3 things Atletico Madrid need to do to beat Liverpool at Anfield tonight | UEFA Champions League 2019-20
- An analysis of what Atlético need to do to beat Liverpool at Anfield tonight in the Champions League.
While the Reds have been known to turn the European knock-out ties in their favour every time they play at the Anfield, the blue and red half of Madrid do not have very good memories of second legs, especially away from home. Last time around, Atlético squandered a 2-0 advantage to go down to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick at the Juventus Stadium against the Italian champions, whereas Liverpool overturned a 3-0 deficit from Camp Nou to win by 4 goals at Anfield against a Barcelona team led by Lionel Messi.
Clearly, the Spanish team are the underdogs in this fixture, but there is a big chance that they have learnt their lessons from second leg disasters in the past and might come well equipped to England tonight.
Also, if there is one team who can actually defend against the might Reds for ninety minutes, it is none other than Diego Simeone's squad - known for their relentless resistance.
There is no doubt that if the visitors can manage to get one away goal tonight, they will turn into the favourites from the underdogs right in between of the game. So, today we take a look at the top 3 things that Atlético need to do to beat Liverpool in today's game and book a well deserved spot in the quarter-final of the Europe's biggest competition.
#3 Target the weaker central defender alongside Virgil van Dijk
This tactic might be key for the Spanish giants as it has proven to be successful off-late having been deployed by Watford in their famous win against Liverpool which ended the latter's run for an unbeaten season.
Dejan Lovren was targeted by the Watford attackers that night as they knew that targeting van Dijk would not reap them as much benefits as it would against his Croatian team-mate. The strategy work perfectly as the Hornets lunged on every opportunity that arose from the mistakes of Lovren and absolutely destroyed the Liverpool team at Vicarage Road two weeks ago.
Today Joe Gomez is tipped to start alongside van Dijk and he can very well be targeted by to make some unforced errors. Atlético has some highly talented players in their attacking set-up like Diego Costa, João Félix, Alvaro Morata and Saúl Ñíguez who can actually make the best of every opportunity that Gomez could hand them.
Also, Diego Costa has experience on the English soil with Chelsea and is also known to have a go with the opposition defenders trying to pressurize them into making mistakes. This could prove worthy for the visiting team tonight.
#2 Offence can turn out to be the best form of defense
There is no doubt that the entire world is expecting Atlético to sit back and defend against Liverpool as they try to hold onto their one goal advantage over their English opposition. But, history has been a witness to the fact that it is not a great strategy against Liverpool, especially at Anfield.
Los Rojiblancos have the much needed fire-power in their attack to create some really great chances and maybe get a goal or two even against a might competition like Liverpool. While Diego Costa has had a great record at Anfield with Chelsea, Alvaro Morata also is perfectly aware of the conditions at Anfield thanks to his stint with the Blues.
João Félix might just be the trump card for Simeone if the Argentine coach decides to unleash him in a free moving role in the attack. Midfielder Saúl Ñíguez also can score some amazing goals away from home, as he has proven in the Champions League knock-out stages in the past.
If Atleti can take the game to Liverpool right from the kick-off and play an open game while sustaining the Liverpool attack while defending, we might just witness the European champions bowing out tonight.
#1 Stop Liverpool's attack from the full-backs and press higher
Majority of the Liverpool's goals from the past two seasons, and the famous rebuilding of the squad under Jürgen Klopp has been surrounded by the coming-of-age of their two amazing full-backs, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson.
Both the wing-backs are unstoppable on their best days and are a force of nature when it comes to creating dangerous situations for the opposition from the wings.
Atlético's Kieran Trippier and Renan Lodi will have to be at their career best to handle Alexander-Arnold and Robertson, but the mantle also falls upon Thomas Partey and Vitolo to stop the attack right in the Liverpool half.
Another important tactic that Diego Simeone can deploy is a high press which Liverpool are often untested against. The Merseyside club did show some signs of discomfort when Watford and Chelsea pressed high in their respective games in the past two weeks.
Overall, it is going to be a test of patience for Atlético Madrid as they will have to be focused right till the end of extra time in the second half or else Liverpool are bound to punish them if distracted for even a few seconds.
Published 11 Mar 2020, 11:00 IST