Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid - Liverpool are ready for Atletico’s antics at Anfield – Jurgen Klopp



Posted Wednesday, March 11, 2020 by PA

Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid - Liverpool are ready for Atletico’s antics at Anfield – Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will warn his players again about Atletico Madrid’s gamesmanship but admits this time he will not be forced into protecting them against red cards.

In their Champions League last-16 first leg 1-0 defeat in the Wanda Metropolitano, Klopp substituted Sadio Mane as he feared he would be dismissed after being targeted by Atletico.

The hosts generated contact with the Senegal international, already on a yellow card, tried to manufacture a foul and then wildly remonstrated with the Polish referee Szymon Marciniak.

Klopp felt he had no option but to remove Mane at half-time as he wanted to keep the tie alive but knows he cannot afford to hold back at Anfield and expects his players – and Dutch official Danny Makkelie – to handle a repeat of the visitors’ anticipated antics.

“We spoke about that already but we will probably mention it again,” said Klopp.

“Yeah, that would help 100 per cent (to have his best players on the pitch for 90 minutes).

“Sadio did nothing wrong, absolutely nothing, and I still thought in the next situation it will be like this (a red card).

“But if it was always that easy for you to get out the best player of the opponent then there is something wrong with the game.

“You need always a referee who is aware of situations like this, we cannot do it by ourselves. We have no influence over that. We have to deal with it.

“We expect a really ‘experienced’ performance from Atletico, let me say that. In all different departments ‘experienced’ but we have to deal with that.

“But there is another area of football where we can be better, better than the first game and better than Atletico but we have to show that tomorrow night.”

Liverpool have been boosted by the return of captain Jordan Henderson.

The England midfielder has been out since injuring a hamstring in the first leg three weeks ago but returned to full training this week, so will be available.

Left-back Andy Robertson should also feature after he sat out Saturday’s Premier League win over Bournemouth as a precaution. Goalkeeper Alisson Becker, however, is sidelined by a troublesome hip.

Atletico manager Diego Simeone, meanwhile, admitted there will be no surprises from him or his team, who are known for their defensive resilience.

“It is very solid quality we have,” said the Argentinian, who has won two Europa Leagues and been to two Champions League finals during his time in charge.

“If I tell you my plans for the game it wouldn’t be logical. I think they (Liverpool) know how we will play after eight years of being here.

“We have to keep what we can during the game. Some managers will say ‘we are going to get forward’. That would be a nice pleasant dream.

“But all the thoughts I have before a game it is down to how much you are motivated on the field.”

Simeone added: “We almost always compete really well at a high level. Tomorrow the game will demand that we are on top form. We think we can hurt them.”

Former Real Madrid and on-loan Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata is carrying a minor problem but should feature.

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