Liverpool hosts Spanish champions, Atletico Madrid, on Wednesday night in the Champions League (8 pm BST/7 pm GMT). It is the fourth game of this season’s group stage and comes a fortnight after the five-goal thriller between the two sides at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium. Liverpool top group B with a perfect record of 3 wins from 3.
Atletico Madrid and Porto lie second and third with 4 points, whilst Milan lies bottom with 0 points. That game in Madrid saw the Reds go 2-0 up after just 15 minutes before Atleti fought back to 2-2 with their vociferous home crowd urging them on. Antoine Griezmann was then sent off for a high boot on Firmino, before Jurgen Klopp’s side made their advantage count as Salah converted a late penalty for the win.
It was a brilliant end-to-end game that ended with Simeone running down the tunnel without shaking his counterpart’s hand. It marked the first victory on Spanish soil for Jurgen Klopp, as well as the first time Atleti had conceded three goals in a home Champions League game. We can expect even more drama at Anfield, these two sides seem to bring it out of each other.
Atletico Madrid remains 4th in La Liga on 22 points, 3 off-table-toppers Real Sociedad, having played a game less. They followed that loss to Liverpool with two stalemates (2-2 vs Real Sociedad and Levante), before cruising to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Real Betis yesterday. They remain a very resilient side and have released the hand brake a bit in terms of their attacking potential.
Liverpool themselves followed that first-leg win with a 5-0 battering of Manchester United before a much-changed side beat Preston 2-0. On Saturday however, they threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at home to Brighton. They still come into this clash unbeaten in their last 24 games in all competitions though and will be looking to seal qualification to the knockouts by beating Atleti at Anfield, something they failed to do last year.
Atleti will miss Griezmann and Savic through suspension. Marcos Llorente and Geoffrey Kondogbia are both unlikely to be passed fit whilst Thomas Lemar has been ruled out by Simeone. For Liverpool; midfielders Harvey Elliott and Milner remain out, whilst Naby Keita picked up a hamstring injury against Brighton. Fabinho and Thiago have been pictured in training though and could be involved in some capacity.
The Egyptian has been in scintillating form this season, netting 15 goals and laying on 6 assists for his teammates in just 13 appearances. His record-breaking run of scoring in ten consecutive fixtures came to an end on Saturday, against Brighton (he still laid on an assist). Having scored a brace against the Rojiblancos already, he will be looking to get back amongst the goals.
The Brazilian has been in good form this season, keeping 5 clean sheets in his 12 appearances so far this season. He was named UEFA’s Man of the Match in the first leg after a string of impressive stops gave his side a platform to go on and win the match. He has outperformed his xG conceded by 2.75 and will be looking to keep his first clean sheet in the Champions League this term.
A surprise omission from the lineup in the first leg, the 34 years is expected to start at his former stomping ground this time around. Suarez is Atleti’s top scorer again this season with 7 goals in 14 appearances so far, with one assist. He got himself booked when he came on in the first leg, after clashing with Van Dijk and being denied a free-kick. He will be up to his old tricks again and will need to be kept quiet.