3 reasons why Atletico Madrid could eliminate Liverpool in the Round of 16 | UEFA Champions League 2019-20
The UEFA Champions League 2019-20 Round of 16 draw was held at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon on Monday. The fans will have a number of mouth-watering clashes to look forward to, as Manchester City will face Real Madrid, Barcelona will be up against Napoli and Chelsea will look to eliminate Bayern Munich in the Round of 16.
Defending champions Liverpool will face Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid, with the first leg slated to be played at the Wanda Metropolitano on 18th February, and the second leg on 12th March at Anfield. The fixture brings together two teams that have seen success in European competition over the last 3 seasons, with the Reds winning the Champion League last season while Atletico Madrid had been crowned as Europa League champions for the 2017-18 season.
Diego Simeone's emphasis on defending as a team makes this contest one of the trickiest for Jurgen Klopp and his men. The Argentine's tactics are the reason why the Los Rojiblancos successfully qualified for the Round of 16 despite losing players like Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godin in the last year or so.
Keeping that in mind, let's take a look at the 3 reasons why Atletico Madrid will be able to eliminate Liverpool from the UEFA Champions League 2019-20 Round of 16.
3. Liverpool's Premier League focus and fixture congestion
Liverpool currently sit at the top of the Premier league table with a 10 points lead over second-placed Leicester City. Having lost the league by a point last season, there is a common consensus among the Reds' supporters that being crowned as the champions of England is the priority this season.
Despite the fans' expectations, Jurgen Klopp is known for balancing his efforts in the Champions League and the Premier League. While this is true, the European champions' injury list and upcoming fixtures might force the German to choose between the two competitions. On the other hand, Diego Simeone has ample time for scheming plans and be sure that the players are fresh going into the first leg.
The Reds are currently going through the full force of festive period fixtures which includes matches in Club World Cup, League cup and Premier League fixtures. The first leg in the Round of 16 will be played in February 2020. Liverpool would've already played Tottenham, Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wolves in a month by that time along with other Premier League fixtures against relatively small sides.
Dejan Lovren, Fabinho, Gini Wijnaldum and Joel Matip are all out with injuries and the chances of players getting injured will only increase going into the new year if the number of fixtures are taken into consideration.
In comparison to Liverpool's 11 fixtures, Atletico Madrid will only play 8 fixtures up to the first leg. In addition to that, there are chances that some of Los Rojiblancos' La Liga fixtures getting postponed due to the Champions League and that might give an advantage to the Spanish side.