In a tense Champions League match, Liverpool defeated Atlético Madrid. Within the first 15 minutes, Diogo Jota put the hosts ahead against the defending Spanish league winners, heading home a lovely cross from England star Trent Alexander-Arnold.
And, with Liverpool looking the far superior team, Sadio Mane increased the Reds’ advantage less than 10 minutes later, tapping home from close range from another Alexander-Arnold cross.
Atlético’s night got much worse as Felipe was sent off late in the first half. Liverpool continued to apply pressure despite having a man advantage for more than 50 minutes, wasting multiple chances to expand its lead.
With two games remaining in the group stage, Liverpool advances to the knockout rounds of the Champions League, while Atlético sits third with four points, one behind Porto. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp described the performance as “almost flawless” after the game.
People want to see more objectives, but we have created more opportunities. I believe the game was practically flawless “He said this to BT Sport. “We got the goals at the appropriate time. They started considerably more aggressively than we did at home, but we got off to a good start. They were all amazing finishes, especially Sadio’s. You don’t enjoy it when you get a red card, and you don’t want to play against 10 men.
He went on: “You put forth a lot of effort to win Champions League games! The initial goal was to make it through this group. But we did it with two games remaining. What are our options? We’ll have to wait and see. I didn’t think we’d get through after four games, but the players pulled it off, and it’s well deserved.”
But Diego Simeone’s men couldn’t have begun any worse, allowing a clumsy first goal within the first few minutes of the game. Jota, of Portugal, was the recipient of a superb Alexander-Arnold cross, heading past the despairing Jan Oblak in goal.
The goal stunned Atletico Madrid, who is known for its defensive fortitude, but there was more worse to come for the Spanish club. In the 21st minute, Mane tapped home from close range once more to startle Simeone on the bench. Although Atlético played its greatest run of attacking play after falling down by two goals, it was brief.
After fouling on the edge of the Liverpool box to stop a rapid break, Brazilian defender Felipe refused to come and receive his yellow card, prompting referee Danny Makkelie to show Felipe the red instead.
As the first half came to a close, Liverpool challenged Oblak a couple more times, giving Simeone much to think about during the halfway break. It only took a few minutes for Liverpool to get the ball back in the Atlético net, only for Jota’s cool finish to be ruled out for offside by the visual assistance referee (VAR).
And the hosts proceeded to waste great chances, with Salah, Joel Matip, and Jota all coming within a hair of putting Liverpool three up.
But, against the odds, Luis Suarez – returning to the pitch where he enjoyed so much success as a Liverpool player – looked to have given Atlético a lifeline, his deflected shot fooling Alisson in goal.