Champions League Round Of 16 Possible Outcomes: Liverpool Vs Atletico Madrid
POSSIBLE OUTCOMES: LIVERPOOL VS ATLETICO MADRID
Diego Simeone and his men literally sent shock to the spines of football fans around the world after Atletico Madrid not only beat Liverpool in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash but totally outclassed the defending champions.
In the tie at the Wanda Metropolitano, Simeone went with a tactically defensive setup to counter Liverpool’s offensive style, reducing their approach to “cross and pray”, the reds had the most of the possession but didn’t have a single shot on target and ended up losing the tie 1-0, going into the second leg of the tie without an away goal.
With the second leg coming up on Wednesday at the dreaded Anfield stadium in Merseyside, Liverpool will need nothing but a win to progress, and not just a win but a special kind of win. A 1-0 win will take the game to extra time and possible penalties, aside that, any other 1-goal win means the English side will crash out on the basis of away goal rule.
Any other win from a 2-goal margin upwards will result in Liverpool qualifying. In summary, if Atletico Madrid score at Anfield, Liverpool will have to win the game by at least a two-goal margin to progress. No one can doubt Klopp’s men as it’s highly possible for a team that beat Barça 4-0 in the stadium to pull such.. but will they??
This article begins a series that will outline factors that will favour specific results possible. We will discuss about reasons why Liverpool can progress over Atleti and also why Atletico can overcome the super pressure of Anfield. Let’s move!
WHY LIVERPOOL CAN QUALIFY OVER ATLETICO MADRID
1. THE ANFIELD FACTOR
Everybody who knows Liverpool will not deny the fact that Anfield is a fortress for the reds. Home advantage goes to a whole new level at Anfield as the fans give their players a special kind of spur.
The fans at Anfield don’t ever go silent or get tired, they roar from before kickoff until after the final whistle, sending tremors throughout the stadium and this can make the visiting teams shake just like Barcelona last year, leading to easy passes being misplaced, terrible decisions whilst also keeping the Liverpool players going.
Liverpool players believe that they can beat any team comprehensively at Anfield and that conviction is a good step if they’re to gain anything from the tie.
2. CHANGE IN TACTICAL APPROACH
In Madrid, Atleti came with a clear tactic: let’s defend after the goal. Fortunately, they got an early goal and parked the bus.
This limited Liverpool’s tactics to crossing as they lack a central dribbler to penetrate Atleti’s lines and their fullbacks aren’t very good in that aspect also.. so they end up sending in 31 crosses into the box, which didn’t work.
This approach will change in England as it’s very likely for only Liverpool to play throughout the game, they understand their stadium also and he advantage will loosen the bolts a bit to the Atleti defense. So they’ll definitely have more chances, it’s down to them to convert the big ones.
Barça beat Liverpool 3-0 at the Camp Nou last season, and Liverpool beat them 4-0 in the return fixture. Still talking about last season, Atletico Madrid beat Juventus 2-0 in Madrid but lost 3-0 in Turin.
This is enough to give Liverpool players and managers the belief that they can pull this off and that’s the first step to achieving their aim.
WHY ATLETICO MADRID WILL QUALIFY OVER LIVERPOOL
One thing Barcelona lacked in last season’s fixture at Anfield was discipline, that was why that “corner taken quickly” happened. The players still had the loss vs Roma in their minds and crumbled mentally.
This is unlikely to happen with Atletico Madrid as they have a manager that doesn’t take nonsense and imposes his ideas strictly and critically on his players. This means the tactics will be clearly outlined and carried out as efficiently as possible, making things difficult for the reds.
2. THE AWAY-GOAL RULE
Like said earlier, a goal from Atletico Madrid means Liverpool will need to win by at least two goals. It is very unlikely to think that Atleti will not score, they’ll have chances of their own and might take one or two.
Then Liverpool will have to score at least three goals, against a massively defensive side. Scoring three against a tactically sound Atleti team is not very feasible but then, anything is possible.
3. SQUAD FACTOR
Liverpool will be without Alisson Becker for the tie, meaning they’ll have to trust second choice Adrian to stay in goal. He’s not a bad goalie, but then the importance of Alisson cannot be overemphasized.
Alisson was the reason Liverpool didn’t concede vs Barça last year, he was arguably the most important player in the squad that won the Champions League last year.. his shot-stopping ability coupled with his superb ability to play from the back with his feet will be greatly missed.
Also, Liverpool lack that central talisman that can totally shred Atleti’s defense with regards to aerial balls. That was what Juventus used in humbling the Spanish side last season and Liverpool will definitely send in some hopeful crosses which will most likely be easily cleared by the Atleti defenders. They’ll need a little bit of luck though.
When it comes to form, both Liverpool and Atletico Madrid are not at their best so it’s sort of a 50-50 in that aspect. We will see how things play at Anfield on Wednesday.
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