A little more than 18 months ago, Liverpool played their final game of 2020 in front of a full Anfield, mere days before the coronavirus pandemic put an end to normal, day-to-day life in England and the world.
While the world was on the brink of crisis outside the stadium, results inside weren’t anything to celebrate for Jürgen Klopp’s Reds. Now, the two clubs meet again, the pandemic still ongoing but with fans back in the stands.
“After the second leg I was angry and disappointed about lots of things,” the Liverpool manager noted at his pre-match press conference. “We had to focus on football in strange circumstances.
“They were world class and defended with all they had. I couldn’t respect more what they do. Do I like it? Not a lot, but that’s me. I like a different style of football, but you have to be successful and Atletico have been.”
In addition to getting to play in front of fans again this season, then, Tuesday’s match—the first of two for the clubs in group play with the second November 3rd at Anfield—offers the chance for a little bit of revenge for the Reds.
It won’t be the same Atletico that they faced last time around, but it’s a side again fighting near the top of the La Liga table and with a full belief that they can get a result against anybody in Europe.
For Liverpool, on the other hand, it will be another chance to set out a marker in the Champions League’s toughest group after beating FC Porto and AC Milan in their first two group stage games this season.
“They are still a results machine,” Klopp added of their upcoming opponents. “It’s incredible how Diego [Simeone] keeps them all on their toes, and you cannot criticise that.”