Liverpool sealed qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League last night, beating Atletico Madrid 2-0 at Anfield. The victory crowns the Reds as group winners and they will be seeded for the Round of 16 draw. The contest was taken away from the Spanish champions after another fast start. Two early goals from Jota and Mané had set the tone before Felipe got sent off. We review the game.

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° Another fast start. As has been the theme for a lot of Liverpool matches, the players came out of the blocks flying. They were all over their opponents, squeezing the life out of them with an intense high press, and causing them all sorts of problems with their movement and quality in attack. They raced to another two goal lead inside 21 minutes here and maintained a vice like grip on the game throughout.

° T🅰️🅰️. Trent provided two assists on the night and was generally outstanding. He was our MOTM as he completely ran the show. He registered the most touches, the most passes, the most long balls, the joint most chances created, the joint most tackles won and the joint most ball recoveries. A truly impressive outing for the 23 year old as he took his assist tally for the club to 50!

° Competition at left back. Tsimikas endured a tough debut season but has roared back this season after enjoying a full pre-season schedule. He’s gotten a fair crack of the whip this term and made his eighth appearance of the season last night, matching Trent for chances created. He would have matched him for assists too if Jota had been more clinical. We are yet to concede a goal with him on the pitch, and he’s now posing a real selection headache for the gaffer.

° Midfield balance. Fabinho’s return to the side not only ensured more steel in midfield, it also freed up Henderson to rekindle the understanding he’s built with Salah and Trent on the right flank. Both goals saw that triumvirate involved. Oxlade-Chamberlain also played his part, as he reminded everyone there may be life in him yet. Thiago came off the bench too to ease the injury concerns in midfield.

A welcome return to action for Fabinho and Thiago

° Group winners. The Reds have made very light work of the supposed group of death, winning the first four games of their Champions League group for the very first time. They’ve managed to score more goals than the three teams in the group put together. It’s impressive going, as they marked their fifth straight campaign in the UCL by sealing qualification from the group stages for the fifth consecutive time.

° Two ‘deadrubbers’. The benefit of qualifying so early is that Klopp can choose to rotate heavily against Porto (H) and AC Milan (A). The games will come thick and fast as the festive period approaches, and having two midweeks off so to speak, could be vital. The manager has mentioned the money involved for winning UCL games as a possible factor, but I doubt we’ll see a repeat of that strange Midjtylland game.

° Streak continues. The win also saw Liverpool equal the club record 25 match unbeaten run overseen by Bob Paisley in the 80s. It is a run that underlines the collective experience and spirit this side has built over the years. We are privileged to be watching the best Liverpool side in history. These are the days, and we have to enjoy every second of it. West Ham away next. The challenges don’t get easier the further you climb.



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