Venue – Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid
Referee – Szymon Marciniak (POL)
Date & Time – Tuesday, February 18th 2020 @ 20:00
Current Odds – Atletico Madrid 23/10, Draw 5/2, Liverpool 23/20
Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid… the one team most of us Reds fans wanted to avoid in the Champions League draw. Yet, here we are. Fate drew us the short straw and now Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have a huge task ahead of them. However, Liverpool are European champions and runaway Premier League leaders. There’s no-one left to fear.
Atletico Madrid Form
Atletico Madrid are fourth in the LaLiga table at the moment. 12 points behind Barcelona and Real Madrid at this stage is a poor return for Atleti, though. Simeone’s shine may be wearing off at Los Rojiblancos and they have won just once in their last 7 games in all competitions. But Atletico have been generally tough to break down in the Champions League during the Simeone era. Tuesday night is likely to be no different.
Atletico Madrid drew 2-2 away to Valencia in LaLiga in their most recent game, last Friday night.
Liverpool extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to 25 points with a 1-0 win at Norwich over the weekend. The Reds are cruising to their 19th league title.
Now, Jurgen Klopp’s men turn their attentions back to protecting their Champions League crown and continuing their quest for what would be European Cup number 7 for the club.
Atletico Madrid Team News
England international right-back Kieran Trippier is out for Atleti due to a hip injury. Diego Simeone will have to wait and see if Hector Herrera and Diego Costa can play any part as the pair battle to recover in time. Young star Joao Felix is also facing a late fitness test before Tuesday night’s encounter.
For the most part this season, Simeone has been lining Atleti out in a 4-4-2 formation. He has switched to 4-3-3 or 4-3-1-2 on occasion. I think the Argentine coach will stick with 4-4-2 for Liverpool’s visit.
Liverpool Team News
Xherdan Shaqiri is the only Reds Champions League squad member who is currently suffering from an injury. A calf problem could keep Shaqiri out of proceedings this week.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool were made to fight tooth and nail for the three points at Norwich on Saturday evening. Jordan Henderson put in a super-human effort to see The Reds over the line so I expect the captain to be on the bench on Tuesday. James Milner could get a rare start, as could Dejan Lovren in central defence. Lovren’s selection is very possible given any potential physical battle with Diego Costa should the Spain international play any part in the game.
Sadio Mané came off the bench to score the winner at Norwich. He should start on Tuesday night having overcome his recent injury.
Atletico Madrid XI (4-4-2) – Oblak; Aria, Savic, Felipe, Saul Niguez; Koke, Thomas, Llorente, Vitolo; Correa, Morata
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Mané
When they last met
Liverpool and Atletico Madrid have met four times in European competition. In 2010, Atleti knocked Rafa Benitez’s Reds out in the semi-finals of the Europa League through the away-goals rule.
Two years previous to that, the teams played out two 1-1 draws in the group stages of that season’s Champions League.
ATLETICO MADRID 1 – 1 LIVERPOOL
A draw is the most likely outcome of this game. Atletico Madrid have only lost once at home in LaLiga this season and were undefeated at the Wanda Metropolitano in the group stages of the Champions League. I can’t see either side losing this one so a 1-1 scoreline is very likely in what should be a tight game.