Liverpool got a measure of revenge from Atletico Madrid after Diego Simeone’s men ousted them from the Champions League last season, winning an October group stage match 3-2 at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Now Jurgen Klopp’s Reds can clinch a spot in the knockout rounds by beating Atleti at Anfield, and even the shared respect between the two bosses won’t stop the German from showcasing his gleaming chompers and a fist pump to the Kop if Liverpool sweeps the series.
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Liverpool’s scored 11 times in three matches but has conceded five times: twice to Atleti, twice to AC Milan, and once to Porto.
Atleti, meanwhile, could find itself outside the knockout round picture if it cannot spring an upset and Porto handles Milan at the San Siro. AC Milan has yet to pick up a point while Porto has the same points as Atleti (4).
Liverpool finishes with Porto at Anfield and Milan at the San Siro, while Atleti stares down a finishing kick of Milan in Spain and Porto in Portugal.
Liverpool and Atletico Madrid team news
Jurgen Klopp claimed that Simeone dodging his handshake attempt after the match in Madrid was “not too cool” but also “nothing,” so what’s the buzz before the return leg?
Simeone has said he just doesn’t look post-match handshakes, that the emotions involved in a big game usually make the “good game” greeting a bit corny and fake for his tastes.
“I know in the UK it is a custom and all about chivalry, but I don’t share it and I don’t like the falseness. So I behave as I feel. I don’t know Klopp as a person, but he is a great coach and has been great everywhere he has been. I don’t give an opinion on other teams, we are coaches and we all have to respect that.”
How does Klopp feel, a few weeks after the non-handshake? Probably about the same.
Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)
Liverpool (-155) | Atletico Madrid (+420) | Draw (+290)
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The desperation is there for Atleti, but this is Anfield, yeah? And while Liverpool might be due to ride a run of less-than-stellar form kickstarted by this weekend’s blown 2-0 lead in a draw with Brighton and Hove Albion, Klopp’s men will also know a win at home allows them to focus on the Premier League and a single League Cup game basically until the knockout round draw of the UCL. It could be a fun one, but a Liverpool win still seems the likely outcome. Liverpool 2-1 Atletico Madrid.