Don’t let Atletico Madrid’s low possession of 27% fool you – they were better than Liverpool. Even though Los Rojiblancos arguably received great assistance from Polish referee Szymon Marciniak. This was a trademark Atletico and Diego Simeone performance – superb and disciplined defending that frustrated the opponent. Atletico Madrid made Liverpool look bad.
One might think Liverpool are bad for having the aim of Stormtroopers this game. Not managing to get a single shot on target. But instead of bashing Liverpool for a somewhat poor performance, Atletico should be commended for their sublime tactics. More specifically, their defending.
Atletico Madrid Made Liverpool Look Bad
Deserved Luck and Great Defending by Atletico Madrid
Despite this being a deserved win for Atletico, their goal was mostly the result of sheer luck. A monumentally failed clearance by a Liverpool player put the ball in front of Saul Niguez who scored with a simple finish. The goal was lucky. But it was deserved luck. Liverpool responded positively after the goal, though. Seizing control and dominating possession.
However, it was possession that resulted in few chances. Possession that was all part of Simeone’s plan. When you are in the lead, it doesn’t matter if your opponent enjoys a lot of possession. What matters is what they do with that possession. Which, with Simeone’s brilliant tactics, isn’t a lot. Their defending forces Liverpool into half-hearted crosses that never pose any real threat for Atletico.
Liverpool’s Hope is Far From Lost
Jurgen Klopp described Atletico Madrid as the ‘most difficult’ opponent Liverpool could get in the last 16 of the Champions League. So he was undoubtedly prepared. Yet sometimes you lose despite that.
This was just one match of football and Liverpool could no doubt turn the tides at Anfield, like they’ve done so many times before. This loss will not remove Liverpool’s status as the best club in the world. But today was Atletico Madrid’s and Diego Simeone’s day.