Atletico take charge in Spain

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An early goal from Saúl on Tuesday night was enough to ensure that Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side will have to come from behind in the second leg of their round-of-16 tie against Atletico Madrid.

Diego Simeone’s side took the lead early on in the fourth minute at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium as a Koke corner deflected off the foot of Fabinho and into the direction of Saúl who tucked the ball into the net.

Liverpool failed to register a single shot on target during the match against a resilient Atletico Madrid.

From the outset the Spanish side performed a tactical masterclass and managed to keep Liverpool at bay through high-tense and narrow positioning.

Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk said: “It didn’t help that we conceded early from their first chance

“The message at halftime was to keep playing. We had the ball most of the game but unfortunately could not create massive opportunities. We still have another 90 minutes to set it right.”

Efforts including a diving header from Egyptian Mohamed Salah in the 53rd minute and a volley from captain Jordan Henderson in the 73rd minute were as near as Liverpool would get to threatening Atletico and help get The Reds back into the game.

Liverpool maintained the majority of possession throughout the match but were unable to break down Simeone’s side and bring their fine domestic league form with them into the Champions League knockout stage.

Klopp said: “It was not exactly what should happen, but it happened. It was the fight we expected and the atmosphere we expected but I love so many parts of our game. It is only 1-0 down at halftime and the second half we play at our stadium.

“We lacked in the final third. They defended with all they had – their defencing in the box was incredible. When you are 1-0 down to a team like this who only want this kind of result, 0-0 would have been good for them.

Late on in the game, Klopp received a yellow card from the referee highlighting both a frustrating night for the German and his Liverpool side who will have to come from behind if they wish to continue their journey to retain the Champions League in the second leg on March 11.

Klopp said: “It’s not just a second half. It’s a second half in our stadium which is different.

“Our people will be ready. I know that. Welcome to Anfield, it is not over yet.”

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