Liverpool could have been handed a huge advantage ahead of the European Champions’ last-16 clash with Spanish giants Atletico Madrid after reports that young starlet Joao Felix could be a doubt for the knockout-tie.
The two sides will go head-to-head at the ground where the Reds claimed their sixth European triumph back in June with the first-leg to be held at the Wanda Metropolitano on February 18.
According to reports from the club’s official website, the teenager sustained the knock during Atletico’s goalless draw with Leganes last Sunday.
Felix, 20 is now set to miss the derby against Real Madrid at the weekend and his prospects of being fit enough to feature against Liverpool next month remain unknown.
The former Benfica forward, who completed the record-breaking move to Spain last summer, has just 20 days to recover before the Champions League-holders make their long-awaited return to the Spanish capital.
Felix joined the 2014 La Liga champions for a gargantuan fee of £113m [BBC Sport] last summer and is considered one of the brightest prospects in world football. The Portugal international has featured 24 times under Diego Simione this season and has four goals whilst boasting two assists during that time.
Liverpool will host Atletico in the return leg on March 11, with the Reds setting their sights on a third consecutive Champions League final come May.
What RTK has to say
A huge blow nonetheless for Simeone’s side who will be looking to progress to the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time since 2017.
However, despite Felix opposing a huge threat to any team in world football even the Portuguese ace will not be enough to make Liverpool fans believe that this tie isn’t there for the taking.
Atletico are currently 10 points off of rivals Real Madrid who currently occupy the top of the La Liga table. The three-time Champions League runners-up aren’t the same beast they were a few years ago with the side still adjusting to the departures of some of their biggest stars such as Diego Godin, Antoine Griezmann, Rhodri and Lucas Hernandez.
The Spanish outfit are a team in transition whilst Klopp’s Reds are a team operating at the peak of their powers. The German manager hasn’t lost a two-legged knockout tie since he arrived at the club. He doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon.