All is not well at Atletico where they find themselves down in fourth in La Liga, two points behind Getafe and in a real battle to secure Champions League football next term with a number of teams breathing down their neck.
A recent run reading W1-D4-L2 over 90 minutes hardly inspires confidence, especially with two of those stalemates resulting in eventual cup exits to Real Madrid and more worryingly Cultural Leonesa.
A summer of change at Atletico has undoubtedly weakened them even if they remain deadly foes for any European heavyweight.
The defence remains formidable despite the departures of defenders Diego Godin, Felipe Luis, Lucas Hernandez and Juanfran, with their 17 goals conceded in 24 La Liga outings second only to Real Madrid’s 16.
Liverpool To Win And Under 2.5 Goals
The under 2.5 goals market is perhaps unsurprisingly skinny given 22 of Atletico’s last 28 matches since late September have seen fewer than three strikes. That includes 10 of 12 at the Wanda Metropolitano, where they shipped just four goals in that time, and never more than once in a single game.
However, with just three clean sheets in 10 matches since late December and right-back Kieran Trippier on the sidelines, we’d be surprised if their visitors drew a blank.
Liverpool gave a taste of what they’re capable of at the start of the month when putting four past Southampton at Anfield, but by and large they’ve been ruthlessly efficient at winning games without taking their opponents to the cleaners.
That was the only occasion in the Red’s past 11 games where they’ve scored more than twice, while on Saturday they took 78 minutes to break down bottom side Norwich at Carrow Road.
The reigning European Champions are no strangers to late goals though and rarely fail to score, so can hardly be claimed to lack firepower.
Often times the one goal is enough given the attack is underpinned by a stellar backline that has now kept 11 clean sheets in 13 appearances, with one of the exceptions against Shrewsbury in the FA Cup as Jurgen Klopp fielded a second-string side.
Whereas Liverpool virtually always find a route to goal in the end, the same is not true for Atletico, who have failed to net in four of their seven most recent games.
In fact, up against heavyweights Real Madrid (twice), Barcelona and Juventus, Los Rojiblancos have lost 1-0 in three of four clashes since November and produced a goalless stalemate in the other.
Atleti’s attack has suffered with Antoine Griezmann departing for Barcelona and big money replacement Joao Felix struggling to adapt both physically and tactically to Diego Simeone’s demands.
He’s highly unlikely to make the squad for this clash in any case due to injury, but though Simeone can call upon the returning Alvaro Morata, while Diego Costa may well make the bench, neither have set the world alight on their returns to Madrid.
ALL ABOVE PRICES ARE CORRECT AS OF 12:30 17/02/2020 AND ARE SUBJECT TO FLUCTUATIONS
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