Atletico Madrid v Liverpool line-ups
Atletico Madrid: Oblak, Vrsaljko, Felipe, Savic, Renan Lodi, Saul, Koke, Thomas, Lemar, Morata, Correa.
Subs: Adan, Gimenez, Llorente, Costa, Vitolo, Carrasco, Hermoso.
Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Subs: Milner, Keita, Adrian, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Minamino, Origi, Matip.
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (Poland)
Not much in the way of surprises in Liverpool’s line-up
I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn when I say Jurgen Klopp has selected the team most Liverpool fans were expecting.
Lend us your ears …
Jonathan Wilson, Flo Lloyd-Hughes and yours truly were in the studio alongside host Max Rushden for yesterday’s episode of our Football Weekly podcast, while David Conn, Sid Lowe, Archie Rhind-Tutt and Nicky Bandini contributed from further afield. You can listen here and if you’re not already a subscriber, sign up in all the usual podcast places.
Diego Simeone speaks …
“As you know, we deal with things one game at a time here,” said Atletico’s manager. “We will cross each bridge when we get there. We are facing a magnificent team, well trained by a coach with a difference. He can play counter, possession, they are strong in the air. I have no doubt this Liverpool side will go down in history as a great team. They are different to teams we have admired in the past. They are intense, adaptable.
Jurgen Klopp speaks …
“This is one of the most difficult fixtures in the life of a football player,” said Liverpool’s manager during yesterday’s pre-match press duties. “Atlético are a really well organised, well-oiled machine who are amazing at squeezing results. They are in a transition period, that’s normal, but they are fighting with all they have. It’s really difficult.
“If there’s one team where you have to be at your absolute best, it’s Atlético. They give you absolutely no presents. If you work as hard as possible, you have a chance. If you don’t do that, you have no chance.”
An audience with Saul Niguez
“We know how we can hurt Liverpool, their strengths and weaknesses, and we always compete against big teams,” said Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, in a wide-ranging interview with Sid Lowe.
Atlético tackle Liverpool in battle of opposite
Diego Simeone approaches this week’s tie against a Liverpool team whose high-tempo pressing style has come to define the modern age finding his methods being seriously questioned for the first time, writes Jonathan Wilson …
Early team news …
Having been on the TOttenham HOtspur side that lost in last season’s final against Liverpool, Kieran Trippier will have to make do with a view from the sidelines as he is currently recovering from groin surgery. The right-back was in St George’s Park undergoing rehab last week, but this game has come too soon for him.
Atlético will also be without their £113m summer signing Joao Felix, who has recovered from a muscle injury but has now been struck down by a virus affecting his tonsils. Hector Herrera is also expected to miss out, while Alvaro Morata and Diego Costa will be assessed ahead of today’s game.
Liverpool, by contrast, have practically a full squad to choose from, with Nathaniel Clyne and Xherdan Shaqiri constituting the entirety of their list of lame and halt. Their absence will be of little or no concern to Jurgen Klopp, who almost certainly wouldn’t have considered either player for selection had they been fit.
Champions League Round of 16 first leg: Atlético Madrid v Liverpool
With the Premier League as good is in the bag, not that anyone at the club is prepared to admit it, Liverpool are more or less free to focus on retaining the Champions League title they won at the Wanda Metropolitano last season.
They return to the scene of their sixth European triumph to face an Atlético Madrid side that are not in the best of form, fourth in La Liga with just one win in their past seven games in all competitions. Diego Simeone’s side are no mugs, however, and will be hoping to Liverpool’s first defeat in 11 knockout ties under Jürgen Klopp. Kick-off is at 8pm (GMT) but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.