“They are a really well organized, 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.” Klopp when asked about Atletico Madrid.
Liverpool have made their trip back to where they won their 6th Champions League trophy in 2019 for the round of 16 clash. The defending champions will be hoping for a similar atmosphere as well as result but now the face one of their toughest opponent yet-Diego Simeone’s formidable Atletico de Madrid!
We can all agree this Atleti team is not the one of the old which was well known for their defensive discipline and efficiency. With the like of Diego Gordin, Juanfran, Filipe Luis and Griezmann leaving, Simeone had to build again from the back and regain the fluency going forward. They have been poor especially in the final third having failed to replace Griezmann’s influnce. With the attacking options of Jao Felix and Diego Costa injured and in doubt for this fixture, the emergence of Correa who at the moment is in good form and the possibility of Morata to feature in this game gives Simeone some relief.
Simeone’s side have only picked up two league wins in 2020 and sit fourth in La Liga, only two points clear of sixth-placed Villarreal. In addition, in the last month they have crashed out of the Copa del Rey and lost in the Super Cup final. It will be the first time that these two teams have faced each other in the Champions League since the group stages of the 2008-09 competition, when both matches finished 1-1.
Still Atletico have reached two Champions League finals and three Europa League finals in the last 10 seasons, which is an indication of their pedigree in the competition.
On the other hand they face a Liverpool team that is in fantastic form and on top of the PL. Klopp’s team this season seem to have an answer to any opponent they face and are operating on a high! With no fresh injuries to report,this is shaping out to be a memorable European night!
On paper Liverpool look like a better side but then again Simeone can be a master tactician and will definitely try to bring out the best from his team and he can even be more effective with a lean squad! He will relish the opportunity to beat the defending champions just to prove a point!
Klopp and Simeone will definitely relish this contest and I cant wait to see the antics on the touchline and on the pitch because we all know how emotional both managers can get!