Koke: Reds' recent losses have no bearing on return leg with Atletico, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Koke: Reds' recent losses have no bearing on return leg with Atletico

Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke has brushed off talk that Liverpool's recent poor run of form would give the Spanish side an advantage, ahead of their Champions League clash at Anfield this Thursday morning (Singapore time).

Atletico lead 1-0 from the last 16, first-leg meeting at the Wanda Metropolitano, but captain Koke added that they are keen to avoid a repeat of last season's heartbreak at the same stage.

Last year, Diego Simeone's men were dumped out by Juventus, after they were stunned by a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick despite heading to Turin with a 2-0 first-leg lead.

"We go to Liverpool with confidence, as there is a place in the last eight at stake," Koke, 28, told Marca after Atletico's 2-2 La Liga draw with Sevilla on Saturday.

"They are a great team and it will be very difficult. We have to learn lessons from the defeat in Turin last year, as it will take a great effort to go through.

"Liverpool are going to be champions in England and, of course, I would like Atletico to be at that level."


On Liverpool's run of three defeats in four games, before returning to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday, Koke added: "Yes, they have lost games, but that has no influence on the Champions League."

Atletico remain a point adrift of fourth-placed Getafe in La Liga, after they were held to an entertaining home draw with third-placed Sevilla.

The visitors went ahead in the 19th minute through Dutch striker Luuk de Jong, but Atletico levelled with a penalty from Alvaro Morata in the 32nd after a VAR review determined that Sevilla's Diego Carlos had handled the ball.

Atletico took the lead four minutes later with a heavily deflected shot from Joao Felix, only for Sevilla's Lucas Ocampos to level from the spot right before half-time after another VAR review decided he had been fouled by Kieran Trippier.

"We made a real effort to try and win the game," Koke said.

"We had more chances, but we need to take them if we want to get into the Champions League places."