Liverpool 0-1 Atletico Madrid: Liverpool Player Ratings
It was a night to forget as a resilient Atletico Madrid side defeated reigning European champions Liverpool 1-0, courtesy of an early Saul Niguez goal.
Diego Simeone’s side showcased their defensive acumen by restricting the Reds to half chances and shots from far. Atletico is now just the third team this season to keep a clean sheet against Liverpool.
Alvaro Morata had two chances to increase his side’s lead but Alisson saved one and Morata slipped when attempting the other one.
At the other end, Mohamed Salah had a shot deflected over and headed wide from a Joe Gomez cross. The Reds dominated possession but were unable to use it effectively. Jordan Henderson also went close late on before being withdrawn due to injury. Atletico will now take this slender lead to Anfield on March 11 for the second leg.
A similar situation had occurred in 2010 where Liverpool went on to win the second leg 2-1 but lose the tie on away goals. The Reds will hope that history doesn’t repeat itself as Liverpool aim to defend the title they won last season at the home of their opponents.
Liverpool Player Ratings
Alisson Becker (7/10)
The Brazilian was the busier of the two keepers. Could do nothing early on as Niguez pounced with a striker’s acumen to score. Did well to prevent Morata from doubling Atletico’s lead and was always available as a sweeper to pass the ball around.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (5/10)
A tough outing for the youngster whose delivery was wayward. Didn’t pepper the penalty area with his dangerous crosses and mishit a number of them. Grew into the game as it went on but could not really create anything of note. He also lacked precision on set-pieces in a largely frustrating display.
Joe Gomez (7/10)
Possibly Liverpool’s best player on the night. He handled anything Atletico threw at him and brought the ball out of the defence well. Put in a pinpoint cross for Salah, only for the Eqyptian to head it wide.
Virgil van Dijk (6/10)
Did not start with his usual dominance and looked shaky at times. Grew into the game as the time went on but couldn’t really stamp his authority on the game. Not a bad performance by the Dutchman but nowhere near the quality he has shown on a consistent basis.
Andrew Robertson (6.5/10)
Showed drive and bombed forward with intent. With Alexander-Arnold having an off day, the onus to attack was on him. Stepped up to the challenge and gave it a good go, however, he lacked the final ball to make a difference. Made a noteworthy clearance in the first half with the score still at 1-0.
Jordan Henderson (5.5/10)
Not the best performance from the skipper. He started off as the furthest of the midfield three and tried his best to get the Reds back into the game. He went close with an effort late on and was forced off with an injury. Liverpool will hope that the midfielder is fine and will return soon to action.
Looked rusty at times and was uncharacteristically wayward in his passing. Was at odds with the referee with the official consistently flagging the Brazilian’s challenges.
Georginio Wijnaldum (5.5/10)
Did a decent job of retaining the ball and moving it around a packed midfield. Played a key role as Liverpool dominated possession and also stepped in to cover for Fabinho when the Brazilian pushed up.
Sadio Mane (5/10)
His first start after his return from injury. The Senegalese star was energetic and was targeted by the Atletico players following his yellow card as they attempted to get him sent off. Subbed off for Divock Origi at halftime as Klopp sought to protect the player.
Roberto Firmino (6/10)
Did well to win the ball and linked up well with Salah. Played a key role in Salah’s goal that was eventually ruled out for offside. Tried his best throughout and kept running till the end.
Mohamed Salah (6.5/10)
The liveliest of the Liverpool front three. He came close to restoring parity on a number of occasions. His shot in the first half looked to be heading to the top corner only for it to be deflected out for a corner. He had an excellent chance to head home from Joe Gomez’s pinpoint cross. Unfortunately for Liverpool, he couldn’t connect well and headed it wide. Was surprisingly taken off for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with 15 minutes to go.
Divock Origi (6/10)
Came on for Mane at half time. He showed good ball control and kept the ball surprisingly well in some crowded areas. He also set up Henderson for a snapshot that went just wide.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (5/10)
A surprise substitute in place of Salah. You cannot fault his desire, unfortunately, he was unable to transform it into anything tangible on the pitch.
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James Milner (N/A)
Came on late for the injured Jordan Henderson. Was not able to affect the game much.