UEFA Champions League holders Liverpool face another first-leg deficit against Spanish visitors as Atlético Madrid once again come to Anfield defending a 1-0 lead.
• Atlético’s Saúl Ñíguez scored the only goal of the first leg after four minutes at the Estadio Metropolitano, giving the Spanish side a narrow advantage to take to Anfield. Liverpool will not need to look far for inspiration, however, with their last home UEFA Champions League knockout match ending in a memorable comeback victory against Barcelona (0-3 a, 4-0 h).
• Atlético, however, have their own grounds for optimism having won their only previous knockout tie against Liverpool after a 1-0 home win in the first leg, Los Colchoneros going through after extra time in the semi-finals of their victorious UEFA Europa League campaign ten years ago.
• This contest brings together two sides with formidable recent knockout records in European football. Liverpool have reached the last two UEFA Champions League finals and are unbeaten in two-legged knockout ties under Jürgen Klopp; Atlético were UEFA Champions League runners-up in 2014 and 2016 and won the UEFA Europa League for the third time two seasons ago.
• The first leg was the teams’ first fixture since that 2009/10 UEFA Europa League semi-final, a tie Atlético won on away goals. Diego Forlán got the only goal of the first game, Alberto Aquilani levelling the tie a minute before half-time in Liverpool. With no further goals the match went to extra time, Yossi Benayoun putting Liverpool in front on aggregate in the 95th minute only for Forlán to supply the decisive moment seven minutes later.
• Atlético went on to beat another English club, Fulham, in the final in Hamburg, Forlán getting both goals in a 2-1 win.
• The sides met for the first time in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League group stage with both games ending 1-1, Simão scoring in the 83rd minute at the Vicente Calderón after Robbie Keane had given Liverpool a 14th-minute lead. At Anfield, a Steven Gerrard penalty five minutes into added time earned the home side a point, Maxi Rodríguez having put Atlético in front in the 37th minute.
• Liverpool went on to top Group D with 14 points and Atlético finished as runners-up on 12. Los Rojiblancos were knocked out by Porto on away goals in the last 16, while the Reds lost to Chelsea in the quarter-finals.
• Liverpool won Group E with 13 points, one ahead of Napoli who were 2-0 victors against the holders on Matchday 1. The Reds won their next three matches, at home against Salzburg (4-3) and away (4-1) and home (2-1) against Genk, before being held 1-1 by Napoli at Anfield on Matchday 5. A 2-0 success at Salzburg in their final fixture proved enough to secure progress in first place.
• Last season, Jürgen Klopp’s team beat Bayern München 3-1 away in the second leg of their round of 16 tie, going through by the same aggregate score, before ousting Porto 6-1 over two legs in the quarter-finals (2-0 h, 4-1 a). The journey looked to be over when the Reds went down 3-0 at Barcelona in the semi-final first leg, but two goals apiece from Georginio Wijnaldum and Divock Origi sealed a rousing second-leg turnaround, before Mohamed Salah and Origi secured the club’s sixth European Cup with a 2-0 final defeat of Tottenham at the Estadio Metropolitano in Madrid – Atlético’s home ground.
• Those results mean Liverpool have won their last 11 two-legged European ties, qualifying included. Their last defeat was on penalties in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League round of 32 against Beşiktaş (1-0 home, 0-1 away). They have not lost a two-legged knockout phase tie in the UEFA Champions League since Chelsea beat them 7-5 on aggregate in the 2008/09 quarter-finals.
• The remarkable comeback win against Barcelona in 2018/19 made it four wins out of four against Spanish clubs in two-legged European Cup knockout ties for Liverpool, whose overall aggregate record in knockout ties with Liga sides is W9 L2.
• The first-leg defeat at Atlético means Liverpool have won only two of their last 11 fixtures against Spanish clubs (D2 L7) – a sequence that also includes 3-1 losses under Klopp in the 2016 UEFA Europa League final to Sevilla and the 2018 UEFA Champions League final to Real Madrid.
• The Merseysiders have won only six of their 18 games against Spanish visitors at Anfield (D7 L5), although they have been victorious in four of the last six.
• Liverpool have won nine of their last 13 European fixtures (D2 L2).
• Premier League runners-up in 2018/19, this is Liverpool’s third successive appearance in the round of 16 and eighth overall; their record is W6 L1. The sole defeat came against Benfica as holders in 2005/06.
• Defeat at Atlético ended the Reds’ eight-match unbeaten run in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 (W6 D2); they had kept seven consecutive clean sheets before conceding at Bayern last season. Their previous defeat was a 1-0 loss at home to Barcelona in the 2006/07 second leg; they won that tie on away goals having triumphed 2-1 in Spain.
• Liverpool are unbeaten in 25 European home games (W18 D7), since a 3-0 loss to Real Madrid on 22 October 2014.
• The Reds kept clean sheets in all three home knockout games last season and two of their three in 2017/18.
• Liverpool have already claimed European silverware this term, beating Chelsea 5-4 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in the UEFA Super Cup in Istanbul. They also won the FIFA Club World Cup in December, overcoming Flamengo 1-0 after extra time in the final.
• Liverpool have won 14 of the 28 UEFA competition ties in which they lost the away first leg, including that success against Barcelona last season. They have emerged triumphant from nine of the 12 ties in which they lost the first leg 1-0 away, most recently against Villarreal in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League semi-finals (3-0 h), although all three aggregate defeats the Reds have suffered when losing 1-0 away in the first game have come in the last six such ties, the most recent reverse occurring against Braga in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League round of 16 (0-0 h).
• Liverpool’s record in five UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W4 L1:
4-2 v Roma, 1983/84 European Champion Clubs’ Cup final
3-2 v AC Milan, 2004/05 UEFA Champions League final
4-1 v Chelsea, 2006/07 UEFA Champions League semi-final
4-5 v Beşiktaş, 2014/15 UEFA Europa League round of 32
5-4 v Chelsea, 2019 UEFA Super Cup
• Atlético finished with ten points in this season’s group stage, six behind Juventus. Having fought back from two goals down to draw with Juve on Matchday 1, Atlético then won 2-0 at Lokomotiv Moskva and 1-0 at home to Bayer Leverkusen only to lose 2-1 in Germany and 1-0 at Juve; a 2-0 defeat of Lokomotiv in Madrid on Matchday 6 nevertheless earned second place.
• Second in Spain in 2018/19, this is Atlético’s tenth UEFA Champions League campaign and their eighth appearance in the knockout stages.
• Atleti also finished second in their section in 2018/19 and bowed out in the round of 16 after succumbing to a Juventus fightback (2-0 h, 0-3 a).
• The Spanish side have still won four of their six round of 16 ties, losing only the first – on away goals against Porto in 2008/09 – and the last. Their most recent win was a 4-2 aggregate defeat of Leverkusen in 2016/17 (4-2 a, 0-0 h).
• Last season’s 3-0 second-leg loss at Juventus means Atlético have won only one of their last nine away matches in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds (D2 L6).
• Atlético have lost five of their last 14 European away games, winning four, although four of those defeats have come in their last six matches (W1 D1).
• Despite defeats on Matchdays 4 and 5 this season, Atlético have lost only five of their last 29 matches in continental competition (W18 D6).
• Atlético’s last meetings with an English club came in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League semi-final, when they beat Arsenal 2-1 on aggregate (1-1 a, 1-0 h). They have been victorious in eight of their ten two-legged knockout contests against English teams, including the last four; only Derby County (1974/75 UEFA Cup) and Bolton Wanderers (2007/08 UEFA Cup) have eliminated them. Atlético have won all six previous ties in which they hosted English opposition in the first leg.
• Atlético have won just twice in 13 away games against English clubs, losing four times. The Madrid side have drawn 1-1 on each of their last three visits to England and are unbeaten in the last four.
• The Rojiblancos have reached two UEFA Champions League and three UEFA Europa League finals in the last ten seasons.
• Atlético have won 30 of the 38 UEFA competition ties in which they have prevailed in the home first leg – last season’s defeat by Juventus ended a run of 19 successive aggregate victories after a home win in the first game. When the home first leg has finished 1-0, Atlético’s aggregate record is W8 L3, with victories in the last five such ties, most recently against Leicester in the 2016/17 quarter-finals (1-1 a) and in all three against English opposition.
• Atlético’s record in six UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W2 L4:
6-7 v Derby, 1974/75 UEFA Cup second round
1-3 v Fiorentina, 1989/90 UEFA Cup first round
1-3 v Villarreal, 2004 UEFA Intertoto Cup final
3-2 v Bayer Leverkusen, 2014/15 UEFA Champions League round of 16
8-7 v PSV Eindhoven, 2015/16 UEFA Champions League round of 16
3-5 v Real Madrid, 2015/16 UEFA Champions League final
Links and trivia
• Have played in England:
Kieran Trippier (Manchester City 1999–2011, Barnsley 2010–11 (loan), Burnley 2011–15, Tottenham 2015–19)
Stefan Savić (Manchester City 2011–12)
Álvaro Morata (Chelsea 2017–18)
Diego Costa (Chelsea 2014–17)
• Trippier played 90 minutes as Spurs lost 2-0 to Liverpool in last season’s UEFA Champions League final at Atlético’s Estadio Metropolitano.
• Have played in Spain:
Fabinho (Real Madrid 2012/13)
Adrián (Real Betis 1998–2013, Alcalá 2008 (loan), Utrera 2009 (loan))
• Have played together:
James Milner & Stefan Savić (Manchester City 2011–12)
Fabinho & Thomas Lemar (Monaco 2015–18)
• International team-mates:
Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana & Kieran Trippier (England)
Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino, Fabinho & Renan Lodi (Brazil)
Dejan Lovren & Šime Vrsaljko (Croatia)
Divock Origi & Yannick Carrasco (Belgium)
• UEFA Champions League squad changes
In: Takumi Minamino (Salzburg)
Out: Sepp van den Berg
• James Milner made his 50th appearance in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final, at Atlético.
• Liverpool’s 44-match, 14-month unbeaten run in the Premier League was ended by a 3-0 defeat at Watford on 29 February, a result that also halted their winning league run at a record-equalling 18, level with Manchester City. It was their 28th league game of the season, and only the second they had failed to win, the other a 1-1 draw at Manchester United on 20 October. The Reds have won all but two of their last 38 league matches.
• Defeat at Watford was Liverpool’s first league loss since a 2-1 reverse at eventual champions Manchester City on 3 January 2019.
• It also ended the Reds’ run of scoring in 36 successive league matches, level with Manchester United (36 games, December 2007–November 2008) and fewer only than Arsenal (55 games, May 2001–November 2002).
• On Saturday, the Reds came from a goal down to beat Bournemouth 2-1 at Anfield, Mohamed Salah marking his 100th Premier League appearance for the club with his 70th goal.
• Sadio Mané scored the decisive goal at the weekend, the third time the Senegalese international has got the winner in his last four league appearances.
• Liverpool have now won their last 22 Premier League matches at Anfield, surpassing the overall English top-flight record of 21 successive home wins that they had themselves set between January and December 1972.
• Liverpool had kept ten clean sheets in 11 league fixtures before the 3-2 win at home to West Ham on 24 February; the loss at Watford and win against Bournemouth mean they have conceded six goals in their last three Premier League matches, as many as in the previous 15 combined.
• The Watford game was the first time Liverpool had conceded more than once in consecutive games in the Premier League since December 2016.
• Jürgen Klopp’s side bowed out of the FA Cup with a 2-0 loss at Chelsea in the last 16 on 3 March, the first time they had lost two games in a row since January 2019.
• That made it three successive away defeats for Liverpool for the first time since November 2014 under Brendan Rodgers. It was also the first time they had conceded two or more goals in three successive games since May–August 2016.
• Liverpool have lost three of their last five games in all competitions, as many as in their previous 47 combined.
• Klopp’s team claimed the FIFA Club World Cup for the first time in December, Roberto Firmino scoring an extra-time winner in a 1-0 final defeat of Brazilian side Flamengo on 21 December. Firmino had also scored the decisive goal as Mexican side Monterrey were beaten 2-1 in the semi-final three days earlier.
• Alisson Becker has missed Liverpool’s last two games with a hip problem. Andy Robertson sat out the Bournemouth game with a minor injury.
• Jordan Henderson suffered a hamstring injury in the first leg at Atlético and has not played since.
• Xherdan Shaqiri has been out since 11 January due to a calf injury.
• Naby Keïta missed the losses at Watford and Chelsea with a hip problem; he was an unused substitute against Bournemouth.
• On 7 January, Mané was named CAF African Player of the Year, succeeding Mohamed Salah who won the prize in both 2017 and 2018.
• Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Robertson and Mané were all voted into the UEFA.com Fans’ Team of the Year for 2019.
• Van Dijk was named UEFA Men’s Player of the Year for 2018/19 in Monaco on 29 August; the Dutchman also collected the Defender of the Season award, with Alisson taking the Goalkeeper’s prize.
• UEFA Champions League squad changes
In: Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Professional, loan)
Out: Sergio Camello, Mikel Carro (Castellón, loan), Iván Montoro, Alberto Salido (Arenas Getxo, loan), Óscar Castro
• Álvaro Morata made his 50th appearance in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final, on Matchday 6. Jan Oblak will reach the same mark when he next features.
• Stefan Savić played his 50th game in UEFA club competition in the first leg.
• Atlético are unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions (W3 D3), having not won in the previous five (D2 L3). They drew 2-2 at home to Sevilla on Saturday.
• That result extended Atlético’s winless run before UEFA Champions League matches this season to eight games (D7 L1); they have drawn their last seven Liga games before a European fixture.
• Atlético have drawn 12 of their 27 league games in 2019/20, their highest ever total at this stage of a season.
• Atlético suffered a 2-1 extra-time elimination at third division side Cultural Leonesa in the last 32 of the Copa del Rey on 23 January.
• Thomas Lemar has not played since being substituted at half-time in the first leg against Liverpool due to a thigh problem.
• Héctor Herrera has not played since the goalless draw at home to Leganés on 26 January, although he was an unused substitute on Saturday.
• Diego Costa returned as a substitute in the first leg against Liverpool having been out since hernia surgery on 21 November. He also came on as a substitute in the 1-1 draw at Espanyol on 1 March and against Sevilla.
• José María Giménez, who has not played since the Spanish Super Cup defeat by Real Madrid on 9 January, has been sidelined by thigh and knee problems; he was an unused substitute against Sevilla.
• Kieran Trippier (hip, out since 9 January) and João Félix (muscle, 26 January) made their returns from injury in Atlético’s 3-1 home win against Villarreal on 23 February. Félix was a scorer in both that game and the draw against Sevilla.
Official UEFA Champions League Man of the Match award introduced
UEFA will give out an official Man of the Match award after every UEFA Champions League knockout stage game to recognise the top performers in Europe’s top club competition. UEFA Technical Observers at each UEFA Champions League game from the round of 16 on will decide who deserves the Man of the Match, with an official award being handed to the successful players after full-time in recognition of their roles in decisive moments, tactical maturity, creativity and inspiration, exceptional skill and fair play.