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ATLETICO AWARE: Diego Simeone feels Liverpool are back to their best

 

Diego Simeone accepts Atletico Madrid are meeting a Liverpool side back to their best led by the “extraordinary” Mohamed Salah.

The Argentinian masterminded victories in both legs of their last-16 encounter in 2020 which ended the Reds’ reign as European champions.

However, Klopp’s team look even stronger this time around and have scored three or more goals in all six away matches this season, found the net 33 times in 11 fixtures and have yet to fail to score in any match.

Salah himself has 10 goals in as many appearances and has scored in every match bar one.

A return to the Wanda Metropolitano, the scene of their 2019 Champions League final victory over Tottenham, will be their toughest assignment yet and Simeone is well aware of what is awaiting the Spanish champions.

“All I care about really is Liverpool but Mohamed Salah is an extraordinary player, who has been playing at a fantastic level for the last few years with Liverpool and his national team,” said the Atletico coach.

“Liverpool are going through a fantastic spell of football, they seem to have a different rhythm, and it is a pleasure to see them play.

“They have no fear to leave spaces at the back. They press high, play a high line, have speed.

“(Virgil) Van Dijk has improved solidity in defence, which is important even for an attacking team like Liverpool, and he brings security they didn’t have last year.

“I don’t expect anything other than a team who will make things very difficult for us.

“We need to match their intensity and then look for our own chances. We will try to find ways to hurt them.

“The last time we faced Liverpool, we won the game at home before we even entered the stadium. I want that to be remembered.”

When they were beaten in 2020 Klopp said Atleti did not play “proper football”.

Asked what he had to say to that criticism at his pre-match press conference on Monday Simeone, whose side have lost just one of their last 30 home European games, responded: “Nothing.”


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