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The Reds will look to make a fast start in front of their own fans and Atletico will find it difficult to deny them goals on either side of half-time.
Back Liverpool to score in both halves (+148)
With 24 minutes played, Liverpool were in a commanding position. A 2-0 lead over Brighton & Hove Albion made it seem as though Jurgen Klopp’s side were on their way to another three points in the Premier League. But they did not account for a Brighton comeback, and fine strikes from Enock Mwepu and Leandro Trossard meant the visitors to Anfield were back on level terms midway through the second half. There were no more goals and Liverpool were left to rue two dropped points.
Jurgen Klopp said in his post-match press conference that he could not explain his team’s collapse, and it was certainly a disappointing result in a game Liverpool were expected to win. Yet there were still positives to take from the performance, particularly going forward. That is where Liverpool have excelled this season, with a Premier League-high 29 goals in their 10 games to date. Only Bayern Munich can better their return of 11 goals in the first three Champions League matchdays. Liverpool have scored in every half of soccer they have played in Europe’s top competition this term.
That bodes well for the various tests that lie ahead. No trophies are handed out in the fall and Liverpool’s bright start to the season will be forgotten if they end the season empty-handed. But with Mohamed Salah in the form of his life, the Reds are one of the most potent attacking forces on the planet right now. Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane are all contributing too, and even the return of Virgil van Dijk at center-back has aided Liverpool’s forays forward thanks to his excellent switches of play from deep.
Liverpool scored three times in their first meeting with Atletico Madrid. Perhaps a draw would have been a fairer result in the Spanish capital last month, but Klopp’s side will pose even more of a threat on home turf this week.
Indeed, Atletico will have felt a little hard done by in that 3-2 defeat by Liverpool on October 19. They impressively fought back from two goals down and continued to create chances even after Antoine Griezmann was shown a red card shortly after half-time. Salah put the visitors to the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano ahead from the penalty spot in the 78th minute, before the VAR overturned the award of an Atletico spot-kick in the closing stages.
Diego Simeone is approaching his 10th anniversary in charge of Atletico. He has already won two La Liga titles and two Europa Leagues, as well as reaching two Champions League finals. But the squad he has this season contains more talent than any of its predecessors, particularly in midfield and attack. Atletico now have the tools to go toe-to-toe with some of Europe’s best teams.
They are, however, still searching for the right balance between defense and attack. Scoring two goals against each of AC Milan and Liverpool is no mean feat, but Atletico did not keep a clean sheet in either game. Having long had the strongest defense in La Liga, a handful of teams have conceded fewer goals than Simeone’s this term. Atletico are asking more questions of their opponents going forward, but that in turn has made them a little more open at the back.
It will be interesting to see how Atletico approach Wednesday’s encounter. They won at Anfield in a knockout game in March 2020 but were somewhat fortunate on that occasion. Liverpool dominated most of the match but failed to put the tie to bed, and Atletico turned the situation around in extra time. This week’s game will only last for 90 minutes, of course, and the Spanish side do not have a first-leg lead to protect this time.
Simeone would love to get to half-time at 0-0, but Liverpool will start quickly and look to take an early lead. The opening 15 minutes could be the most difficult of the evening for Atletico; the Reds were 2-0 up at that stage in the first game between them, and they also went ahead in the first quarter of their games against AC Milan and Porto.
Anfield on a European night is one of the toughest tests an away team can face, and even Atletico might struggle to weather the storm. Liverpool’s attack is functioning magnificently at present and Simeone’s side will have to be at their very best to keep it quiet. Back the Reds to score in both halves for the fourth Champions League game out of four.
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|Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid Information|
|Teams||Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid|
|Location||Anfield, Liverpool, England|
|Time||Wednesday, 3 November 2021, 16.00 PM EDT|
|How to watch||Paramount+|
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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