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Atlético 1-0 Liverpool: Saúl Ñíguez gives Simeone's side advantage

Saúl Ñíguez's fourth-minute goal has given Atlético the edge in their round of 16 tie against holders Liverpool.

Highlights: Atlético 1-0 Liverpool
Highlights: Atlético 1-0 Liverpool

Atlético put in a display of trademark resilience to beat holders Liverpool 1-0 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie.


The match at a glance

Saúl Ñíguez opens the scoring
Saúl Ñíguez opens the scoring

The Reds took the lead in this stadium just two minutes into last season’s final, but fell behind themselves early on this time. The visitors failed to deal with an outswinging corner from the right and Saúl Ñíguez was on hand to poke home from close range.

Alisson Becker used his legs to deny Álvaro Morata from adding a second before the half-hour, with Mohamed Salah’s blocked shot as close as Liverpool came to registering in the opening period.

Salah had only himself to blame for heading Joe Gomez’s cross off target soon after the interval, while Jordan Henderson was unable to test Jan Oblak with a side-footed volley 17 minutes from time. The holders could not find a way past their defiant hosts.

Man of the match: Renan Lodi (Atlético)

Ginés Meléndez, UEFA technical observer: "His game was fantastic in that he nullified Salah and ensured that almost nothing came down his flank. He was fantastic in the first half in particular."

Watch Atlético man of the match Renan Lodi's highlights
Watch Atlético man of the match Renan Lodi's highlights

UEFA is giving out an official Man of the Match award after every UEFA Champions League knockout stage game to recognise the top performers in Europe's top club competition.

View from the stadium: Joe Walker, Atlético reporter

What can you say? That was Atlético in their purest form. Diego Simeone raised a few eyebrows with his team selection, but you have to say he got everything spot on. From the way Morata and Ángel Correa harangued the defence to Lodi's expansive yet controlled performance from full-back. Chapeau to Atleti's wily coach.

Visitors’ view: Matthew Howarth, Liverpool reporter

Jürgen Klopp's side will still fancy their chances back at Anfield
Jürgen Klopp's side will still fancy their chances back at Anfield

Atlético had Liverpool exactly where they wanted them after Saúl’s early goal. Liverpool, for all their possession, could not navigate a way through the hosts’ seemingly impenetrable back line, failing to register a single shot on target. Jürgen Klopp's side will still fancy their chances of turning the tie around at Anfield, but they will have to up their game considerably in order to reach the last eight.


Diego Simeone, Atlético coach: "It’s not the best night ever because we didn’t win a trophy. But there are nights you don’t forget. The best side in the world came here, and we beat them. But it’s only one game down, one to go."

Hear from Atlético match-winner Saúl Ñíguez
Hear from Atlético match-winner Saúl Ñíguez

Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool manager: “I’m not disappointed with how we played. I saw many worse games in my life. We just weren’t good enough in the final third. But it’s only 1-0; we aren’t down and out. As long as we have 11 players with a Liverpool shirt, anything can happen. For all the Atlético fans who get an away ticket: Welcome to Anfield.”

Key stats

Diego Costa enjoys the result against Liverpool
Diego Costa enjoys the result against Liverpool
  • Atlético have lost only one of their last 26 European home games.
  • Atlético have kept 11 clean sheets and conceded just one goal in their last 12 home UEFA Champions League knockout matches.
  • Liverpool have lost only three games in all competitions this season.
  • This was the first time Liverpool had fallen behind in 15 matches in all competitions.
  • Liverpool have now conceded in 12 successive UEFA Champions League away games.
  • Liverpool have won their last 11 two-legged European ties, qualifying included. They have not lost a knockout phase tie in the UEFA Champions League since Chelsea beat them 7-5 on aggregate in the 2008/09 quarter-finals.


Atlético: Oblak; Vrsaljko, Savić, Felipe, Lodi; Koke, Saúl Ñíguez, Thomas, Lemar (Llorente 46); Correa (Diego Costa 77), Morata (Vitolo 70)

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson (Milner 80), Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah (Oxlade-Chamberlain 72), Firmino, Mané (Origi 46)