Monday, October 18, 2021

Atletico Madrid in Champions League blow as Liverpool take early advantage

While Liverpool stormed to a 3-2 comeback win over AC Milan on Wednesday night, elsewhere in , Atletico Madrid stuttered to a share of the points with Porto.

Though Milan gave Anfield a scare as they took a 2-1 lead before half-time, the Reds’ triumph in their Champions League opener was well-deserved.

An own goal Fikayo Tomori and further strikes from Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson earned a scoreline worthy of the performance – though, in truth, Liverpool should have been out of sight before the half-hour mark.

Winning all three home ties should be considered the bare minimum for Jurgen Klopp‘s side as they look to progress to the last 16, and victory over Milan was a strong start.

Liverpool were boosted further, then, by the news that Atletico and Porto played out a 0-0 draw in Madrid, with ex-Reds midfielder Marko Grujic playing the full 90 minutes.

It was a fierce game that saw nine yellow cards and a late red for Chancel Mbemba, with Porto arguably the better side as Otavio and Mehdi Taremi both went close to sealing a winner.

Taremi had the ball in the back of the net towards the end of the game, but a VAR check ruled his effort out as it touched his hand on the way in, via a collision with Jan Oblak.

Mbemba’s red came through denying a clear goalscoring opportunity for Antoine Griezmann at the death, which the centre-back will no doubt consider a worthy sacrifice, proving the difference between a point and none.

Liverpool end the first round of fixtures top of , as the sole side to take all three points.

For Atletico, the night can only be considered a disappointment, particularly as they were the home side and their next group game comes away to Milan.

With Porto the next opponents for Liverpool in the Champions League, as the Reds make the trip to Estadio do Dragao, their performance in Madrid could give Klopp food for thought.

A hard-fought clash can be expected, but two heavy victories at Porto’s ground in recent years – winning 5-0 in 2018 and 4-1 the following year – serve as encouragement.

Elsewhere in the Champions League, a late Jesse Lingard error handed Young Boys a 2-1 victory over Man United, while Bayern Munich thrashed a humiliated Barcelona 3-0 at the Nou Camp.

Man City emerged victorious as they played out a 6-3 thriller at home to RB Leipzig, while former West Ham striker Sebastien Haller scored four as Ajax sealed a 5-1 victory away to Sporting CP.

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