The most anticipated clash on the fourth matchday of the UEFA Champions League will see Liverpool host Atletico Madrid at Anfield. The Reds won 3-2 in a high voltage encounter when the two European powerhouses met earlier in the reverse fixture.
Jurgen Klopp's men have been excellent so far this season. Liverpool are unbeaten in the Premier League, sitting in second spot just behind leaders Chelsea. They have enjoyed a perfect start in Europe as well, with three wins from three Champions League matches.
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid are far from their best despite showing signs of promise. The La Liga giants are fourth in the league table and remain in second place in Group B of the Champions League. After a win against Milan, Diego Simeone's team were held by Porto and were defeated by Liverpool.
With Porto breathing down their necks, Atletico's encounter with Liverpool has become a must-win fixture for Diego Simeone. The Reds would also like to continue their momentum at Anfield.
Given all of this, let's look at what this game potentially holds for both teams.
CL 2021-22: Liverpool vs. Atletico Madrid predictions
#5 Liverpool will fail to dominate midfield battle due to key absentees
Jurgen Klopp has voiced his concerns regarding the fitness of key midfielders. Players like Naby Keita, James Milner and Harvey Elliott are set to miss the match due to their injuries. Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara are also doubtful although they have progressed with their return from injury.
Due to injury concerns, Liverpool will face an uphill battle in midfield against Atletico Madrid. The Reds have capable players like Jordan Henderson and Curtis Jones but will still miss creative quality in the middle.
Diego Simeone would like to take full advantage of a depleted Liverpool midfield. The likes of Yannick Carrasco, Angel Correa, Koke and Rodrigo De Paul are well suited to dominate midfield, giving them the upper hand against Liverpool.
#4 Atletico Madrid to keep it tight at the back
Atletico Madrid are famous for being defensively organized at the back. Diego Simeone's tactics have always ensured a tight defense and it was again evident this campaign in the Champions League.
Barring the reverse fixture against Liverpool, Atletico have conceded only one goal from their two matches. The Reds were clinical against the La Liga giants, scoring three times to win the match.
With the return of Stefan Savic after a long suspension, Atletico's defense will surely be strengthened. It is highly likely that Diego Simeone will stick to his defensive approach and try to hit Liverpool through counter-attacks.
#3 Mo Salah to outshine Luis Suarez
Liverpool talisman Mo Salah is enjoying a dream run and has been the best player of the current season so far. With 15 goals and six assists in all competitions, the Egyptian forward has simply been unstoppable on the pitch.
Salah has been a thorn in the path of opponents with his marauding runs on the right and superb efficiency in the final third. The 29-year old also decided the reverse fixture by scoring two goals to help Liverpool win against Atletico Madrid.
Luis Suarez, on the other hand, remains a deadly striker but has lacked consistency since the start of the season. The Uruguayan sharpshooter has scored seven goals in all competitions but only one of his goals has come in the Champions League.
Atletico's defense will surely be a tough nut to crack for Salah but he has dislodged them before with his skills. Our guess is that he will outshine his rivals once again against familiar foes.
#2 Atletico Madrid to miss Antoine Griezmann's services in attack
After enduring a poor spell at Barcelona, Antoine Griezmann decided to return back to his former club. But the Frenchman has endured a difficult campaign, often looking subdued on the pitch. It goes without saying he is not back to his very best.
Griezmann has only scored four goals and provided one assist so far this campaign. Despite his poor showing, the 30-year old has been brilliant in the Champions League. The forward has scored three goals in three matches - two of his goals coming against Liverpool in the reverse fixture.
Griezmann will miss the match due to suspension after his poor challenge got him a red card against Liverpool. His absence will be a huge blow for Diego Simeone's side who are in dire need of victory.
#1 Liverpool and Atletico Madrid to fight out a cagey draw
There is no doubt that there is not much difference between the two sides on paper. Both Liverpool and Atletico Madrid are capable of beating any team on the planet on their day. Due to the presence of game changers on both sides, the tie can go either way.
On current form, Liverpool do have an edge over the Spanish giants. Atletico Madrid, on the other hand, are known for responding well under pressure and they will give their best to get maximum points from Anfield.
Our guess is that it will be a closely contested fight with both teams unable to grind out a victory and secure all three points.