Marcos Llorente was able to play in his favoured position at Los Carmenes against Granada, as an advanced midfielder. The return of Yannick Carrasco and Mario Hermoso to the Atletico Madrid setup has enabled him to revert to that decisive role in the final third, as noted by Marca, after playing a slightly deeper role in last Monday night’s draw with Celta Vigo.
Freed from defensive duties, Llorente honed in on his attacking potential. He played between the lines, exhibiting the ability that he’s honed under Diego Simeone, scoring himself as well as assisting Angel Correa. He played the game with perfect balance, no surprise given he’s contributed eight goals and assists this season in all competitions.
“Titles are important, but as a coach what fills you up is when you see the growth of a footballer like Marcos,” Simeone said post-match in comments carried by Marca. “When we see a footballer with the ability to do different things than what he had been doing in his career, we jump on it.
“It happened with Griezmann, with Saul, with Juanfran. Why does it happen? Because footballers want and dream of never giving up. I’d like to look at footage of Marcos training when he wasn’t even starting, we saw him scoring goals and we said this boy cannot be a midfielder.”
The result meant Atletico went eight points clear of Real Madrid and eleven clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga. Next up for them is a double header against Levante, who they play next week on Wednesday and Saturday, before they face Chelsea in the last 16 of the Champions League the following midweek.