Title holder Liverpool continues its Champions League journey on Tuesday at the same stadium where it conquered Europe in May. The Reds go to the Wanda Metrpolitano to take on Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their round of 16 clash. Liverpool beat Tottenham at the Wanda 2-0 to win the 2019 Champions League ceown, and the Reds are the favorite to win the competition again this year. The Reds have lost only one match all season when fielding their normal squad.
Atleti has lacked a bit of consistency and Joao Felix’s injuries have derailed plans, but this is a team with enough talent and experience to make a run deep in the competition.
Here’s everything you need to know about the match:
Atletico Madrid vs. Liverpool
Date: Tuesday, Feb. 18 || Time: 3 p.m. ET
Location: Wanda Metropolitano || TV channel: TNT and UniMas.
Atletico Madrid: Atleti enters with a day more of rest after the 2-2 draw against Valencia on Friday, but that was a match where the team looked shaky at the back. Fortunate to not have conceded late, Los Colchoneros really struggled down the right wing with Ferran Torres. That means Liverpool down the right with Mohamed Salah could cause some serious damage. Expect Atleti to play reserved by leaving Thomas Parety deep in the midfield.
Liverpool: The Reds grinded out a 1-0 win at Norwich City on Saturday to take another step toward the inevitable Premier League title. But Atleti is no Norwich. They’ll be facing a team with one of the strongest defenses and a top-tier goalkeeper in Jan Oblak. Atleti likes to press high and double team, so expect little room for Sadio Mane down the left. The key will be if Roberto Firmino can get quick touches to create chances for himself or others.
Atlético Madrid vs Liverpool Preview
The Reds reached the Champions League knockout stage by claiming the top spot in Group E. They edged Napoli by a point in a four-team set that also included Red Bull Salzburg and Genk.
They’ve dominated the Premier League this season, sitting 25 points clear of second-place Manchester City with 12 matches to play.
Liverpool returned from a two-week league layoff on Friday to best Norwich City 1-0 on a 78th-minute tally from forward Sadio Mané, who came on in the 60th minute.
“Sadio could have started today, of course, but I wanted to have a free decision for Tuesday actually,” Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp said, according to the club’s official website. “I don’t think too often and too much about these games but when two players are back from injuries, like Sadio and Fabinho, you don’t think they can play two games. [Don’t think they] should play; can, yes, if you have to, but should play.”
From just across midfield, Reds captain Jordan Henderson found Mané in the box with a lofted pass. The Senagalese spun to face the feed and did the deed in two touches.
“It was a fantastic run from Sadio, great touch and a great finish — fantastic goal from him,” Henderson said, per the club site.
“We are just delighted to get the three points, it’s good that Sadio is back after his injury and he’s straight on the scoresheet, so nice to have him back and nice to get the three points.
“It was pretty hard-fought. We had to go right until the end, of course, but that’s Premier League football.
“Norwich City are a good team and have caused teams a lot of problems throughout the season and got some good players, so we knew it would be difficult.”
Atlético took second in the Champions League’s Group D, finishing behind Juventus and ahead of Bayer Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moscow.
Los Colchoneros are clinging to La Liga’s fourth and final berth to next year’s Champions League, holding a goal-differential advantage over Sevilla.
On Friday, they blew a pair of one-goal leads to Valencia, settling for a 2-2 draw on the road in league play.
“Both teams had many chances to score,” Atlético manager Diego Simeone said, according to the club’s official website. “We hurt them a lot on the break in the first half, whereas they created problems for us in the second. It was a tough game against a team that haven’t lost at their stadium.” Watch Live