Liverpool gave away a goal to Atletico Madrid in the opening minutes of their UEFA Champions League tie. It was more than just a goal, however.
Liverpool were strong favourites in their knockout tie against Atletico. They’re the most dominant team in Europe, after all, while their Spanish opponents have been very inconsistent this campaign.
Diego Simeone’s side underwent a host of changes in the summer and have been weaker as a result. They’ve struggled to score goals – just 25 in 24 La Liga games – leading to numerous draws.
They’ve already drawn ten times – the same number they managed last season. And so Liverpool went into this game knowing they can get at least draw.
Play things tight and compact, control the game, and Atletico will struggle to beat you. If Liverpool did that, they could look to wrap things up comfortably at home.
Only, Liverpool conceded in the opening minutes. That, given everything we knew about Atletico, was disastrous.
Atletico didn’t just get a goal against Liverpool, they tore up the plans of both teams. And seeing as they won’t have wanted to attack Liverpool anyway, it was perfect for them.
Now they could just sit back and soak up the pressure, effectively playing like the away side. They’d happily take the 1-0 win and now they didn’t even have to do their difficult bit – scoring the goal.
It really was the last thing Liverpool needed and Atletico’s best possible outcome. Jurgen Klopp’s plan was in tatters, while Simeone could revert to his favoured one.