Atletico Madrid welcomed Liverpool to the Wanda Metropolitano in the Champions League this evening in a mouthwatering clash between two European heavyweights. It was a pulsating fixture that the visitors from Merseyside won 3-2.
Atletico were second in Champions League Group B heading into the game, two points behind leaders Liverpool, three clear of Porto and four ahead of bottom-placed Milan.
Liverpool took the lead in the eighth minute through Mohamed Salah, possibly the most in-form footballer in Europe. He cut in from the right side before seeing his effort from the edge of the box deflect past Jan Oblak.
Naby Keita doubled Liverpool’s advantage in the 13th minute. The ball fell to him with a sight of goal and he made no mistake, unleashing a well-struck effort past Oblak into the top right corner to give Atletico a mountain to climb.
Atletico, with typical mental strength, responded well. Antoine Griezmann pulled one back in the 20th minute, directing Koke’s effort from distance goalward after good work from Thomas Lemar out on the left side.
The Frenchman completed the comeback in the 34th minute. He collected the ball after intelligent play by Joao Felix before opening his body and finishing confidently. He then turned from hero to villain in the 51st minute, however, after his high-boot on Roberto Firmino saw him receive a straight red card.
Liverpool regained their lead and made it 3-2 in the 78th minute, again through Salah. This time the Egyptian scored from the spot, coolly placing his penalty kick into the bottom-left corner of the net and sending Oblak the wrong way.
⏱ 95' | Atleti 2️⃣-3️⃣ Liverpool
⏹️ Termina el partido en el Wanda @Metropolitano.
— Atlético de Madrid (@Atleti) October 19, 2021
“We didn’t start the match as we wanted but after the second goal we began playing the match we were looking for. We had chances to put ourselves ahead, with the clearest one coming in the second half, but the goalkeeper made another great save. The team responded well to going a man down.”
Simeone was criticised by many in the British media for leaving the pitch without shaking Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp’s hand on the final whistle. “I don’t always greet the other coach after the game because I don’t like it,” he explained. “It’s not healthy for either the winner or the loser. I think of it that way. But now, when I see him, I’ll greet him without a problem.”