Liverpool v Atletico Madrid: Match in pictures
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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has a £4.8million problem that could prevent him resting some of his key players in the Reds’ final two Champions League matches. Klopp’s side qualified for the knockout rounds after a thrilling 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night.
Trent Alexander-Arnold provided both assists in the comfortable victory over a lacklustre Atleti side, but may not be rewarded with a rest in his side’s final two European games.
It was the England international who swung in an inviting cross for Diogo Jota to stoop a header beyond Jan Oblak after 12 minutes.
Sadio Mane then collected Alexander-Arnold’s delivery and crashed home a second seven minutes later.
Diego Simeone’s side were reduced to 10 men shortly before half-time when Felipe was shown a straight red card.
Having incredibly won all four tough Group B matches so far, Liverpool will sail through to the knockout rounds of the competition. A gruelling winter fixture schedule might urge Klopp to rest some of his star names.
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However, he might be forced to make them play at home against Porto and then away to AC Milan if the club’s owners, FSG, insist on maximising the financial advantages of winning in the Champions League.
According to The Athletic, each victory in the competition earns a club £2.8million. That means a valuable £4.8m that could go towards the January transfer window is still up for grabs.
If Liverpool keep up their winning form in Europe, they will have earned £16.8m and Klopp himself admitted post-match that such financial benefits may mean he does not field a second-strength team in the final two group games.
Klopp could instead choose to pick the likes of Alisson Becker, Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Mohamed Salah even though they might benefit from a rest.
The German meanwhile described his side’s performance against Atletico as ‘nearly perfect’, with the only blemish being Roberto Firmino being forced off with another injury in the second half.
“In the second half that’s how it was [controlled and calm],” he said.
“We have had an incredible schedule and even with controlling the game, we lost a player with injury, Bobby Firmino.
“I can imagine people wanted to see more goals but we created still many chances, we scored a goal that was disallowed, we had incredible chances in front of goal like, ‘wow, how could we miss them?’
“So I think the game was nearly perfect, like we want to have it. We scored the goals in the right moments.
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“They were much more on the front foot than they were in the home game, how they started. But we defended that well and then two incredible balls from Trent.
“Fantastic finishes as well, especially Sadio’s one. I think Diogo will expect from himself that he’d finish that off.
“But Sadio keeps the ball, passes to the outside and is then greedy enough to get into the box and finish that situation off.
“Then with the red card, we don’t like that, we don’t want to play against 10 men. But then you have to be careful. They scored their goal and I don’t know exactly how it was offside, I didn’t understand it 100 per cent. But in the end it’s 2-0 and a great night.”
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