.
Kloppo listened! He made a double switch with a little over an hour gone, bringing on Diogo Jota for Sadio Mané and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Milner.
A little bit of space has begun to open up for Liverpool in attack with about.
PENALTY! An otherwise harmless ball was pumped into the box, and Diogo Jota was absolutely clattered into and brought down. The ref has no choice but to point to the spot.
GOAL! And Mo stepped up, sent Oblak the wrong way, and slotted it! The Reds are back on top. Somehow.
VAR OVERTURN! It appeared as if Jota gave away the same stupid foul that he just benefitted from, but after a long look at the monitor, the ref overturns his decision! It would have been a soft pen, but still a bit fortunate there.
Klopp makes another change with five minutes of regular time to go, bringing on Joe Gomez for Trent Alexander-Arnold. And in stoppage time, he makes his last change: Neco Williams for Mo Salah.
Final Thoughts and Man of the Match
Liverpool managed to get their noses in front and hang on, by hook or by crook. Atletico outplayed the Reds throughout most of the first half and probably deserved all three on the balance of play. However, the red card fundamentally changed the match, and Kloppo’s experienced men were able to fully capitalize. Liverpool are now firmly in the driver’s seat, with a 5-point lead halfway through the group stage.
Liverpool’s Man of the Match vs. Atletico Madrid
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