Liverpool will be keen to overturn Atletico Madrid's one-goal advantage when the two sides face off in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 at Anfield on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.
Jurgen Klopp's men managed to comeback after a difficult fortnight in which they suffered three defeats, including a 1-0 loss at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano in the first leg against Atletico Madrid to begin with. The 2-1 home win over AFC Bournemouth on Saturday was Liverpool's 22nd consecutive Premier League victory at Anfield, breaking the English top-flight record set by Bill Shankly's team in 1972.
Los Rojiblancos warmed up for Wednesday's crunch Champions League decider with Liverpool by throwing away a 2-1 lead to draw 2-2 against top-four rivals Sevilla. Atletico Madrid remain out of the top four in the Spanish La Liga, for now, though Diego Simeone's men sit only a point behind fourth-placed Getafe.
Liverpool Betting Preview
The Reds are set for an eventful week as they first take on Atletico Madrid in the decisive second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday before travelling to Goodison Park to face rivals Everton in the Merseyside derby on Monday, March 16.
Under certain circumstances, Liverpool could be Premier League champions by the time they play Everton on Monday, but the focus at Melwood is wholly on what's coming up next in the Champions League, as the six-time European champions are passionate about defending their title.
Unbeaten in 55 Premier League home matches (45 wins, 10 draws), Liverpool show how powerful they are at Anfield. However, their latest results, especially the 3-0 defeat at Watford, also show signs of vulnerability and Jurgen Klopp's men must improve their defending.
The Reds have conceded in each of their last five matches in all competitions, whereas, for comparison, they have conceded in just two of the previous 13 games. They cannot afford to concede a goal here, unless they don't find a way to answer with at least three unanswered goals.
Mohamed Salah, some called him a one-season wonder, is the first Liverpool player to score 20 or more goals in all competitions in three successive seasons since Michael Owen in 2000-01, 2001-2002 and 2002-03.
Moreover, the Egyptian forward has netted 70 goals in 100 Premier League games for Liverpool, seven more than any other player in their first 100 for the Merseyside club (Fernando Torres 63). Only Alan Shearer with Blackburn (79) has scored more goals in his first 100 Premier League appearances for a club in the competition's history.
Andy Robertson and Jordan Henderson have returned to training and even though they will require further assessment, it would be quite a surprise if they didn't both start here.
Jurgen Klopp will hope to have captain Jordan Henderson fit enough to start, while goalkeeper Alisson will most likely miss out the clash, so Adrian will have to once again deputize in goal.
Fabinho hasn't been on the same level since he returned from an injury and the Brazilian could drop out of the starting lineup.
Atletico Madrid Betting Preview
Coming off back-to-back draws against rock bottom Espanyol (1-1 away) and Sevilla (2-2 at home) in La Liga, Diego Simeone's side are now unbeaten in six matches (3 wins, 3 draws) across all competitions – since a 1-0 defeat in the Madrid derby on February 1.
Nevertheless, Los Rojiblancos are winless in their last five away games in all competitions, including a shock defeat to Cultural Leonesa (playing in the third level of the Spanish football league system) in the Spanish Copa del Rey.
Their away form has been an issue throughout as Diego Simeone's men have won in only three of their 13 La Liga games this season, scoring just 11 goals in the process. Despite the poor numbers, this is the joint-sixth best away record in the Spanish top-flight, which highlights a general weakness.
Diego Simeone will have to choose between Sime Vrsaljko and Kieran Trippier at right-back on Wednesday, while Renan Lodi should return at left-back.
The performance of Saul Niguez, who scored the winning goal in Madrid, and captain Koke will be crucial for Diego Simeone's game plan.
Atletico Madrid's boss can be pleased that Alvaro Morata finally scored to break his eight-game goal drought and the 27-years-old Spaniard will likely partner with Joao Felix, who scored his second goal in three games, when the former Chelsea forward returns to England.
Renan Lodi and Alvaro Morata were both absent from training on Monday, but considering the magnitude of the game, they should be able to overcome their injuries if they're not that bad.
Thomas Partey was suspended at the weekend and Marcos Llorente was solid to replace him against Sevilla on Saturday, but the Ghanaian will return to the starting lineup.
Jose Gimenez was spotted on the bench in the last few games and Diego Simeone would ideally like to start his best defender, though the 25-years-old Uruguay international has not played since the Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid on January 12.
Thomas Lemar is also doubtful for the away side but even if he's fit, we doubt that the Frenchman will be included in the starting lineup as he struggles with form.
Possible Starting Lineups of Liverpool and Atletico Madrid
Liverpool: Adrian – Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum – Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane. (4-3-3)
Atletico Madrid: Jan Oblak – Sime Vrsaljko, Stefan Savic, Felipe, Renan Lodi – Angel Correa, Thomas Partey, Saul Niguez, Koke – Joao Felix, Alvaro Morata. (4-4-2)
Anfield is definitely Liverpool's fortress not only in the Premier League, but when it comes to their Champions League experience over the past three seasons. The Reds are unbeaten in 17 Champions League games (12 wins and 5 draws) at Anfield, since a 3-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the 2014-15 group stage, and will need another brilliant performance if they are to progress to the quarter-finals.
Los Colchoneros, on the other hand, have won only two of their last 12 Champions League away games (5 draws and 5 defeats), but a draw or even a narrow defeat could be enough for the Madrid outfit.
The Merseysiders proved last season that no deficit was too much as they were three goals down heading into the second semi-final leg at Anfield in last season’s Champions League semifinal against Barcelona, and fired back with a memorable 4-0 victory to reach the final in Madrid.
Liverpool dominated possession in the first leg, when the home side were happy to give the ball to Liverpool and sit deep in defense to protect the early lead. We don't really expect different tactics from the Spanish side here, though Diego Simeone's men could face a huge problem if Liverpool score an early goal.
Even though Atletico Madrid triumphed in the first leg, Jurgen Klopp's men controlled the game and they are -172 favorites heading into this clash. The Reds are -172 to beat Atletico Madrid in 90 minutes although it may be better to back them to advance from the tie at -110.
Atletico Madrid, whose chances to qualify are rated at -120, struggled to score goals in their last six Champions League away games – scoring in just two of them. However, they will be high in confidence after the victorious first leg and will be looking to expose Liverpool's defensive weakness shown in the last couple of weeks.