Saturday, December 4, 2021

Liverpool 2-0 Atletico Madrid: Reds through to knockout stages as group winners

SoccerNews in English Premier League 3 Nov 2021

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Liverpool claimed their place in the Champions League knockout stages as Group B winners with two games to spare by beating 10-man Atletico Madrid 2-0.

Goals from Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane eased the Reds past Atleti, who lost Felipe to a first-half red card, continuing to make light work of a draw that had initially been described as tough.

Diego Simeone’s men are now left in a battle with Porto and Milan to qualify in second place.

Liverpool made a great start to proceedings when Trent Alexander-Arnold cracked open a five-man defence with a perfect cross from deep on the right that took one bounce before being nodded in by Jota after just 13 minutes.

And the defender repeated the trick soon after, finding Mane for a sidefooted finish to a move he had initiated with a brilliant drive through midfield.

As had been the case in the sides’ meeting in Madrid, going two goals down seemed to wake Atleti up, but their hopes of overturning that deficit in similar fashion were dealt a serious blow past the half-hour mark.

Felipe looked all set to receive a booking for cynically bringing down the breaking Mane after a corner but instead earned himself a straight red by refusing to walk to the referee to receive it.

Liverpool made their numerical advantage tell during a bright start to the second half that saw a Jota goal ruled out for a tight offside before he and Mohamed Salah both wasted presentable opportunities.

It appeared the hosts could be left to rue those misses when the returning Luis Suarez smashed a deflected effort home just before the hour, only for VAR to spot Jose Giminez had taken up an offside position before knocking the ball down to his fellow Uruguayan.

And they were given another let-off with 15 minutes remaining as Hector Herrera drove badly wide after a counter started by some loose play from Thiago Alcantara.

However, there were no more scares for Liverpool – the loss of substitute Roberto Firmino to injury aside – as they saw out the remainder of an impressive win over the LaLiga champions.

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