The hope for a lot of Liverpool fans was that they wouldn’t be dragged into Atletico Madrid’s style of play during their first leg Champions League clash last night. Alas, when push came to shove, Atletico were able to control the Reds and edge out a 1-0 win, as reported by BBC and The Guardian.
Liverpool, who were unbeaten in 14 games in all competitions and haven’t lost in the Premier League this season, were played at their own game as Atletico held them to just a handful of clear cut opportunities throughout the course of the game.
Prior to the half hearted barrage of attempts from Liverpool, though, it was Atletico who edged themselves into a fourth minute lead when Saul Niguez turned and fired the ball into the corner of the net to hand them the early advantage.
There were a few chances to speak of for Liverpool but we can’t say that they were in a position of power – because they weren’t. Diego Simeone knew the job they had to do and they went out and did it, proving that this team is not as unbeatable as we all first thought.
The domination by English sides in Europe last season is still as clear of a sign as ever that the Premier League is the best division in world football, but this is a warning sign to all those fans who have decided to write off the Spaniards.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp gave his brief thoughts on the result after the full time whistle.
“I had no problem with the result. I saw so many happy faces from Atletico tonight, I get that because it’s a big win, but it’s not over yet. That’s the only thing I feel.
“The crowd wanted to help their team tonight. That makes it a very emotional game.
“Emotions are important. Tonight they were obviously completely on the side of Atletico but I am really looking forward to the second leg.”
Having an off day
Atletico manager Simeone was jubilant, but he also recognized that only half the job has been done.
“The best side in the world came here and we beat them.
“But it’s only one game down, one to go. Liverpool had their chances. They were dangerous, they’ve got good players all over the pitch.”
While the primary focus for Liverpool this season is quite clearly going to be winning the Premier League title for the first time in its current incarnation, there’s no denying that they will not want to surrender their European crown without a fight.
European nights at Anfield always seem to be up there with the best atmospheres in the game today, and it’s been that case for a long time. Whether or not they’ll be able to break down this stubborn Atletico team is a different matter altogether, but they’ve got a great chance to do just that in the second leg.
Atletico, on the other hand, will now see the Champions League trophy as a viable prize following a difficult La Liga campaign thus far.