Football

Simeone urges Atletico fans to recreate 2020 buzz

Atleti coach says the Reds had lost even before kick-off when they last visited

GROUP B

ATLETICO MADRID v LIVERPOOL

(Tomorrow, 3am, Singtel TV Ch 110 & StarHub TV Ch 214)

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone urged the Wanda Metropolitano faithful to replicate the atmosphere they created the last time Liverpool came to visit in February 2020, saying it meant his side "were already winning that game before it even kicked off".

The teams meet again in a Champions League Group B tie in Madrid tomorrow morning (Singapore time), with Los Colchoneros winning their last two meetings 1-0 at home and 3-2 away in the round of 16 in 2020.

Said Simeone: "We'll see how (Jose) Gimenez, (Marcos) Llorente and (Matheus) Cunha evolve tomorrow.

"We hope that everyone is in contention and ready for a fantastic game that will be full of red and white shirts in the stadium.

"Let's not forget, the last time we played Liverpool in the Champions League, we were already winning that game before it even kicked off, I would like the fans to remember that tomorrow...

"Liverpool, they are all in a fantastic spell.

"They all have a different rhythm and it's a pleasure to see them play with how they press.

"Liverpool have great mobility and no fear of leaving spaces at the back.

"They have very quick players to go on the break and even with Virgil van Dijk at the back, they have improved their solidity in defence which is very important, even for a team like Liverpool."

His captain Koke agreed, saying: "The last time we played with a full stadium was against Liverpool.

"We need our fans to get us plugged in. We need to take three points to get to the next phase. Liverpool are the team to beat."

The Reds top the group with maximum points after two games while Atletico are second on four points, three ahead of third-placed Porto. AC Milan, who have yet to register a point, round off the group.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp - who criticised Atleti's physically demanding and defensive style after the defeats in 2020 - admitted he was not a fan of the La Liga champions' approach but could not argue with their results on the pitch.

He said: "After the second game, I was angry and disappointed about a lot of things.

"Life, a bit, as well as things going wrong in the world at that moment...

"Simeone is doing everything right, he is the Spanish champion and he has been at Atletico for a long time.

"He keeps them on their toes and they fight for their lives. I couldn't respect it more.

"Do I like it? Not too much. But that's because I like a different style of football. It just has to be successful and that is what Atletico is for sure...

"If we win both games against Atletico, it's likely we go through.

"We lost both games last time though, so let's see."

Atletico attacker Joao Felix said his team will be "prepared" for Liverpool's "dangerous attackers".

He said: "It's a great team, especially in attack, but we are prepared for them...

"Mo(hamed) Salah is dangerous, Sadio Mane is dangerous, (Diogo) Jota is dangerous. Liverpool have many dangerous players."

Football