Liverpool put together once more for Atletico


Jurgen Klopp desires to say the precise issues with regards to Atletico Madrid and Diego Simeone however there may be at all times an itch he finally ends up scratching.

Liverpool play Atletico once more within the Champions League on Wednesday in a recreation that this time carries extra significance for the Spaniards than the Reds.

Klopp’s workforce are already 5 factors clear on the high of a gaggle that regarded awkward when the draw got here out in August.

Atletico are in a scrap, stage on 4 factors with Porto, whom they nonetheless need to play in Lisbon within the closing spherical.

In concept, the stress on Liverpool needs to be diminished and but this fixture retains discovering a approach to irritate the German, to push his buttons and draw reactions he later has to rephrase or retract.

This would be the fourth assembly between the perimeters previously 18 months. Atletico claimed victory in an exciting knock-out tie final yr after profitable 1-Zero at home, and 3-2 after extra-time away.

Liverpool then gained by the identical scoreline in Madrid final month, capitalising on a pink card for Antoine Griezmann and a penalty, scored by the blistering Mohamed Salah.

For the final decade, Klopp has been one of many recreation’s most charming characters and charismatic voices.

He isn’t a coach that seeks confrontation, both intentionally or desperately, as a method to get the very best out of gamers. His jabs at Atletico really feel out of sync and out of character.

There have been a number of, however essentially the most notable got here after the loss at Anfield final yr. “I don’t understand with the quality they have to be honest, that they play this kind of football. I don’t understand that,” Klopp advised BT Sport.

“When I see players like Koke, Saul (Niguez), (Marcos) Llorente – they could play proper football but they stand deep and have counter attacks. But they beat us that’s how it is.”

In the primary leg, Klopp substituted Sadio Mane, apprehensive about Atletico’s makes an attempt to get him despatched off. “I was afraid his opponent would go down if he took a deep breath,” he stated.

He famous Atletico’s celebrations on the finish.

“I saw a lot of happy faces among their players and staff, but it’s not over,” stated Klopp. He additionally appeared irked by Simeone’s antics on the touchline.

“Wow, that’s energy,” he stated. “I hope I can be a little more focused in the second leg.”

After profitable in Madrid, a grinning Klopp sarcastically waved down the tunnel at Simeone, who habitually avoids shaking the opposite coach’s hand.

“I wanted to shake his hand and he was running off,” he stated. “I’m also not overly happy with my reaction to be honest.”

Klopp has additionally stayed true to his extra skilled instincts, providing beneficiant reward of Atletico and Simeone, if not for his or her fashion, then their achievements.

“His teams are always well-organised, world class, so that makes him one of the best coaches,” he stated earlier than the primary assembly in 2020. Afterwards he stated: “Their defence was exceptional.”

And he has tried to clean over earlier feedback once they have resurfaced. “I’m not the pope of football,” he stated after the final match. “What does it matter what I like?”

To fulfil their obligations with tv firms, coaches are required to talk inside minutes of the ultimate whistle. In some methods it’s unbelievable extra don’t err from diplomacy.

There is one thing about Atletico, although, that wrangles with Klopp, their beliefs about how the sport needs to be performed, and gained, so totally different to his that the standard rules appear to get forgotten.

It is probably shocking even that in opposition to Liverpool, different opponents haven’t tried an Atletico-like approach.

There can also be an irony find frustration with Atletico’s destructive ways now, at a time when they’re extra open than ever underneath Simeone.

Trying to squeeze Antoine Griezmann, Joao Felix and Luis Suarez into the identical workforce has come at a price. “We are worried about it and we’re working on it,” Simeone stated final month.

Klopp’s impatience is probably a praise to Atletico, to the depths Liverpool needed to go to beat them and the battle they know they are going to face this week.

It is a sign too of the keenness with which Klopp holds his personal beliefs and the relentlessness that brings his gamers together with him.

But maybe most of all, it’s good drama, a wholesome, ongoing disagreement between two of the sport’s biggest coaches about how finest to win.

“It’s not too bad,” stated Klopp. “When we see each other we’ll shake hands.”

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