Anfield welcomes old boys for summit meeting

Liverpool FC striker Fernando Torres will hope to be fit to face his old team, Club Atlético de Madrid, when Group D’s top two meet again at Anfield a fortnight after their 1-1 draw in the Spanish capital.

There was nothing to separate Atlético and Liverpool in Madrid
There was nothing to separate Atlético and Liverpool in Madrid ©Getty Images

Liverpool FC striker Fernando Torres will hope to be fit to face his old team, Club Atlético de Madrid, when Group D's top two meet again at Anfield a fortnight after their 1-1 draw in the Spanish capital.

• If Torres, scorer of 102 goals in 243 appearances for Atlético between 2001 and 2007, missed out an emotional return to the Vicente Calderón on Matchday 3 because of injury, the sides' second encounter offers Atlético pair Luis García and Florent Sinama Pongolle the opportunity to make the journey in reverse by heading back to their former club on Merseyside.

• Luis García left Liverpool for Atlético in 2007 after three seasons in which he made 77 league appearances, scoring 18 goals. His most significant strike in a red shirt came in the UEFA Champions League where he got the only goal of the 2004/05 semi-final against Chelsea FC.

• Sinama Pongolle also made a telling contribution to Liverpool's triumphant 2004/05 campaign, scoring the first of three second-half goals which rescued them from elimination against Olympiacos CFP in December 2004. The French forward struggled to establish himself having joined Liverpool as a teenager, but has blossomed in Spain and moved to Atlético this summer after 22 league goals in two seasons at RC Recreativo de Huelva.

• This match offers both teams the opportunity to take a big step towards securing their place in the last 16. Standing level on seven points at the Group D summit, four points clear of third-placed PSV Eindhoven, they would each even secure their progress if they won and PSV lost at Olympique de Marseille in the section's other Matchday 4 contest.

• Simão was the hero for Javier Aguirre's Atlético on Matchday 3 as his 83rd-minute equaliser cancelled out a 14th-minute Robbie Keane strike to ensure a share of the spoils for the Spanish Liga team.

• After a 3-0 win at PSV on Matchday 1 and subsequent 2-1 home victory over Marseille, Simão's equaliser continued Atlético's impressive start to their first UEFA Champions League campaign since 1996/97.

• That goal also maintained Simão's impressive personal record against English opposition. The winger scored the opening goal for former club SL Benfica in a 2-0 win at Liverpool in the first knockout round in 2005/06, sealing a 3-0 aggregate victory against the then holders. Earlier that season he had struck with a free-kick at Old Trafford in a 2-1 loss to Manchester United FC. For Portugal, meanwhile, Simão came off the bench to convert spot-kicks in the shoot-out triumphs against England at UEFA EURO 2004™ and the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

• Forward Diego Forlán is another Atlético player to have tasted victory at Anfield, having scored both goals for former club Man United in a 2-1 Premier League win at Liverpool in December 2002.

• Tomáš Ujfaluši has also recently enjoyed success on Merseyside as part of the ACF Fiorentina side that eliminated Everton FC in the 2007/08 UEFA Cup Round of 16. Although the Italian side lost 2-0 in the second leg at Goodison Park to leave the tie level at 2-2 over the two games, Fiorentina subsequently triumphed 4-2 on penalties.

• Like Atlético, Liverpool began their Group D campaign with two victories. Rafael Benítez's side opened with a 2-1 win at Marseille before recording a 3-1 home success against PSV.

• Liverpool are unbeaten in seven European home ties, including the third qualifying round win against R. Standard de Liège.

• Atlético should hold few surprises for a home dressing room featuring a manager, Benítez, and five players – Xabi Alonso, Álvaro Arbeloa, Pepe Reina, Albert Riera and Torres – who are all Spanish.

• Torres's connection with 'Atleti', the club he grew up supporting and whose youth ranks he entered in 1995, is well-documented and another Liverpool player that has a special link with the visitors is goalkeeper Reina whose father, Miguel, was the custodian of the Atlético side that reached the European Champion Clubs' Cup final in 1974.

• Liverpool have a surprisingly poor home record against Spanish opposition, with eleven previous UEFA club competition matches at Anfield producing two wins, five draws and four defeats. In six of those games they failed to find the net.

• The last visitors from Spain were FC Barcelona, who beat the Merseyside club 1-0 in the 2006/07 first knockout round. Despite Eidur Gudjohnsen's solitary strike that night, Liverpool won the tie on away goals.

• Liverpool's only victories against Spanish opponents came against Real Sociedad de Fútbol, a 6-0 triumph in the 1975/76 UEFA Cup second round, and Barcelona, 1-0 in the 2000/01 UEFA Cup semi-final second leg, courtesy of Gary McAllister's penalty.

• Liverpool went on to beat another Spanish Liga club, Deportivo Alavés, 5-4 in that season's UEFA Cup final and previously defeated Real Madrid CF 1-0 to claim the 1980/81 European Cup.

• Atlético's record on English soil is W1 D3 L2. Their most recent visit brought a 1-0 first-leg defeat at Bolton Wanderers FC in last season's UEFA Cup Round of 32 – a tie they ended up losing to that solitary goal in Bolton by former Liverpool player El Hadji Diouf.

• Their one previous win in England was a 2-0 success at Leicester City FC in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup first round, courtesy of goals from Oswaldo Giroldo and José Mari.

• Benítez and his Atlético counterpart Aguirre are both former coaches of Pamplona-based club CA Osasuna.

• Aguirre and Benítez faced one another four times in Spanish Liga matches when in charge of Osasuna and Valencia respectively and recorded two victories apiece. In 2002/03 they traded 1-0 home wins while the next year, Valencia defeated Osasuna 1-0 in Pamplona before Aguirre gained revenge with an identical triumph at the Mestalla thanks to an own goal by Mauricio Pellegrino, now first-team coach at Liverpool.

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