Liverpool 2-3 Atletico: Anfield shocked; Key points from today’s match

Liverpool matched Atletico with energy and even went up 2-0. Simeone 'Substitution Masterclass' engineered 3 goals during extra-time, as Adrian made a mistake at crucial time.

Liverpool 2-3 Atletico Anfield shocked; Key points in today's match
Liverpool 2-3 Atletico Anfield shocked; Key points in today's match

Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid beat invincible Liverpool at Anfield 3-2 to proceed to the quarter-final of UEFA Champions League. Wijnaldum and Firmino provided 2-0 lead to Liverpool; Llorente (2) and Morata scored for visitors. With this defeat defending champions and one of the favourites made a shock exit.

Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid – Context

Defending champion Liverpool lost first leg match at Wanda Metropolitano 1-0 and were to host Atletico for second leg match at Anfield. Anfield has its history, Barcelona conceded 3-0 lead last time, to make an unimaginable champions league previous exit year. The loss in the first leg did not dampen sentiment around Liverpool, especially when they have only one goal deficit and a match in hand at home. Both the managers have enough time to prepare for this match.

Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid – Goals

  • Georginio Wijnaldum provided 1-0 lead to the host at 43rd minute, when he headed the ball down and across to Oblak from an Oxlade-Chamberlain cross from the right. This is the first time, Atletico players were found momentarily switched off, and nobody chased the centre and Wijnaldum had a free header. This goal brought parity to the match, which eventually played extra-time for the result.
  • Roberto Firmino scored the second goal for Reds and provided a winning 2-1 lead in aggregate, at 94th minute, as he headed a Wijnaldum cross little wide to the post, but did not fail to slot the ball home on the rebound.
  • Four minutes later Liverpool took a 2-0 lead, Joao Felix intercepted a poor clearance by Adrian and forwarded the ball to Marcos Llorente, who in turn latched it home at right corner. As the poor clearance was not enough, Adrian slipped while diving to his left to make a save and did not quite reach the ball. Atletico did not look back from this point. 
  • Marcos Llorente scored his and Atletico’s second just before the break of extra-time when two substitutes Morata and Llorente made a move together. Morata went wide at the right touchline, providing enough time to Llorente and then cross it to the Spaniard, who took a moment to place it low, at right corner. This time, Adrian did not have much to do.
  • As the match poised at 2-2, Liverpool have to score not one but two to proceed to next round. As champions league fate looked almost sealed for two teams, Álvaro Morata scored the winner for Madrid team from a move initiated by Llorente. This was the first match in the competition to see four goals scored in extra time. 

What the scoreboard won’t tell

  • Liverpool were prepared – As Jurgen Klopp mentioned in Press, that Liverpool have had time to prepare and they have made changes in their strategy, and are ready for Atletico Madrid at home. They demonstrated high energy and looked dangerous with their level of skill and combination play, and as a result, they went up 1-0 by halftime. Atletico just somehow survived during this period.
  • Diego Simeone’s tactical Masterclass – This one is a gift from Simeone. We all have seen Atletico’s performance in the first leg; he made few changes in starting eleven, bringing, Diego Costa, Kieran Trippier, Joao Felix. He replaced Costa midway to bring Llorente in the midfield and Correa went up to join Felix at right end. This changed the match. As after the match, Klopp expresses his anguish during the press conference, saying that he does not understand why Atletico do not play “Proper Football.”
  • A story of two goalkeepers – This match will be remembered for two goalkeepers, though for different reasons. Whereas Oblak had a great day, and he backed his team’s effort and manager’s strategy, Adrian made a mistake at the crucial juncture to concede a goal, and this was like conceding the match and tournament for Reds. Atletico not only utilised the chance but scored two more goals to win the match outright.
  • Liverpool Trio – Sadio Mane was well marked and most of the time was not allowed to shoot at Atletico goal. Mohamed Salah operated from wide and deep to create space, and he was successful at times. Roberto Firmino scored an important goal, as this stealth operator looked dangerous in some of the situations.
Liverpool 2-3 Atletico: Anfield shocked; Key points from today's match European Leagues UEFA Champions League

Results and Records

  • This was the first time Liverpool have failed to progress from a two-legged tie in European competition under Klopp, having won the previous 10. Liverpool have lost a home European game for the first time under Klopp, with this their first defeat at Anfield in Europe since October 2014.
  • Atletico Madrid have progressed from five of their previous six Champions League knockout ties after winning the first leg.
  • Llorente is only the second Atletico player to score twice as a substitute in a Champions League game after Sergio Aguero did against Chelsea in November 2009.
  • Firmino scored his first goal at Anfield in 20 games after 337 days. Wijnaldum score four out of five goals in the Champions League for Liverpool, in the knockout rounds.

Post Match

I am completely happy with the performance. It’s so difficult to play a side like this. I don’t understand with the quality they have the football they play. They could play proper football but they stand deep and have counterattacks. We accept it of course but it doesn’t feel right tonight. I realise I am a really bad loser, especially when the boys put such an effort in against world class players on the other side who defend with two rows of four.

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool Manager on Atletico Madrid’s strategy to stand deep and have counterattacks.

He’s a man and he knows that’s how it is. We will not blame him for a second. It would be really nice if you stay respectful. He did not want to do that, he saved us in so many moments when he played. Since he’s here, he had super performances. This goal didn’t help but that’s how it is. If you lose a game you always lose for different reasons.

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool Manageron Performance of Liverpool Goalkeeper Adrian.

We never changed our plan, the players followed the guidelines perfectly. It’s a game that will become legendary for the fans. We’re back in the best eight sides in Europe and have beaten an extraordinary opponent.

Diego Simeone, Atletico Madrid Manager – on his tema’s strategy and performance.

Oblak is incredibly important, we have the best goalkeeper in the world, Barcelona have Lionel Messi, who is their difference maker. Oblak’s the best and he makes the difference for us.

Diego Simeone, Atletico Madrid Manager – on goalkeeper Oblak

In football you need to look to make life difficult for the opponent. We play to win, with the weapons that we have. We respect our identity, the characteristics of our players and we exploit the defects of our rivals.

Diego Simeone, Atletico Madrid Manager