Reigning European champions Liverpool fell to an old-fashioned Atletico Madrid masterclass on Tuesday as Diego Simeone’s side ground out a 1-0 win in Madrid to give themselves hope of reaching the Champions League quarterfinals.
Saul Niguez raised the roof at a bouncing Wanda Metropolitano by scoring in the fourth minute before Atletico’s defence kicked in, suffocating the European champions and denying them a single shot on target.
“Tonight is one of those nights you don’t forget,” said Simeone. “We haven’t gone through but we have beaten the best team in the world.”
If Alvaro Morata had not slipped at the crucial moment, Atleti might even have taken a two-goal lead to Anfield, where they can expect an onslaught next month.
“We are not 5-0 down,” said Jurgen Klopp. “We don’t think it will be easy but as long as we can get 11 players in Liverpool shirts we will give everything we have. And for all the Liverpool fans that can get a ticket – welcome to Anfield.”
Elsewhere, Norway teenager Erling Braut Haaland scored twice as Borussia Dortmund sealed a 2-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain, for whom Neymar scored on his return from injury.
Forward Haaland took his tally to 11 goals in seven games since Dortmund paid Salzburg €20 million for the 19-year-old with second-half goals either side of Neymar’s equaliser.
The Brazil star, who has been sidelined for the last four weeks with a rib injury, gave PSG a life-line with an away goal for the return leg in Paris on March 11 in their bid to reach the quarterfinals after exiting the last 16 in the last three consecutive seasons.
After Haaland stabbed home at the near post to give Dortmund a deserved lead mid-way through the second half the world’s most expensive player profited from Kylian Mbappe’s final pass and tapped home the equaliser.
However, PSG were level for just two minutes as Dortmund’s 17-year-old midfield substitute Giovanni Reyna put a pass inside which Haaland expertly collected and smashed into the top corner for the winner.