Atletico needed luck to defeat Liverpool - Virgil van Dijk

By Waweru Titus: Wednesday, February 19th 2020 at 12:14 GMT +3 | Football
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk. [Courtesy]

Liverpool centre back Virgil van Dijk has spoken after the surprising 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday night.

Van Dijk stated Atletico capitalised on one mistake and their plan to defend well worked perfectly.

Despite the defeat, Van Dijk exuded confidence ahead of the second leg in a little over three weeks.

"We conceded the goal from the corner, the first chance for them, not even a chance. Bit of luck.

"The message at half-time was to keep playing. We had the ball most of the game but unfortunately could not create massive opportunities. We still have another 90 minutes to set it right.

"It is the way they play. It is a bit of the Spanish football as well and you have to adapt but we knew it and I feel we handled it pretty well,” Van Dijk told BT Sport.

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Champions League - Round of 16 First Leg - Atletico Madrid v Liverpool - Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - February 18, 2020 Atletico Madrid's Saul Niguez celebrates scoring their first goal with Alvaro Morata, Renan Lodi and teammates. [REUTERS/Juan Medina]

Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson reiterated his teammate’s sentiments, saying celebrations in the stands at full-time were premature given Liverpool's Anfield record.

"We put in a decent performance and we know we can be better. We've got a second leg to put it right.

"They celebrated as if they won the tie after the game. They are coming to Anfield and we know our fans will be there,” Robertson warned Atletico.

Atletico’s Saul Niguez scored the only goal of the game in the fourth minute after he was gifted a pass by Brazil’s Fabinho.

The Reds missed clear goal-scoring opportunities in the second half, with Mohamed Salah and captain Jordan Henderson coming closest to netting.

Klopp's side play at home to Atletico on March 11 in the return leg at Anfield, where they produced a historical 4-0 win over Barcelona in last year's semi-final second leg after losing the first match 3-0.

Liverpool have won 25 of 26 Premier League games in the 2019/20 season.

Liverpool welcome West Ham to Anfield in the Premier League in six days as Atletico host Villarreal on their return to LaLiga action on Sunday.

Champions League - Round of 16 First Leg - Atletico Madrid v Liverpool - Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - February 18, 2020 Atletico Madrid's Stefan Savic in action before Saul Niguez scores their first goal. [REUTERS/Juan Medina]

Facts (Courtesy: Opta)

- Atletico remain unbeaten in 13 home games in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages under Diego Simeone (W9 D4), keeping 11 clean sheets across those matches.

- Klopp has failed to win all seven of his away games against Spanish clubs in the Champions League (D3 L4), including three with Liverpool (D1 L2).

- Two of Liverpool's three defeats in all competitions this season have come in the Champions League, also losing 2-0 at Napoli in September 2019 (the third defeat being their 5-0 loss to Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup in December 2019).

- Since the start of the 2013-14 season, Atletico's Jan Oblak has kept 26 clean sheets in 49 Champions League games; no other goalkeeper has more in the competition in this time (level with Marc-André ter Stegen, 26 in 57 games).

- Liverpool failed to attempt a single shot on target for only the second time in their 251 games under Jürgen Klopp in all competitions (also v Napoli in October 2018 in the Champions League).

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