Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Danny Makkelie (NED)
Date & Time – Wednesday, March 11th 2020 @ 20:00
Current Odds – Liverpool 4/7, Draw 14/5, Atlético Madrid 11/2
There will be a welcome for the Liverpool coach. The streets will be lined from the Arkles to the ground. There will be a pyro party. There will be noise, there will be intensity and, yes, there will be a certain level of expectation. Will there by joy?
The blip arrived. The bump in the road – or maybe it was an inevitable speed-wobble for a Red juggernaut that has had its pedal to the floor for almost a year now – finally happened. Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool lost a few games in a short spell.
The Reds suffered three defeats in four games, three in their last five since they beat Bournemouth 2-1 at Anfield on Saturday.
Liverpool lost 1-0 in the first leg of this Champions League clash at Atlético Madrid, 3-0 to Watford in the Premier League and went out of the FA Cup at Chelsea last week.
Anfield saw Klopp’s men get back to winning ways, despite going behind, against Bournemouth on Saturday. Whether that result and performance are enough to restore the confidence and momentum needed to overcome Diego Simeone’s Atléti remains to be seen.
Atlético Madrid Form
Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid side is unbeaten in six games in all competitions. Their last defeat was 1-0 away to city rivals, Real Madrid, on February 1st.
The positive news for Liverpool is that Atléti have not kept a clean sheet in the three games since beating The Reds. Their most recent game was on Saturday when they drew 2-2 at home to Sevilla in LaLiga. Álvaro Morata (penalty) and João Félix were the scorers for Atletico Madrid.
Liverpool Team News
Alisson Becker is the big loss for this fixture. Adrián will come in for the Brazilian international between the sticks.
Jordan Henderson and Andy Robertson are both expected to be available for selection after returning to full training on Sunday, despite missing Saturday’s win over Bournemouth.
Joe Gomez should partner Virgil van Dijk in central defence with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Robertson taking their places on either side of the back four.
Jordan Henderson is likely to return to the starting eleven so this could mean a midfield trio of Fabinho, Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum.
Liverpool’s front line should be at full strength with Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané all fit to start.
Atlético Madrid Team News
Thomas Lemar is Atléti’s only current injury concern. The attacking midfielder will face a late fitness test ahead of Wednesday night’s game.
Diego Simeone stuck with his 4-4-2 formation for the 1-0 win in the first leg and he is likely to go with the same shape for this week’s match.
Diego Costa and João Félix are both back fit and firing for the visitors as well. Felix is likely to start in a front pairing of him and Álvaro Morata.
Former Spurs defender Kieran Trippier is expected to come in at right-back after missing the first leg.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Adrián; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Atlético Madrid XI (4-4-2) – Oblak; Trippier, Savic, Giménez, Lodi; Correa, Partey, Saúl, Koke; Félix, Morata
When they last met
Atlético Madrid won 1-0 at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano in the first leg. An early goal from Saúl Ñíguez was enough to give the hosts the victory and a priceless lead to bring to Anfield.
Atléti have played twice at Anfield over the years. Their first visit was a 1-1 draw in the Champions League group stages in November 2008. Maxi Rodríguez, who would go on to join Liverpool two years later, gave Javier Aguirre’s team a first-half lead before Steven Gerrard equalised with a late penalty.
In 2010, Atlético Madrid returned, this time for the semi-final second leg of the UEFA Europa League. They had won the first game 1-0 in Spain. Rafa Benitez’s Reds won 2-1 at Anfield after extra-time but, unfortunately, were eliminated due to away goals.
LIVERPOOL 2 – 1 ATLÉTICO MADRID
I wish I thought differently and I hope to be proven so, so wrong on Wednesday night. However, I can’t deny that I think our Champions League journey could be coming to an end against Atlético Madrid. With Alisson out, what would be a hugely important clean sheet now seems less-and-less likely. Liverpool could be caught on the break at any stage with talents like João Félix waiting to pounce and nab that away goal for Simeone’s team. As I said, I hope I’m way, way off with my prediction but I think The Reds could be going out on away goals.