Liverpool 2-3 Atletico Madrid (2-4 agg): 3 Talking Points as Rojiblancos record stunning smash and grab victory at Anfield | UEFA Champions League 2019-20
- Talking points from a stunning encounter at Anfield, as Atletico Madrid downed Liverpool 3-2 to secure qualification to quarterfinals
Liverpool hosted Atletico Madrid in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie at Anfield, as they aimed to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the Wanda Metropolitano last month. In what was an exhilarating encounter that was settled in extra time, Diego Simeone's men rallied back from two goals behind to produce a stunning 3-2 victory at Anfield, as they scored 3 goals in borrowed time to seal qualification to the quarterfinals.
The reigning European champions were beaten on their own turf despite a spirited showing, as Atleti capitalized on every opportunity that was presented to them to record a memorable victory. With Alisson Becker missing with a hip injury, Adrian San Miguel donned the gloves for the Reds and his catastrophic error triggered the comeback for the visitors, who were 2-0 behind at the time owing to goals from Gini Wijnaldum and Roberto Firmino.
The La Liga outfit snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, as substitutes Marcos Llorente and Alvaro Morata all scored goals in extra time to produce a famous comeback victory.
Liverpool dominated proceeding from the opening exchanges and took a deserved lead in the first half, as Wijnaldum got on the end of the pinpoint cross from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right flank to break the deadlock. The Dutch international, who has a history of popping up with crucial goals in the competition, was at it once again, as his header found the back of the net past the despairing dive of Jan Oblak.
The Slovenian international was tested several times throughout the game and he made a string of top-class saves to keep Atleti in the tie before the Reds struck a telling blow in extra time. Roberto Firmino, who hadn't scored at Anfield since April 2019, put the reigning European ahead with a close-range finish.
Llorente, who came on as a late substitute, scored the goal that turned the tables shortly afterwards, as Adrian was made to pay for his horrible pass from inside his area. The former Real Madrid midfielder added another from outside the box to seemingly seal the tie for his side.
As Jurgen Klopp's men attempted to force the occasion on the other end, Morata added gloss to the result with another goal in the dying moments of the game. As Liverpool were eliminated from the competition in a whirlwind 30-minute spell, here are 3 talking points from a topsy turvy encounter at Anfield.
#3 The ghosts of Kyiv haunt Liverpool once again
Liverpool looked all set to continue their defence of the European Cup, as Roberto Firmino's extra-time strike put them in pole position to secure qualification. However, Adrian's costly error not only triggered an unlikely comeback but also ensured that the Reds were made to revisit old wounds, as there were striking parallels between the Spaniard's capitulation on the night and Loris Karius' horror show in the 2018 Champions League final against Real Madrid.
While Karius committed two high profile errors at Kyiv two years ago, Adrian first gave away the ball cheaply and was beaten seconds later rather easily, as Liverpool missed Alisson Becker's presence between the sticks. With the Brazilian, who is widely regarded as one of the best in the business in goal, it could be argued that the Reds could have seen off Atleti's threat, as they were made to pay on the night in devastating fashion.
Such ties are often decided by the finest of margins, and while Adrian's errors came back to haunt Liverpool, Jan Oblak was the saviour on the night for Los Rojiblancos, as he produced several high profile saves and enhanced his status as one of the best shot-stoppers around.
The gulf of class between the two goalkeepers was brought to the forefront and Liverpool were reminded of their ghosts from the past, as they were eliminated from the competition under excruciating circumstances.