Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Prediction: Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid

Verdict: Atletico Madrid to score anytime

Best Odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: Bet365

Needing another European turnaround at Anfield if they’re to book their spot in the quarter-final of this year’s Champions League, Liverpool will host Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night.

Liverpool

Starting with the hosts, while they may not have been at their best once again over the weekend, Liverpool did manage to come from behind to grab a 2-1 win over Bournemouth and are now potentially days from lifting their first Premier League title. However, including in their 1-0 defeat out in the Spanish capital a fortnight ago, Jurgen Klopp’s side have lost three of their last five matches across all competitions and are enduring their most testing period of the season so far. Although the former Borussia Dortmund boss may have been glad to see both Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah find the net against the Cherries over the weekend, the defending European champions have continued to show some worrying issues at the back. Shipping at least a pair of goals in consecutive matches against West Ham, Watford, and Chelsea over the past two weeks, Liverpool have also managed to record just a sole Champions League clean sheet in any of their last seven appearances.

Team News

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is fit to return for their Champions League last 16 second leg with Atletico Madrid at Anfield.

However, the Reds have confirmed that goalkeeper Alisson is out with a hip injury for the defending champions.

Atletico Madrid

As for the visitors, while Atletico Madrid might have managed to pick up a 1-0 win against Liverpool at the Wanda Metropolitano a fortnight ago and extend their unbeaten run to six matches on the bounce, the Spanish outfit have struggled to make much of a statement this year. Playing out back-to-back stalemates against Sevilla and rock-bottom Espanyol since opening March, Diego Simeone’s men find themselves sat down in fifth in the La Liga standings and have a growing reputation for their issues on the road. Remarkably, along with crashing out of the Copa del Rey thanks to an embarrassing 2-1 defeat against lower league Cultural Leonesa, Los Colchoneros have now failed to win any of their last six away fixtures across all formats, a run that stems back to the 9th of January. With the pressure on Simeone the highest it has been during his tenure in the capital, it should also be noted that Atletico have been hit with back-to-back Champions League defeats on foreign soil and have recorded just a sole European away victory since September 2018.

Team News

After missing the first leg, attacking starlet Joao Felix is likely to return to Simeone’s starting XI in midweek with it appearing that former Chelsea misfit Alvaro Morata will face a late fitness test.

There also remain doubts over full-back Kieran Trippier who appeared to pick up a minor knock in their 2-2 draw with Sevilla.

Key Factors to Consider

  • When the two sides faced off in the first-leg a fortnight ago, Atletico Madrid picked up a 1-0 win at the Wanda Metropolitano.
  • Despite losing three of their last five contests, Liverpool have won their previous 11 consecutive matches at Anfield across all competitions.
  • Atletico Madrid have failed to win any of their last six away fixtures across all competitions.
  • The Premier League outfit have failed to record a clean sheet in their last five appearances.
  • Along with back-to-back Champions League defeats on the road, Atletico have landed just a single European victory on foreign soil since September 2018.

Conclusion

While Liverpool might have managed to pick up a 2-1 win over Bournemouth on Saturday lunchtime, Jurgen Klopp will know that his side must make some vast improvements if they’re to pull off another European comeback at Anfield. Still showing some worrying issues at the back and failing to record a clean sheet in their last five matches on the bounce, a struggling Atletico should be looking to cause an upset in midweek. While Wednesday’s guests might be in the midst of a woeful run of form while outside of the Spanish capital, we’re backing Los Colchoneros to breach Liverpool’s defence at some point in what could be a lively contest at Anfield.

Verdict: Atletico Madrid to score anytime

Best Odds: 8/11

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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