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Preview: Atletico Madrid vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups
19/10/2021 14:05:29

Liverpool will endeavour to continue their perfect start to the 2021-22 Champions League when they travel to Atletico Madrid for Tuesday's Group B encounter.

Jurgen Klopp's side produced a five-star performance to thrash Porto 5-1 on matchday two, while Atletico claimed a last-gasp win over AC Milan.

We say: Atletico Madrid 1-2 Liverpool

Very rarely will Atletico fans witness their side ship multiple goals on home soil, but the fired-up Reds trio can exploit their hosts' defensive deficiencies as Simeone is forced to rejig his backline.

The extended rest ought to help the La Liga champions break Liverpool's resilience, but Klopp's attackers are on top of their game at the moment and should help to propel the Reds to another European win.

Match preview

Many thought that Atletico's matchday two clash with AC Milan had a draw written all over it, and Rafael Leao would take all of 20 minutes to break the deadlock for the Rossoneri before Franck Kessie's red card made things interesting.

The La Liga champions would not equalise until the 84th minute courtesy of Antoine Griezmann's strike, and in the seventh minute of second-half injury time, Luis Suarez would tuck away the game-winning penalty following Pierre Kalulu's handball.

Simeone's side certainly made hard work of their San Siro win and could only muster a point from their encounter with Porto on matchday one, but a 2-0 La Liga win over Barcelona just before the international break served to increase the confidence in the Atletico ranks.

With their scheduled La Liga battle with Granada postponed due to late arrivals back from international duty, Atletico will have had ample time to prepare for the visit of Liverpool as they seek to extend their unbeaten home run across all competitions to 13 matches.

Simeone's staunch rearguard have kept three clean sheets in their last three games at the Wanda Metropolitano, but they have drawn their last three Champions League group-stage battles in the Spanish capital, and Liverpool travel to Madrid out for a slice of revenge.

Jurgen Klopp was keen to stress that Liverpool's previous goal-laden performances at Porto would mean nothing ahead of their most recent trip to the Estadio do Dragao, but the Reds clearly paid no attention to their manager's admission as they put five past Sergio Conceicao's men last time out.

The old guard of Mohamed Salah (2), Roberto Firmino (2) and Sadio Mane all made the net ripple as Liverpool went two for two in the 2021-22 Champions League to storm to the top of the rankings in Group B, with only Bayern Munich also chalking up a tournament-high eight goals from two group stage games.

Salah was unsurprisingly up to his old tricks once more as Liverpool thrashed Watford 5-0 during their most recent Premier League encounter - netting almost an exact replica of his wonder strike against Manchester City - while Firmino hit a hat-trick and Mane scored his 100th English top-flight goal.

Now unbeaten in 20 games across all competitions, Liverpool continue to dazzle and delight on the goalscoring front with 27 from their last eight matches, while they have kept up their hot streak of scoring at least three goals in every one of their away games so far this term.

Such attacking prowess will be tested to the extreme against Atletico's staunch - yet depleted - rearguard, and Liverpool have failed to beat Atletico in four previous meetings, losing both legs of their last-16 clash in the 2019-20 season.

Team News

Banned Atletico defender Stefan Savic - who is injured anyway - still has two more games to serve on the naughty step, while midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia will sit out the trip to Anfield if he is booked here but may be needed at centre-back.

The hosts have also reportedly been handed a triple injury boost with Jose Gimenez, Matheus Cunha and Marcos Llorente, all of whom may be able to feature this week.

Luis Suarez will need no added incentive to get one over his former club this week, while Rodrigo de Paul and Thomas Lemar should both start in the middle if Kondogbia is drafted into the back three.

Liverpool duo Alisson Becker and Fabinho flew straight to Madrid following their late returns from international duty and are primed to replace Caoimhin Kelleher and James Milner in the first XI here.

Diogo Jota and Trent Alexander-Arnold were also both passed fit for the win at Vicarage Road, but Thiago Alcantara, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott remain out.

Jota was named on the bench at Vicarage Road with this game in mind after an injury scare with Portugal, but the attacker will have a hard time displacing Firmino following his hat-trick at the weekend.

Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:

Oblak; Felipe, Kondogbia, Hermoso; Trippier, De Paul, Koke, Lemar, Carrasco; Suarez, Griezmann

Liverpool possible starting lineup:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane

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