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ATHLETICO MADRID 18-02-20 CL RD OF 16 (A)

Back to European football this week and a difficult away game for the Reds at the scene of our recent European trimph.  Over recent seasons Athletico were the one team I was hoping we would avoid in the draw.  Playing aganst one of the glamour teams is always an exciting proposition even if you lose but Athletico have been the strongest of the non-glamour teams.  In particular they have had a really strong defence and enough in attack to cause anyone problems.  Besides that Simeone always has them fired up aginst the best teams and exploits their underdog status.  They will certainly be fired up against the Reds but they have had a huge turnover of players in the last year or so and their team is very different from the one that was so formidable only recently.  They still don't concede a lot of goals but their defence is not as watertight as before and they have struggled to score goals. On top of that they have had a lot of injuries to attacking players though they are now starting to return.

The main aim of any team going into the away leg of a European knockout tie is to come away with everything to be decided in the home leg.  A win would be great but a score draw is also useful or indeed any draw.  My team would be :

Alisson

Trent Gomez VVD Robertson

Henderson Fabinho Wijnaldum

Salah Firmino Mane

Wijnaldum did not have a good game against Norwich but i would include him for his experience.  I am anticipating a close game, possibly a draw, with us going through by beating them at Anfield.  With the PL almost won I am feeling greedy for a second trophy (sorry fourth) and either the FA Cup of the CL would round off the seson very nicely.

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  • Henderson is out for three weeks due to hamstring injury for which is a bummer
  • I think we may be in for a more difficult time at Anfield, they don't have to score and we know how they defend, it'll be park the bus, car, truck, whatever they can park and they do it very very well.
    We're still in this tie of course but like you guys i could see the 2nd goal coming but thankfully it never came. I can see a similar game at home, most of the pocession but they'll have a damm in front of their goal and god only knows how you get through that.
  • To be honest, I was just praying we'd get away with a 1-0 because we didn't really look like scoring. We had the possession but we created too few chances. The problem with Atletico is once they get a lead they make they're two banks of four incredibly difficult to play through and that's exactly what they did. Ironically, I think the winter break did more harm than good in terms of rhythm, the last two matches we've looked a bit out of form. The one good thing is that at 1-0 down I still fancy us to win at Anfield so we aren't out of this tie yet and with the return match being in March we might have enough time to get some momentum going.
    • I was also worried they would get a second on the break which would have made them clear favourites to go through. As it is I think it is 50:50. I think our players left the field angry with Athletico's dark arts and with their own performance, so hopefully they can channel that anger into their second leg performance. We need to put that game behind us now. We have 4 games before the second leg (3 in the PL) and a chance to have the PL almost wrapped up. Shame about Henderson's injury but at least Mane was only subbed to save him from a potential red card and suspension from the second leg.
  • That team is spot on. Give that man a Bells. Joking aside Klopp hasn’t pulled a surprise here for a change.
  • We're really spoiled in midfield now so no matter who starts there i'm easy with that. I think Hendo is a cert but the other two spots are up for grabs i feel.
    I honestly don't fear anyone, i think no matter who we play it is us that now has that fear factor, they'll be dreading our arrival, we'll at least get a draw away and finish them off at home.
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