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Liverpool struck twice early, only to lose their lead before the break thanks to a Griezmann brace
The Frenchman was then sent off for a boot to the face of Firmino
Klopp's side took a late lead via a Salah penalty and then Atletico were denied a penalty of their own after a Var intervention
An epic game for its mistakes as much as its moments of brilliance and yet in the end there was a familiar story for the age: it was won for Liverpool by the irrepressible Mohamed Salah.
Yet even the man himself would have to admit that was only half the tale as this great clash of European stylists - the pragmatic, forceful Atletico and their expansive passing visitors - gave us one of the great games of the Champions League group stages. Having scored the penalty, the second of his two goals, that won the game, Salah watched as his side then escaped conceding a penalty themselves with a change of heart on the Var review by the German referee Daniel Siebert.
By then Atletico had nothing left to lose – the scorer of their two goals Antoine Griezmann had been dismissed for a recklessly high boot and the plan to defend for the draw, as it was then when he went off, was in ruins. Having come back from two early goals they had lost Griezmann and then saw their defender Mario Hermoso lose his composure to concede a penalty from which Salah dispatched the third. For Diego Simeone, the master of control, this was the first time an Atletico team of his had ever conceded three at home in the Champions League.
As for Salah, the two goals meant that he has set a club record of scoring in nine consecutive games – a feat unmatched in all the great goalscorers over Liverpool’s history. It is 12 goals so far this season for Salah, and the third straight win for Liverpool in the group means that they are almost certain of qualification for the knockout stages already. A win away at the Spanish champions is a win to be treasured – no matter how chaotic the circumstances.
Later Klopp would reflect on how his team won the game and then conspired to lose it before securing the victory. “The human brain can be your biggest enemy,” he said, after his side had taken the lead through Salah’s first and a volley from Naby Keita. “We misunderstood the situation. We wanted to control the game in the wrong way and play in the wrong spaces, and gave away two cheap goals,” he said.
He replaced Keita with Fabinho at half-time to try to secure the game which was slipping away from his team. Through the red card for Griezmann and the two penalty calls – one given, one overturned – Liverpool fought their way to what Klopp would describe with some relish as “three dirty points”.
At the end he proffered a handshake in the direction of Diego Simeone who ran down the tunnel and, momentarily irritated, Klopp waved after him. “He was emotional as I was,” Klopp said later. “I don’t think I did anything wrong. Overall, I’m not happy with my reaction and when we see each other again, we will definitely shake hands. We didn’t even speak to one another during the game.”
Atletico had only conceded two goals at home for the whole of the season so far, both in the same match to Villarreal at the end of August. This time they conceded two within 13 minutes. Both of them were defensive errors in different ways, and both owing much to some magic in the boots of the goalscorers. Salah feinted and deceived his way past three Atletico players - Yannick Carrasco, Thomas Lemar and then Koke - before unleashing a shot which took a deflection off James Milner. Uefa originally gifted the goal to the Englishman, and then with a change of mind it reverted to Liverpool’s top goalscorer.
The second came when the Brazil international Felipe could manage only a poor clearance and a first-time clean connection from Keita beat Jan Oblak from the edge of the area.
This was when the game turned again and now it was Atletico attacking. Lemar had been superb and it was he who cracked Liverpool down their right side on 20 minutes, cutting back deep into the box from the byline for Koke to shoot and Griezmann with the final touch.
“A different team might have fallen to pieces faced with a team like Liverpool but the opposite happened,” Simeone said. The combination of Joao Felix and Griezmann for the second was outstanding, the former taking the ball from an unpromising left-sided position and carrying it into the inside left before Griezmann’s run triggered the pass. Virgil van Dijk got himself in the wrong position and Griezmann was in for the second.
When the dust had settled it was clear that the big picture was still the same: Liverpool had most of the ball - 75 per cent of the possession count in fact - but Atletico had their half share of the drama. Yet Simeone’s team do play on the edge and that has its consequences.
Griezmann raised a left boot high and wild and connected with Roberto Firmino somewhere north of his neck tattoo. It was done in a moment but the German referee knew what he had seen and waved a red at the Frenchman. There was no dissent from the Var after a good look at the incident.
Down to 10 men, it at least left no doubt in the minds of Atletico as to what they should be for the rest of the game – and that was their natural selves, sitting tight and deep and waiting for the occasional counter-attack. It was all going to plan, Liverpool’s passes multiplying, and Atletico just trying to keep them at bay. An indication of how long the away side had the ball was the long wait that Simeone had for a triple substitution – including Luis Suarez – all of them made to stand for what felt like an age on the touchline.
It changed when the Atletico full-back Hermoso made the inexplicable decision to take down substitute Diogo Jota in his own area. A raw tackle on a raw night, and once again Salah had the ball and the game in his sights. He sent Oblak one way and the ball the other. Then came the penalty for Atletico, conceded by Jota for a foul on the substitute Jose Maria Gimenez and reviewed for an eternity before it was disallowed.
That's all from me...
But read Sam Wallace's report from Madrid for a full recap of an eventful evening.
Here is Simeone's sprint down the tunnel at the final whistle - not a great look...
No handshake between Simeone and Klopp as the Reds edge Atletico in a five-goal thriller! 😮💨
FT: Atletico 2-3 Liverpool pic.twitter.com/V4yYMxCPfr
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 19, 2021
There are so many talking points from this match
Was Liverpool's penalty the correct decision? Was Var right to overturn Atletico's penalty? Should Griezmann have been sent off?
I'd say; yes, no, yes... but opinion will be divided, especially on the Var intervention.
It was an eventful night for Antoine Griezmann...
2+1 - Antoine Griezmann is the first player in UEFA Champions League history to score twice and be sent off. Comedown.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 19, 2021
What a match. What a win.
This was a proper European classic. Goals, a red card, penalties given, penalties not given and a raucous atmosphere to boot.
The game at Anfield will be, for want of a better word, spicy.
Simeone sprinted straight down the tunnel without shaking hands with Klopp
The Liverpool manager was waiting and is not happy with Simeone's disappearing down the tunnel.
FULL-TIME: Atletico 2 Liverpool 3
The ball runs out for a Liverpool goal kick and Alisson takes his time to send it long. Suarez is booked for dissent after laying into the ref for not awarding him a foul earlier in the passage of play.
Firmino rolls the ball to Williams who hits a shot over the bar from the edge of the box.
That is that!
90+4 mins: Atletico 2 Liverpool 3
Suarez lays the ball off to Correa who launches a shot into the stands from the edge of the box! Could that be their last chance? Three Atleti players fell to the ground after that poor attempt - and so did Simeone.
90+2 mins: Atletico 2 Liverpool 3
Liverpool are running the clock down. Williams is on for Salah. The home crowd is furious with Liverpool's game management.
90 mins: Atletico 2 Liverpool 3
There will be six minutes of added time!
89 mins: Atletico 2 Liverpool 3
Atletico are pressing Liverpool with urgency while Klopp's side try to spread the ball around. Cat and mouse.
87 mins: Atletico 2 Liverpool 3
Gomez drives forward, picking out Oxlade-Chamberlain. Liverpool lose the ball and Llorente sprints down the right wing before his cross is headed clear by Gomez who seems to be everywhere.
85 mins: Atletico 2 Liverpool 3
Gomez is on for Alexander-Arnold. Can Liverpool see out their lead?
PENALTY TO ATLETICO OVERTURNED
Wow. The free kick is chipped into the box and Gimenez is tripped by Jota. Clumsy challenge and a penalty is awarded! This game has had everything.
The referee is going to look at the screen to confirm his decision after a Var intervention... the referee changes his mind! No penalty despite clear contact by Jota. Stunning decision.
80 mins: Atletico 2 Liverpool 3
Henderson fouls Lemar in Liverpool's half. Just a free kick. Quadruple change for Atletico; Correa for Felix, Llorente for Hermoso, Lodi for de Paul and, most importantly, Suarez on for Lemar!
GOOOOOOAAAAAL! (Salah) Atletico 2 Liverpool 3
Salah steps up and gives Liverpool the lead! He sends Oblak the wrong way from the spot! Huge moment.
PENALTY TO LIVERPOOL!
Liverpool win another a corner. Joao Felix heads it behind for another, this time Oblak heads it away.
The ball is launched back into the box and Hermoso clatters Jota! Terrible challenge and a clear penalty is awarded. What was the defender doing?!
73 mins: Atletico 2 Liverpool 2
Carrasco breaks down the left before cutting into the box. He rolls it towards Joao Felix but Matip makes a crucial sliding intervention just in time.
Liverpool launch an attack of his own, Henderson chips a ball into the box but it is headed clear.
70 mins: Atletico 2 Liverpool 2
Firmino wins the header but it is deflected behind - it should be a corner, but a goal kick is awarded.
68 mins: Atletico 2 Liverpool 2
Lemar wins the ball from Alexander-Arnold but his forced to turn back after breaking down the left wing. Firmino then wins the ball back in a good attacking position. He runs towards the box but then delays his pass to Jota too long and the chance is gone.
Liverpool win a corner.
65 mins: Atletico 2 Liverpool 2
Alexander-Arnold is booked for booting the ball away after giving away a foul. The temperature is still rising in this match.
Oxlade-Chamberlain finds space on the edge of the box and fires a powerful shot at Oblak. Comfortable save made.
62 mins: Atletico 2 Liverpool 2
Rodrigo de Paul is now down after a tackle by Robertson. The free kick finds Carrasco but he is offside.
Mane is coming off, replaced by Jota. Milner is also off, Oxlade-Chamberlain on.
59 mins: Atletico 2 Liverpool 2
Milner is yellow carded for an arm to the face of Trippier. The home crowd and Simeone explode but that was a soft yellow.
Atletico have a chance but fire a shot just wide of the post - a reminder they are still in the match.
56 mins: Atletico 2 Liverpool 2
Atletico were on top but that red has given Liverpool the momentum. Salah wins a corner after some tricky footwork.
Firmino is back on and fine to continue. The corner is headed clear but the second ball finds van Dijk who directs his header straight at the keeper.
RED CARD! Griezmann is off!
Simeone's side attack again, buoyed by the vibrant home crowd. A cross into the box is headed clear by van Dijk. Firmino stoops to head the ball and is kicked in the face by Griezmann who was trying to bring the ball down. Straight red! The home crowd is in shock - but that is the correct decision. His foot was very high and connected with the Liverpool striker's face!
Two goals and a red for the Frenchman - eventful evening...
50 mins: Atletico 2 Liverpool 2
Atletico take the corner short but Lemar puts way too much power on his cross, letting Liverpool off the hook.
48 mins: Atletico 2 Liverpool 2
There is a change for Atletico too; Gimenez on for Kondogbia.
Liverpool win a corner after a sloppy start to the half for the hosts. Mane directs a header towards goal which is pushed away by Oblak. Atletico counter, Rodrigo de Paul plays Carrasco through on goal but Alisson shuts down the angle and makes a good save. End-to-end once more.
The second half is under way
One change for Liverpool; Fabinho is on for Keita. They do need more solidity in midfield on the evidence of the first half.
The players are back out onto the pitch
Can the second half match the first?
A new feat for Liverpool in the Champions League...
2-2 - Liverpool have both scored and conceded twice in the first half of a UEFA Champions League match for the first time. Desmond. pic.twitter.com/5T8wmiqvXS
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 19, 2021
Atletico are now well on top after a dreadful start
It was all Liverpool, then it was all Atletico. Can Jurgen Klopp's side wrestle back control after the break?
HALF-TIME: Atletico 2 Liverpool 2
Fabinho is warming up for Liverpool. They have looked very exposed in the midfield in the past 20 minutes or so.
That's the half - and what a half it has been.
45 mins: Atletico 2 Liverpool 2
Jurgen Klopp is, understandably, disgruntled after his side has lost a two-goal lead in quick time.
There will be two minutes of added time.
43 mins: Atletico 2 Liverpool 2
Alisson comes off his line and hammers the ball into Matip just yards in front of him. The ball bounces of the defender and nearly into the path of Griezmann who would have had an open goal to aim at! That was close.
Atleti come again, this time Lemar breaks into the box and he forces another save from Alisson. The tide has well and truly turned!
40 mins: Atletico 2 Liverpool 2
Keita bursts towards the Atletico box but Koke wins the ball off him. The home side counter, Joao Felix brings down the ball with an amazing touch before breaking into the box and hitting a shot from a tight angle. Alisson gets down and saves it at the second attempt.
38 mins: Atletico 2 Liverpool 2
The home crowd is bouncing up and down, chanting loudly. Liverpool need to keep their heads, they have been the better side for the majority of the half.
Lemar breaks down the left, floating a cross into the box that beats everyone.
GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! (Griezmann) Atletico 2 Liverpool 2
What a goal! Griezmann picks up the ball on the edge of the box, he knocks the ball past a defender and then hammers a shot into the far bottom corner with his left foot.
What a response by Atletico! Simeone is going wild on the touchline!
33 mins: Atletico 1 Liverpool 2
Alexander-Arnold curls the ball into the six-yard box but it is headed clear. Liverpool regain the ball, spreading play around the back, briefly slowing the tempo. Mane is then fouled by Koke in the Atletico half.
Robertson takes the free kick, Matip rises highest but his header is collected by Oblak.
30 mins: Atletico 1 Liverpool 2
The tempo of this match is still very high. Liverpool are dominating possession but the hosts look dangerous on the break.
Milner finds space down the right and is fouled near the corner flag.
28 mins: Atletico 1 Liverpool 2
Liverpool mount an attack which ends with a shot into the stands. Klopp's side come again but Keita overcooks a pass to Salah.
Mane finds a pocket of space on the edge of the Atletico box but is dispossessed. Atletico counter, a superb ball over the top releases Griezmann who is through on goal. The Frenchman tries to chip Alisson who races off his line but the keeper blocks the attempt. Huge chance missed!
Here is Keita's stunning strike
Naby Keita with a rocket of a volley! 🚀
Liverpool are dominating early on against Atletico as they take a two-goal lead inside the first 15 minutes! pic.twitter.com/Nwi8xtDycz
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 19, 2021
23 mins: Atletico 1 Liverpool 2
What a start to this game! It had been all Liverpool but with Atletico's first proper attack they get one back.
The atmosphere is electric in Madrid.
GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAL! (Griezmann) Atletico 1 Liverpool 2
Game on! Koke fires a shot towards goal following the corner and the Frenchman directs it home from yards out. Clever deflection from Griezmann.
Var is having a look... but the goal stands after a long check.
19 mins: Atletico 0 Liverpool 2
This game is heating up. Milner fouls Rodrigo de Paul, much to the disgust of the partisan home crowd. Atletico mount an attack but Matip heads the resulting cross clear. A second ball comes into the box from Griezmann but a vital Alexander-Arnold intervention puts it out for a corner.
16 mins: Atletico 0 Liverpool 2
Atletico are in shock. They look so disjointed and cannot keep the ball at all. Liverpool break down the right, Salah sends a low cross into the box but no one is there to meet it. Mane fouls Trippier as they go for the ball. Not much in that but the England full-back stays down before slowly rising to his feet.
Milner's goal is now back to Salah's goal - Uefa think it came off Kondogbia, not Milner.
GOOOOOOOAAAAAL! (Keita) Atletico 0 Liverpool 2
What a strike! The ball falls to Keita on the edge of the box who rockets a volley into the back of the net with the outside of his right foot. Stunning effort.
Dream start for Liverpool continues.
11 mins: Atletico 0 Liverpool 1
Salah's shot was going on target but Milner just opened his foot, redirecting the ball and wrong-footing Oblak.
Liverpool sends wave after wave of attack. Salah is causing plenty of problems already!
GOOOOOOOAAAAAAL! (Milner) Atletico 0 Liverpool 1
Alexander-Arnold drives down the right wing after finding a pocket of space. He exchanges passes with Salah before switching play to the left flank. Robertson whips a cross into the box but it is hacked clear. The ball falls to Salah who makes space on the edge of the box before firing a shot which Milner deflects past the keeper!
What a start for Klopp's men!
5 mins: Atletico 0 Liverpool 0
Liverpool, in their yellow strip, spread play around the midfield before lumping an aimless ball forward. Atletico clear, and Liverpool come again, this time via Robertson down the left.
The home side win the ball and try to play out from the back but aggressive pressing forces a turnover, Henderson intercepting a sloppy pass.
2 mins: Atletico 0 Liverpool 0
The Liverpool players took the knee before the match started and they were greeted with boos from the stands.
The home side start brightly, Carrasco breaking down the left wing before failing to produce a final product.
Here we go!
Liverpool get us under way.
The players are out onto the pitch
The stadium is packed and the atmosphere is bouncing, literally, already.
Jurgen Klopp on Luis Suarez's surprise absence for Atletico
"I would pay money to have been in the meeting where Diego told Luis [he wasn't playing]. I don't know why he isn't."
Luis Suarez is on the bench for Atletico tonight
Atlético Madrid striker Luis Suárez scored 82 goals in 133 appearances for Liverpool between 2011 and 2014, although never played for the club in the Uefa Champions League. His only previous home appearance against the Reds saw him find the net for Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals in a 3-0 win in May 2019 (one goal).
Jurgen Klopp was somewhat critical of Atletico's style of play in the build-up to tonight's match
Jurgen Klopp offered an unapologetic reminder of how much he loathes Diego Simeone’s football style, but the Liverpool manager warned his players they will be "eaten up" if they do not meet fire with fire against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.
The last meeting between the clubs was in the round of 16 in 2020, Liverpool beaten in an ill-tempered tie just before Covid-19 forced the world into lockdown.
The first leg in Madrid was memorable for Klopp accusing Atletico’s players of play-acting to try to get Sadio Mane sent off, with the Senegalese subbed early to avoid suspension.
Liverpool have struggled against Atletico Madrid historically
Liverpool have failed to win any of their four Uefa Champions League matches against Atlético Madrid (D2 L2), only facing Basel as often (also four times) without winning in their European Cup/Champions League history.
Team news recap
Goalkeeper Alisson Becker returns but there is no place for Fabinho in the starting line-up.
The pair missed the weekend win over Watford after flying directly to Spain after international duty with Brazil in order to complete their quarantine period in the Spanish capital.
However, Alisson for Caoimhin Kelleher is the only change from Saturday with Fabinho on the bench.
For Atletico, former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is left on the bench.
Manager Diego Simeone opts for Antoine Griezmann and Joao Felix up front, and with defenders Jose Maria Gimenez and Marcos Llorente not fit and Stefan Savic suspended, midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia has to drop into the back four.
The atmosphere is building nicely in Madrid...
— The Spanish Football Podcast (@tsf_podcast) October 19, 2021
The team news is in!
Adelante Atlético de Madrid 🔴⚪ pic.twitter.com/xyaFIDsuvZ
— Atlético de Madrid (@Atleti) October 19, 2021
Good evening and welcome to Telegraph Sport's live coverage of Atletico-Liverpool
Diego Simeone accepts Atletico Madrid are meeting a Liverpool side tonight back to their best led by the "extraordinary" Mohamed Salah.
The Argentinian masterminded victories in both legs of their last-16 encounter in 2020 which ended the Reds' reign as European champions.
However, Klopp's team look even stronger this time around and have scored three or more goals in all six away matches this season, found the net 33 times in 11 fixtures and have yet to fail to score in any match.
Salah himself has 10 goals in as many appearances and has scored in every match bar one.
A return to the Wanda Metropolitano, the scene of their 2019 Champions League final victory over Tottenham, will be their toughest assignment yet and Simeone is well aware of what is awaiting the Spanish champions.
"All I care about really is Liverpool but Mohamed Salah is an extraordinary player, who has been playing at a fantastic level for the last few years with Liverpool and his national team," said the Atletico coach.
"Liverpool are going through a fantastic spell of football, they seem to have a different rhythm, and it is a pleasure to see them play.
"They have no fear to leave spaces at the back. They press high, play a high line, have speed.
"(Virgil) Van Dijk has improved solidity in defence, which is important even for an attacking team like Liverpool, and he brings security they didn't have last year.
"I don't expect anything other than a team who will make things very difficult for us.
"We need to match their intensity and then look for our own chances. We will try to find ways to hurt them.
"The last time we faced Liverpool, we won the game at home before we even entered the stadium. I want that to be remembered."
When they were beaten in 2020 Klopp said Atleti did not play "proper football".
Asked what he had to say to that criticism at his pre-match press conference on Monday Simeone, whose side have lost just one of their last 30 home European games, responded: "Nothing."