A late equaliser from Simão denied Liverpool FC a third successive UEFA Champions League victory and earned Club Atlético de Madrid a point which kept the Spanish side joint top of Group D.
Both teams had won their first two fixtures yet the visitors began the brighter and took an early advantage when Robbie Keane raced clear of the home defence to score his second goal of the season. It looked like that solitary strike would be enough for the five-time European champions to take a firm grip on the section, but Javier Aguirre's side stuck to their task and finally gained their reward with seven minutes left, Simão finding the bottom corner of the net with a low shot.
Aguirre had suggested there would be changes to the team beaten by Real Madrid CF at the weekend and he kept his word, with Sergio Agüero dropping to the bench and teenagers Ignacio Camacho and Álvaro Domínguez being given competition debuts in midfield and at centre-back respectively. The youngsters made a nervy start as Liverpool launched several high balls into the box, although it was one of Atlético's more experienced campaigners who was caught out on six minutes – Andrea Dossena left Luis García standing on the left but failed to pick out a team-mate when well-placed.
Camacho might have done better from Simão's free-kick as Atlético attempted to get a foothold in a game that the Premier League club were controlling. Instead, Liverpool made their initial territorial dominance pay in the 14th minute as Keane doubled his goal tally for the Reds. Steven Gerrard's through pass sprung the home defence and the Irishman slid a low shot past Leo Franco. Thereafter both sides were restricted to efforts from distance, with Giourkas Seitaridis firing too high for Atlético and Albert Riera and Xabi Alonso trying their luck as well, before one of Atlético's starlets made his presence felt as half-time approached. Camacho's ball from the left picked out Diego Forlán, yet the striker could only direct his attempt wide of the target.
With Atlético seeking a spark, Agüero was brought into the fray at half-time although the Argentinian took time to adjust to the pace of the contest. It was Liverpool who menaced the opposition defence first, as Yossi Benayoun had a goal ruled out for offside. Seitaridis did likewise at the other end, before Atlético came closer still with their very next attack – Pepe Reina having to dive full length to touch Simão's shot against his left-hand post. Franco flicked wide Alonso's strike, yet the hosts continued to threaten and a Seitaridis set-piece from the left could have caused problems had Jamie Carragher not headed away the danger.
Just when it seemed Liverpool would hold on to their slender lead, however, Carragher failed to deal with a long ball forward and Forlán gathered possession before finding Simão, whose well-directed drive left Reina with no chance. There might have been more joy for the Liga outfit had the Liverpool keeper not tipped away a Miguel strike, although Ryan Babel's diving header past the post emphasised how either team could have won, or lost, an entertaining match.