The knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League begins on Tuesday with a duel between Atletico Madrid and the reigning champions Liverpool. The Reds are slight favorites, but Los Colchoneros are very unpleasant opponents at Wanda Metropolitano in recent years in the UCL knockout phase. Check out our Champions League Preview for this encounter.
Atletico Madrid are out of sorts with just one win from their last seven competitive matches (W1, D2, L4). Goals have been especially hard to come by, with only one of the seven featuring three total goals or more. Atletico found the net just four times (0.57 per-match on average).
Historically hard to score against, Atletico have kept just three clean sheets (if not counting extra-time) in their last ten competitive matches. Somewhat better continentally, they kept a clean sheet in half their group stage matches. Los Colchoneros have conceded just four goals in their previous 12 home matches in all competitions.
Atletico Madrid Team News
Diego Simeone cannot count on Hector Herrera (muscle), Joao Felix (illness), Kieran Trippier (groin), and Dario Poveda (knee). Santiago Arias will start at RB instead of Trippier, while Alvaro Morata and Angel Correa will likely start up front. Diego Costa is also in contention after recovering from a hernia.
- Both of Alvaro Morata’s UCL goals this season have been scored after the 75th minute
- Two of six group stage matches involving Atletico featured at least three goals
- Just five of Atletico’s 15 competitive home matches this season have featured both teams scoring
Liverpool, meanwhile, are defending UEFA Champions League holders and have never looked better. They are on a run of 16 straight wins (excluding domestic cups), impressively keeping a clean sheet in 12 of those 16 matches.
In two straight prior seasons of reaching the UCL final, Liverpool have lost just two of 12 matches overall in the knockout stages. In their Round-of-16 ties therein, they won the away leg and drew the home encounter in both seasons, covering a -1.5 goal handicap in both away matches.
- Mohamed Salah has three goals in his last three competitive matches
- Three of Salah’s four UCL goals have come in the second half, and he netted the last goal in two of six group stage matches
- In Liverpool’s six group stage matches, four goals were scored after the 80th minute
Liverpool Team News
Jurgen Klopp will be without Nathaniel Clyne (knee), Xherdan Shaqiri (calf), and Yasser Larouci (thigh).
These rivals met four times in European competitions before. Each team recorded a win, while two games ended without a winner. Atletico knocked Liverpool out of the Europa League in 2010 when Diego Forlan scored an extra-time goal to send his team to the finals. Atletico later beat Fulham to lift the trophy.
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