Emotion only takes you that far in football, even if you are Liverpool. In the three weeks between now and March 11, when Atletico Madrid enters a boiler in Anfield, Jurgen Klopp has to solve problems.
He was already working in the immediate aftermath in the Wanda Metropolitano, with a few soft brain games in his press conference that went beyond the understandable, but predictable, ‘you have to come to Anfield’s rhetoric.
“We now know much more about the team,” Klopp said when asked how Liverpool should improve for the second leg. ‘You have to feel the team out. I like peace, you know more about the opponent.
Diego Simeone is the happier man after the first leg of Atletico Madrid against Liverpool
The Atletico manager galvanized his team when they booked a 1-0 win on Tuesday night
Liverpool failed to get a shot on goal in a gentle forward display at Wanda Metroplitano
‘All analyzes have never happened to you in a game. We had a lot of Barcelona games, but Barcelona played differently against us. We can play better in the last third, but we know more about the opponent who will help us. “
But the Atletico roadblock with which Liverpool was eliminated in the last third on Tuesday night is an increasingly unique challenge in modern football, especially if you practice your Premier League trade, where an unwritten rule seems to be that the better you are, the more offensive you are.
There is a reason why Atletico has only admitted twice in 13 home Champions League knockout draw and they are the first team to score Liverpool in 34 games.
For Diego Simeone, Tuesday night’s victory was a master class in what his teams can do so well. They grab targets, defend in swarms and oppose opponents, while Simeone himself oversees procedures such as a conductor, repeatedly galvanizing supporters, relentlessly appeals to the referee and maniacally smuggles every last drop of sweat from his players.
Klopp has often talked about how teams in football can bring an opponent to their level for 90 minutes. That is what happened on Tuesday. Atletico let Liverpool play on their terms and nobody is as good as Atletico in their own game.
Jurgen Klopp and his staff now have three weeks to think of ways to cause new problems for Atletico
Sadio Mane was withdrawn on a yellow card during the break, with Klopp fearing a red one
So what should Klopp and his employees solve? He will need more energy and cohesion from his front three, as he quoted in his quotations after the game. The Liverpool attackers were often deeply forced by Atletico and struggled to free up space. It is difficult to gauge a team when you are closer to the center line than the penalty area.
They did not score a goal against Atletico, which is simply not good enough against a team of that caliber.
Klopp will need his players to also stay cool against the skill of Atletico, who will probably start early with Anfield to suppress the growth of every momentum.
Sadio Mane who went off during the break was a wise, if not conservative, decision by Klopp who was afraid that he would be sent away, while Mohamed Salah was withdrawn by 15 minutes to go clockwise. He didn’t exchange a single pass with Roberto Firmino and Mane in the first 25 minutes of the game. Even Simeone did not expect that in his schedule before the game.
Trent Alexander-Arnold did not attack as often as usual, but that may have been a design
Naby Keita is a midfield option that can help Liverpool play with speed through the lines
In midfield, Naby Keita will look for a place in the starting line-up, especially as captain Jordan Henderson has a hamstring injury that is likely to limit his involvement in the return.
James Milner was the right substitute on Tuesday with just 10 minutes to go, but with winning the only good enough result for Liverpool in the second game, Keita would be the best option to start.
He can let Liverpool play through the lines and they sometimes lacked momentum and momentum against Atletico.
Klopp will have to figure out how his full-backs can also move forward against the men of Simeone. Trent Alexander-Arnold seemed particularly careful, which would probably have been due to design, given the first leg, but when he and Robertson had the ball, they could have been more productive with it.
Liverpool’s perseverance to crawl high into the penalty area was easily tackled by Stefan Savic and Felip, although Salah should have done better with a head chance coming in the second half after a delivery from Joe Gomez.
Atletico will enjoy the opportunity to silence the Anfield audience in the second leg of March
Atletico is used to playing in its own wild atmosphere, as Liverpool discovered
Liverpool borders on debauchery with the 71 percent possession they had, but Atletico deserves honor for how they defended. As Klopp said, it was with an extremely high concentration and with a big heart.
But they will all need it again at Anfield. There is now a long time for Klopp and his staff not only to plan how to suppress the threats of Atletico, but to create new methods to destroy the men of Simeone.
They will be encouraged by what Atletico did last year in this phase of the tournament; at home, Juventus defeated 2-0 before a hat trick by Cristiano Ronaldo in the second leg saw that they lost 3-2.
Liverpool is a Champions League holder and imminent Premier League winners; they are too good not to come anymore and Simeone knows that. But he will enjoy the prospect.