Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Odds ahead of Liverpool vs. Atletico Madrid

British team Liverpool welcome Spanish side Atletico Madrid to Anfield, with both sides in prime position to progress from Group D.

We must remember that two wins in their opening two games had them level at the top of the group before Liverpool visited the Spanish capital a fortnight ago, and Simao's late equaliser for Atletico at the Vicente Calderon ensured that the situation remained that way heading into the reverse fixture.

Liverpool star frontman Fernando Torres missed the chance to make an emotional return to his old stomping ground due to a hamstring injury, but the Spanish international has a 70% chance of facing his former side tonight, according to his manager Rafael Benitez.

On the other shore, Luis Garcia and Florent Sinama Pongolle will make their first return to Merseyside since leaving the Reds. Both are assured a warm welcome, with Garcia in particular a former favourite with the Kop after hitting some vital goals on the Reds' memorable run to Champions League success in 2005.

In fact, Pongolle also made a valuable contribution on the road to Istanbul, scoring a goal in the crucial 3-1 win over Olympiacos that secured qualification from the group stages.

It was a dismal run in November last year that ensured Liverpool had no say in the Premier League title race at the end of the season. A loss tonight would have the doubters out in force again. But last year Liverpool's dip in domestic form coincided with three Champions League wins which were crucial to them staying in the competition and may also have saved Benitez's job.

A triumph tonight would all but assure the hosts of a place in the knock-out stages, and would then allow them to focus their attentions on the Premier League for a couple of months.

Atletico, you would imagine, would be relatively content with a draw given Liverpool's record at home in the Champions League in recent years. With their attacking threat, however, it would be no surprise if they were able to match Marseille's feat of 2007 by winning at Anfield.

But the Reds appear to have found some consistency and tonight may well prove to be a key juncture in their season.

1 comment:

Steven Gerrard said...

The reds will rock this Champions Laegue again! think about it, we have the best team in europe... Go reds!