Gone are the days of Atletico Madrid’s unmatched defensive discipline, as Liverpool hotshot Mohamed Salah was up to his old tricks at the Wanda Metropolitano to put his side 1-0 up before a Naby Keita stunner in the 13th minute doubled the Reds’ advantage.
A nonstop first half would then see Antoine Griezmann pull his side level with a brace before half time, but after the Frenchman saw red with 52 minutes on the clock, Salah dispatched the game-winning penalty following Mario Hermoso’s clumsy challenge on Diogo Jota.
However, as Salah’s remarkable 10-game goalscoring run came to an end against Brighton, so did Liverpool’s four-game winning streak, as Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane’s goals were cancelled out by Enock Mwepu and Leandro Trossard’s strikes.
While that draw represents an early dent in Liverpool’s title bid, Jurgen Klopp’s side are sitting pretty at the top of Group B in the Champions League and can guarantee progress into the knockout rounds with all three points on Wednesday.
Liverpool may have thrown away two points against Brighton in a frustrating manner, but that result at least marked their 24th consecutive game without defeat in all competitions, and Klopp has now witnessed his side score at least two goals in their last 12 games across all tournaments.
From a dampening defeat to Liverpool, an uninspiring goalless stalemate with Porto and a last-gasp win over AC Milan, Atletico have not exactly dazzled and delighted in the Champions League this term.
Ahead of matchday four, Diego Simeone’s side have collected four points, scored four goals and conceded four in European action this term, and the second-placed Rojiblancos only sit above Iberian counterparts Porto on goal difference.
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The La Liga champions struggled to get over the line throughout much of October but do at least travel to Anfield on the back of a dominant 3-0 La Liga win over Real Betis, with Yannick Carrasco, Joao Felix and German Pezzella’s own goal seeing Atletico to a comfortable success.
Victory over Betis marked the sixth game in a row across all tournaments that Atletico managed to chalk up at least two goals – although their attacking prowess will take a hit with Griezmann now absent for this clash – but the visitors can look back on their previous Anfield encounter with unbridled fondness.
Mere days before the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the footballing landscape, Atletico knocked then-holders Liverpool out of the tournament with a thrilling 3-2 success on Merseyside as Alvaro Morata and Marcos Llorente stole the show on the night.