The top spot in the UEFA Champions League Group B will be up for grabs when Atletico Madrid welcome Liverpool to the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday.
Atletico Madrid have made a slightly slow start to their Champions League campaign, having been held to a draw by FC Porto in their opening fixture before leaving it late to beat AC Milan 2-1 last time out.
In La Liga, Los Rojiblancos have not been in full flow but remain among the top teams so far this term, although they did not play this past weekend after having their fixture postponed.
Liverpool, on the other hand, have been imperious in the Champions League to date, winning each of their two opening fixtures.
The Reds, in fact, remain the only unbeaten English team across all competitions and maintained such a start to 2021/22 this past weekend, cruising to a 5-0 win over Watford in the Premier League.
Atletico Madrid have happy memories of their last meetings with Liverpool, as they grabbed an aggregate 4-2 win in the Round of 16, back in the 2019/20 season.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Oblak; Savic, Gimenez, Hermoso; Trippier, De Paul, Koke, Lemar, Carrasco; Griezmann, Suarez
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mane
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You’re Nothing Without Mane, Salah, Senegal’s Cisse Blasts Klopp Over AFCON Comment
Senegal coach, Aliou Cisse, has slammed Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, over his comments on the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Cisse suggested that Klopp is nothing without Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in his Liverpool squad, adding that the German owed his success to players from Africa.
Last month, Klopp caused a stir as he described the AFCON as a ‘small tournament’ after Liverpool’s Premier League 4-0 victory against Arsenal.
Asked if he was relieved there was no international break until March next year, Klopp replied: “I have heard that so often that there is no international break until March.
“In January, there Is a little tournament in Africa, I just want to say, and I think Asia is playing games too, South America as well, great, can’t wait.”
Liverpool are set to lose some of their players, including Salah, Mane and Naby Keita for the AFCON 2021 tournament, which runs from January 9 to February 6, 2022.
While Klopp subsequently backtracked, Cisse, who played in the Premier League with Birmingham City and Portsmouth, felt the Reds boss had shown a lack of respect for the AFCON, adding that he doesn’t respect him.
“Who does he [Jurgen Klopp] think he’s? I manage Senegal and my players play for Klopp at Liverpool,” Cisse told broadcaster iTV Senegal.
“I respect Liverpool but not Klopp who undermines African football events. He’s where he is today because of African footballers.
“He was losing every final until Salah, Mane, Matip came to his rescue to win his first-ever major European final.”
Meanwhile, Speaking after Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Porto in the Champions League last week, Klopp clarified his comments had been misinterpreted.
“I didn’t mean it like that. I don’t know why you understand it like that,” Klopp told a journalist, who had suggested his comments had offended African players and fans.
“It is not even close to the idea in my mind that I want to talk about AFCON as a little tournament, or the continent of Africa like a little continent, not at all.
“What I meant is, because people said, and if you watch the full press conference, if you wanted to understand it in the right way you could have understood it in the right way.”
He added, “There is still a tournament. A big one. We lose our best players to the Africa Cup of Nations.
“I’m not a native speaker, but if you want to understand me wrong you can do that all the time. I know that I would never think like this.”
616 total views, 393 views today
Ibrahimovic Labels Man United Club With “Small Mentality”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has slammed former club Manchester United as a club with a “small mentality” in his upcoming autobiography.
Ibrahimovic represented United for 20 months and was part of the most recent Red Devils side to win silverware, helping them to the EFL Cup and the Europa League in 2016/17, under Jose Mourinho.
The club also finished sixth in the Premier League that season as the post-Alex Ferguson slump continued but Ibrahimovic scored 17 goals in 28 top flight appearances.
It appears that United didn’t live up to his standards off the pitch either, as the 40-year-old explains in his new book Adrenaline.
“One thing surprised me: everyone thinks of United as a top club, one of the richest and most powerful in the world and seen from the outside it looked that way to me,” he writes.
“But once I was there I found a small, closed mentality.”
Offering up an example, Ibrahimovic recalls taking a fruit juice from a hotel mini-bar ahead of a game, before realizing that United had charged him for it.
“One day I was in the hotel with the team before a game. I got thirsty so I opened the mini-bar and had a fruit juice,” he says.
“We played and then went home. Some time went by. My pay slip arrives. Normally I don’t look at it. I only do so at the end of the year to see what’s come in and what’s gone out. But that time, I don’t know why, I was curious and realised they’d taken a pound off my monthly wage.
“I called the team manager: ‘Excuse me, why have they taken a pound off my salary.’ The team manager had a look and told me: ‘It was the fruit juice from the mini-bar.’ ‘Are you kidding, seriously?’ ‘No, I’m not. Here, if you order something you have to pay for it.’ ‘Sure, but I didn’t go to the hotel on my own accord. I wasn’t on holiday. It was my work place. I was there for Manchester. If I have to play and I’m thirsty, I have to drink. I can’t go on the pitch dehydrated.’
“Can you believe it? A quid? Something like that would never happen in Italy. These are the details that make a difference and earn the respect of the players.”
578 total views, 395 views today
Man United 1-0 Crystal Palace: Late Strike From Fred Gets Rangnick’s Reign Off To Winning Start
Fred’s brilliant second-half strike was enough to give Man United a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace and Ralf Rangnick victory in his first match in charge.
It looked like it could be a frustrating afternoon for the home side, as it remained goalless deep into the match and United seemingly appearing to tire.
But with 77 minutes on the clock, Fred broke the deadlock and proved to be the decisive moment in the match.
United were bright in the early stages, setting up in a 4-2-2-2 formation.
Cristiano Ronaldo fired over from a free-kick, before he headed over the bar and then saw a left-footed strike comfortably saved after good work from Marcus Rashford.
902 total views, 401 views today
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